Have a magical day out this Christmas with the National Trust

Great Hlla Polesden Lacey xmas Tree credit James Day‘Tis the season to be jolly and Father Christmas is making some extra special stop-offs in his hectic festive schedule this winter.

Enjoy a magical day out with all the family at some picturesque National Trust places where you can get into the Christmas spirit by writing letters, exploring enchanting trails and making decorations, all with the help of Santa’s little helpers.

Celebrating festive traditions, the Trust is helping Father Christmas prepare for the season with some special locations for his grottos. From Victorian homes and ancient castles to lighthouses and cosy stables, a visit to see Santa will fill the whole family with Christmas cheer.

Every single visit this Christmas will support the Trust’s work as a charity looking after special places for future generations to enjoy. Here are the National Trust’s best grottos and activities to get into the festive spirit:

Santa’s Grottos

Belton House, Lincolnshire
Santa in the Stables, 5 – 7, 12 – 14, 19 – 21 December, 12pm – 3pm
This year, Santa is hiding out in the beautifully decorated Belton House stables with the Christmas elves. If you’ve been good all year, you’re sure to receive a festive gift from Santa and afterwards you can enjoy breakfast with the man himself in the Ride Cafe.
Price: £3.50 (including gift from Santa, normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01476 566116

Lacock Abbey

Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire
Santa’s Winter Wonderland, 20 – 21 December, 11.30am – 2.30pm
Explore Brimham Rocks, and have a great day out at nature’s playground this Christmas. Have you been good boys and girls? Visit the land of fairy tales and follow the frosty Christmas trail through the moorland rocks to meet Santa in his snowy winter wonderland.
Price: £4 (includes gift from Santa, booking essential)
For more information, please call 01423 780688

Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, Tyne & Wear
Santa at Souter, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 21 December, 11am – 4pm
This year Santa is returning to Souter in style at the first lighthouse in the world designed and built to be powered by electricity. Post your letter and join the elves in their workshop for Christmas craft making before seeing Santa in his Victorian Grotto where he’s giving out presents – but only if you’ve been good! A hot chocolate with all the trimmings will warm you up on your way home. Santa will try his best to reply to everyone so keep checking the post!
Price: £10 per child (booking essential)
For more information, please call 0191 5290909

Gingerbread house at Ightham Mote, Kent.

Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire
Christmas in the park, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 21 December, 10am – 4pm
With far-reaching views of the Severn Valley, Dyrham is the ideal place to escape the crowds this Christmas. Explore the great outdoors, wrap up warm and take part in the deer trail in the historic park to find Rudolph and his friends. Enjoy seasonal refreshments in the tea-room and pick up those last minute Christmas presents from the shop. Enjoy music and get hands on with crafts near the house and don’t miss Father Christmas who will be at Old Lodge to wish you a Merry Christmas.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 0117 9372501

Cotehele, Cornwall
At home with Mother and Father Christmas, 20 – 23 December, 1pm – 3.30pm
The Tudor house of Cotehele is perched high above the River Tamar in the Cornish countryside and Mother and Father Christmas are waiting in their grotto before they return to the North Pole to start their Christmas deliveries. Make sure you catch them before they leave and let them know your Christmas wishes.
Price: £2 (includes a gift from Santa, normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01579 351346

Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire
Breakfast with Father Christmas, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 21 December, 9.30am – 10.30am
This Christmas, satisfy your appetite and experience an extra special Christmas breakfast with Santa in the old kitchen restaurant of Kedleston Hall. Intended as a ‘temple to the arts’ this impressive mansion oozes glamour. Enjoy the cosy space to relax and meet the man himself over a slice of toast!
Price: Adult £7.50, Child: £10 (includes a gift from Santa, normal admission fee applies, booking essential)
For more information, please call 01332 842191

Quarry Bank, Cheshire
A Victorian Christmas, 6 – 7, 13 – 14 December, 11am – 3pm
Join the festive fun with a traditional Christmas weekend at one of Britain’s greatest industrial sites. Meet Victorian characters and find out more about customs from the past and the people that used to work in the cotton mill. Tell Father Christmas what’s on your Christmas list and enjoy Christmas carols, stories, last-minute shopping, and finish your day with a warming mince pie.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01625 527468

Dining room dressed Polesden Lacey credit Eddie Hyde

Trerice, Cornwall
Tudor Father Christmas, 13 – 14, 20 – 21 December, 11am – 4pm
Visit this fine manor house in the Cornish countryside and add a touch of grandeur to Christmas this year. Come and meet a special Tudor Father Christmas, hear his tales and go home with a very special paper package tied up with string. This is a magical opportunity to hear stories of Christmas past with five performances throughout the day, lasting 30 minutes each.
Tickets are available from reception for 11.30am, 12.15pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.15pm.
Price: Adult £2, Child £3 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01637 875404

Speke Hall, Garden and Estate, Liverpool
Victorian Christmas Weekends, 29 – 30 November, 6 – 7, 13 – 14 December, 11am – 4pm
Visit this stunning black and white house on the bank of the River Mersey and see it decorated for a traditional Victorian Christmas. There will be lots of festive family activities with Christmas carols in the Tudor Great Hall and Father Christmas will be waiting in the wings to hear your Christmas list.
Price: £3 to visit Father Christmas (normal admission fee applies)
For more information call 0151 427 7231.

