Updated December 8, 2013
Imagine childhood images of Christmas, picture books, movies and greeting cards and chances are you'll be thinking about Christmas with the National Trust because these are the kinds of settings and houses that are The National Trust's stock in trade. As one of the UK's most important organizations for the protection and preservation of its stately homes, historic houses, important landscapes and gardens, the National Trust maintains dozens of 16th, 17th and 18th century manors, Victorian and Edwardian country estates. It's hard to imagine more appropriate settings for gigantic Christmas trees, punch bowls full of mulled wine, Christmas music and all the other festive elements of the holiday season.
Spending Christmas with the National TrustThe National Trust agrees and, every year many of its most important homes and landscapes are open for special events throughout the holiday season. There are decorating and Christmas cooking workshops, late night gift shopping, Christmas concerts and special meals, Dickens readings and lots of twinkling, decorated houses and gardens.
Here are just a few of the 2013 highlights. (Hint: Click on the "Events at this Property" links at each website for full details):
- Clandon Park Christmas Carols with the Oxford Singers in this Surrey, 18th century Palladian mansion's beautiful Marble Hall.
- Chastleton House, in Oxfordshire invites you to join the family in this 400-year-old family home as they prepare for Christmas Eve.
- Trerice The National Trust celebrates 60 years at Trerice in Cornwall in 2013 with a range of events. A Tudor Father Christmas will be telling tales and sending young audience members home with brown paper packages tied up with string. Five half hour performances a day on selected days.
- Polesden Lacey It's a Three Kings Christmas as Polesden Lacey, decorated for Christmas, explores the stories of three kings who visited the house. A festive lunches are being served in the cafe throughout December.
- Castle Ward, Co. Down, Northern Ireland Santa and the Missus hold forth by the open fire with mince pies and mulled wine for grownups, nice presents for the kids.
- The Christmas Garland at Cotehele The famous 60-foot long garland has more than 40,000 flowers, all grown in Cotehele's gardens. Father and Mother Christmas will visit on several December dates and, under the garland choirs, bell ringers and ensembles will perform.
- Killerton Dickens' A Christmas Carol is the 2013 theme with ghosts of Christmas past among the decorations. Willow deer decorate the garden trails and there are Friday and Saturday late openings (to 6pm) to enjoy the house sparkling with light.
- Ickworth House Christmas crafts, sweetie making, story telling from Father Christmas are all on the December 2013 schedule.
- Speke Hall Celebrate a Victorian Christmas at Liverpool's famous black and white, half-timbered estate.Victorian decorations, tours, craft displays, carols, children's activities, food and drink.
- Moseley Old Hall , in Staffordshire. Make your own traditional wreath, see the house decked out for a 17th century Christmas and enjoy carols in the barn.