13 festive stately homes to visit this Christmas
If you're a lover of decking the halls with all things tinsel, you'll certainly appreciate the Christmas decor at these English stately homes. With larger-than-life Christmas trees and grand staircases festooned in festive fairy lights, these Christmas houses make for the perfect Yuletide day out.
More Christmas 2023 events and things to do:
Explore Neverland in Yorkshire
Castle Howard, Yorkshire
Castle Howard is as grand as they come - and it will be even more festive this Christmas when it’s transformed into mythical Neverland from Peter Pan. Keep your eyes peeled for pirates, fairies and mermaids as you wander through the room, each looking like a scene from the story. If you’re looking for more Christmassy fun, book a meet and greet with Santa, or treat yourself to The Darling’s Afternoon Tea, in keeping with the Peter Pan theme.
When? 12th November to 2nd JanuaryVisit Castle Howard at Christmas
See Holkham Hall by Candlelight
Holkham Hall, Norfolk
Modelled on the Temple of Fortuna Virilis and the Pantheon, Holkham’s Marble Hall is one of England’s most elaborate spaces and its majestic beauty reaches new levels come Christmas time. Columns are wrapped in fairy lights, Christmas trees line the staircase and giant baubles dangle from the ceiling. See the Marble Hall and lots of other decadent state rooms as part of the Christmas candlelit tours of the great house.
When? Selected dates from 3 to 30 December 2023Plan your perfect Christmas break
Wander through a Christmas wonderland
Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
It’s never too early to get the family together for a Christmas day (or night) out. This year at Blenheim Palace there will be a new trail and themed interior to tell the tale of Sleeping Beauty. With a new after-dark trail for 2023, discover heart-shaped arches glittering in the moonlight, glowing tunnels filled with stars and an eight-metre sphere filled with over 20,000 moving LED lights. You will also see the return of the ever-popular dancing reflections in the colourful Cascades and magical Lakeside walk.
When? 17 November 2023 to 1 January 2024See Blenheim Palace at Christmas
Indulge yourself in a candy-themed Christmas at Chatsworth
This 15th-century palace takes Christmas and its decorations very seriously. For 2023, the façade is transformed into a massive advent calendar, with 24 of its rooms filled with all kinds of festive treats for you and the family to marvel at. Make a Christmas wish to hang on the special Wishing Tree, and watch out for Santa’s little helpers making last-minute preparations for the big day. Be sure to head outside to meet the farm animals and enjoy festive food and drink.
When? 4 November 2023 to 7 January 2024Have a very merry Chatsworth Christmas
Father Christmas at Osborne House
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
The holiday home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert – aka the real-life Father Christmas who introduced many of the traditions we still celebrate – is arguably the best place to relish in all things festive. See the Italian-style villa adorned in plenty of festive finery, and meet the big man himself as he tells seasonal stories among the decorations.
When? 2 to 23 December 2023Enjoy a Victorian Christmas day out
Christmas at Waddesdon
Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
Visit Waddesdon, the Rothschild House and Gardens in Buckinghamshire, for magical lights and gardens aglow. Set against the backdrop of the North Front of Waddesdon Manor – complete with 20- foot Christmas trees – is the Christmas Fair, full of festive treats from over eighty hand-selected artisan stalls housed in charming wooden chalets. As twilight falls, watch the landscape come to life with Waddesdon’s playful Winter Light trail. Take a stroll beneath sparkling tree canopies, past giant dandelions and walk through a tunnel of light hoops before stopping to admire Waddesdon Manor’s fairytale-inspired façade illuminated with dancing lights set to music.
When? 22 November 2023 to 1 January 2024See Waddesdon Manor at Christmas
See decked out halls at this Kentish castle
Hever Castle, Kent
See the childhood home of Anne Boleyn transformed into a festive paradise this Christmas. Once the sun goes down, enjoy a walk under the stars on the Magical Christmas Light Trail to admire the castle, gardens and lake festooned with fabulous colours and twinkling lights. Inside the castle, you’ll be met by beautifully and traditionally decorated rooms, welcoming log fires and glowing Christmas trees – more than enough to get you into the Christmas spirit.
