Top 10 historic Christmas experiences
See the festive season from a different perspective...
t has been a great year to be in England so send 2012 out with some historical Christmas fun. There’s a sparkling myriad of Christmassy delights whether you fancy a stroll arm-in-arm along quaint Victorian cobbled streets, medieval merry-making with friends or some very memorable family fun visiting Santa on his err submarine?
How about a special Christmas Breakfast with the big man himself in Warwick Castle’s Undercroft? You’ll be greeted by Santa’s Elf on arrival and taken through to an enchanting Christmas scene. Children will have an unforgettable Christmas experience with party games, carols and, even get to meet Mr Claus himself before wishing him a Merry Christmas and heading home with a Christmas present and a massive grin.
When: 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 and 24 December 2012
Experience the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone era as the town heaves with Victorian characters donning bonnets and top hats. Dip into the various traditional shops for unique stocking fillers such as white mice sweets and pretty lace collars.
When: 8 – 9 and 15 - 16 December 2012
Right in the heart of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bath puts on a wintry extravaganza with its Christmas Market. With over 120 little wooden chalet-style stalls selling handcrafted wares and heart-warming locally produced food and drink, there will be elegant sparkly cheer in abundance. Stroll arm in arm through the cosy scene set amongst stunning Regency architecture for a memories that will keep you warm well into the next year.
When: 22 November - 9 December 2012
Journey back to the 19th century at the Victorian Christmas Festival in the historic town of Garstang. There’ll be Morris dancers bouncing about, choirs singing and brass bands filling the cobbled high streets with authentic festive sounds. Indulge in a little late-night Christmas shopping at the local shops or tuck into roasted chestnuts and melt-in-the-mouth hog roast. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the event so join in with the revellers for some extra-festive partying.
When: 10-11 December 2012
Sit down to a traditional Tudor feast in the Great Baronial Hall at the 600-year-old Lumley Castle. The Elizabethan banquet boasts five wine-doused courses. Tuck into the likes of Checkyn in Mead and Old Style Plum Pudding served with Brandy sauce while the Lords and Ladies of the Court of Lumley perform a unique Christmas show just for you.
When: Various dates through December 2012
This Dickensian festival is back once more and now it’s bigger than ever: traditional entertainment, festive food and over 100 stalls full of stocking fillers. Pick up everything from hand-painted pottery to mince pies at the market stalls. Oh and talking of food, a range of top quality local produce will be on sale in the form of beers, wines, pies, meats and cheeses. And for your entertainment Santa’s got a winter wonderland complete with reindeer parades, carol singing, hand bell ringers and more.
When: 29 November and 2 December 2012
Travel back to Christmas 1885 and peek behind the scenes of this magical 13th-century castle. The Victorian maids and top hat-wearing butlers will show you around by candlelight, letting you into some of the castle’s secrets and taking you to rooms not normally open to the public. After your 40-minute tour, get toasty by the log fire with mulled wine or a mince pie in hand and then head out to see the vast gardens transformed into a magical winter wonderland.
When: 9, 16, 21, 27 and 28 December 2012
Take a candlelit tour of Shakespeare’s Birthplace while sipping on a glass of mulled wine or devouring a mince pie or two. There will be performances by Shakespeare Aloud! and plenty of Tudor Minstrels fooling around to add to the Tudor Christmas cheer. Oh, and you might learn a thing or two about England’s greatest bard too!
When: 22 November and 6 December 2012
After being guided by elves through an iceberg and you will arrive at possibly the most unusual Santa’s grotto in the world. The torpedo store of the World War II era submarine HMS Alliance is packed with Christmassy supplies for Santa’s big day. You’ll pass through the accommodation bays, now serving as cosy little bunks for Santa’s elves and even get to witness them present-testing in their workshop before seeing Father Christmas himself in the control room, welcoming you with one eye peering through the periscope.
When: 8 and 9 December