When? 18 November 2023 to 1 January 2024Step into Christmas at Hever Castle
Encounter a ‘Riotous Christmas’ at Moseley Old Hall
Celebrate Yule and Christmas in a way that would make the fun-loving King Charles II proud, as Mosely Old Hall will be dressed with traditional green decorations, have board games to play in the Parlour and 17th-century sweet treats to taste in the Brewhouse. You’ll be able to gather around the fire for some Christmas storytelling and even try your hand at crafting some of your own decorations using a selection of handmade materials.
When? 25 November 2023 to 6 January 2024Celebrate Christmas in Staffordshire
Have a retro Christmas at Hanbury Hall
Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire
Hanbury Hall is turning back the clock for a Christmas inspired by rumours of wild parties at the Hall in the 1970s and 80s. Celebrate in true retro style as you explore the ground floor of the 18th-century house, dressed to the nines in multi-coloured fairy lights, baubles and tinsel galore. If you were a child of that era, you can reminisce over your favourite toys from across the two decades and even sing along to all the catchy Christmas number ones. Also keep an eye out for Father Christmas, you might spot him having a snooze in front of the television.
When? 25 November 2023 to 7 January 2024Step back in time at Hanbury Hall
Explore Bamburgh's Christmas Kingdom
Perhaps better known for its dramatic coastal location towering 150 feet above the Northumberland coastline, come Christmastime, Bamburgh Castle is transformed into a whimsical winter wonderland by award-winning theatrical designer Charlotte Lloyd-Webber. The Christmas Kingdom is the North East’s biggest indoor festive experience, and this year's theme is Enchanted Myths and Legends of Northumbria. Wander through the castle’s state rooms, transformed into magical worlds where fairies flit and banquet, selkies and mermaids laze by mythical pools, and enjoy a kaleidoscope of rich Christmas colours and huge displays of festive florals.
When? 11 November 2023 to 7 January 2024Celebrate Christmas at Bamburgh Castle
Discover tales of Christmas past at Belvoir Castle
Styled by award-winning interior designer, Charlotte Lloyd-Webber, Belvoir Castle will be kitted out with exquisite decorations in the theme of the 12 Days of Christmas, similar to how past residents used to decorate for the Christmas period. Discover state rooms adorned with festive lights, colourful trees and exciting displays before embarking on the Enlightened Belvoir light trail around the Castle grounds, complete with talking trees, and breathtaking light displays and the chance to meet Father Christmas himself.
When? 18th November 2023 to 2nd January 2024Enjoy Christmas at Belvoir Castle
Explore the Frost Fair at Buckland Abbey
Buckland Abbey will be decorated top to bottom this year, with every room adorned with festive Tudor “Frost Fair” cheer – think of fir trees and sparkling frosty effects Admire the Georgian staircase festooned with over 700 decorations, all made by the Abbey’s volunteer costume group, and fireplaces draped with garlands handmade by the local florist. On the top floor of the Abbey, the trees will be decorated by local Girl Guides groups and in the Great Barn you can walk through a Christmas tree forest along a River of Light, which showcases the importance of the river at Buckland.
Every weekend leading up to the big day, choirs, musicians and groups will perform festive classics around the large Christmas tree in the Great Barn and on selected days you can even meet Olde Father Christmas, dressed in all green, to help him finish making some all-important gifts.
When? 2 to 31 December 2023Experience Christmas at Buckland Abbey
atA sweet-tasting Christmas awaits at The Vyne
Take a stroll around this 17th-century mansion in Hampshire as it’s luxuriously transformed for a Nutcracker ballet-themed Christmas. The ground floor rooms are filled with sweet-themed decorations, twinkling Christmas trees dripping with beads, candles, and angelic cherubs, and a warm festive glow. Little ones can follow indoor and outdoor family trails that take them on a quest with heroes Clara and her Nutcracker Prince to defeat the dastardly Mouse King – who have called has called The Vyne its home. Keep eyes out for wandering gingerbread men, and dancing snowflakes throughout the house and gardens.
When: 25 November 2023 to 1 January 2024Visit the National Trust this Christmas