White Peak, Derbyshire
Countryside Christmas at Ilam Park, 7 December, 10am – 4pm
Escape to the countryside and visit the Peak District for hands on festive activities in Ilam Park. Meet Santa, toast marshmallows over the fire, build a wooden reindeer and bird box, make a Christmas wreath or create some decorations for your tree.
Price: Free event and entry
For more information, please call 01335 350503

Croft Castle and Parkland, Herefordshire
Santa’s workshop, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 21 December, 11am – 4pm
Croft Castle sits deep in the heart of Herefordshire countryside surrounded by acres of historic woodland and Santa has stopped off to make those last minute Christmas gifts. Follow the reindeer trail to find Santa in his workshop and get an extra early Christmas gift.
Price: £4 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01568 780246

A Christmas pudding wrapped in a muslin cloth

Biddulph Grange Garden, Staffordshire
Santa in his Christmas cottage, 7, 14 & 20 – 23 December, 12pm – 3pm
Santa is flying into Biddulph Grange Garden to open his magical Christmas Cottage. Follow the trail to discover the festive Cottage hidden deep in the garden, inside you will find Santa and his helpers, Christmas trees and fairy lights all waiting for you. Bring your Christmas present wish list with you to give to Santa or write one at Santa’s very own writing desk.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01782 517999

Mount Stewart, County Down
Santa at the Temple, 4 – 7, 10 – 14, 17 – 23 December, 3pm – 7.30pm
Catch the festive ‘Santa Express’ bus to Temple of the Winds within the picturesque grounds of this country estate. Explore the hidden grotto, meet the elves in their workshop and enjoy festive refreshments before meeting Santa, Mrs Claus and the magic elf. Hear their story, join in the fun and take home a lovely present.
Price: Adult £7 Child £15 (booking essential)
For more information, please call 028 4278 8387

A Christmas choir in the Central Hall at Wallington, Northumberland.

Chartwell, Kent
Father Christmas at Chartwell, 6 – 7 December, 11am – 3pm
Explore the family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill this Christmas and meet Santa Claus who will be giving out a gift to good girls and boys and then helping the elves to make Christmas crafts.
Price: £7 per child (normal admission charges apply, booking essential)
For more information, please call 01732 861159

Ickworth, Suffolk
Family Christmas sparkle at Ickworth, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 22 December, 9.30am – 4.30pm
Brighten your Christmas with a visit to Ickworth for a festive family weekend in December with Santa, gifts and much more. Visit the Georgian mansion in the heart of the Suffolk countryside for a celebratory family Christmas making decorations, crackers and treats. Sit next to the Christmas tree to hear festive stories and collect a special gift from Father Christmas.
Price: £8 (booking advisable to see Santa) Normal admission charges for the park, garden and house for accompanying adults.
For more information, please call 0844 249 1895

Dyffryn Gardens, Glamorgan
Christmas fair and Father Christmas grotto, 6 – 7, 13 – 14 December, 10am – 4pm
It’s time to get festive at some magical gardens just outside of Cardiff. Come along to Dyffryn to meet Father Christmas, make some pomanders and get your Christmas shopping off to a great start. Pick up some truly local and unique gifts for your loved ones and have a crisp winter walk amongst the gardens scattered with a sprinkling of frost.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 02920 593328

Christmas 2011 015 NT Nick King

Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
Meet Father Christmas, 13 – 14 December, 11am – 4pm
This moated manor house looks like it has popped straight out of a fairy-tale and it looks even more magical at Christmas. Come along and find Father Christmas hiding out in his grotto in a corner of the festive Hall. Discover his secret location and tell him what you would like for Christmas and you’re sure to receive a special gift.
Price: £5
For more information, please call 08442 491 895

Castle Ward, County Down
Santa’s House, 30 November – 22 December (Wednesday to Sunday only)
Mrs Claus welcomes you to help waken Santa as he sleeps by an open fire. Join Mrs Claus for some festive shortbread and mince pies, listen carefully to Santa’s story about Christmas at Castle Ward and collect a treat and a beautiful toy.
Price: Adult £7 Child £15 (booking essential)
For more information, please call 028 4488 1204

Visitors enjoying Christmas at Wallington, Northumberland.

Fun Festive Activities

The Vyne, Hampshire
Fun in the Cracker Factory, 13 – 14, 22 – 23 December, 12pm – 3pm
The mansion’s rooms are decorated for a vintage Christmas, full of nostalgia, warmth and magic. The Vyne’s elves are still hard at work with their preparations for Christmas and you’re invited to help them out in the bustling Cracker Factory, where you can make your own crackers with a bang to take home.
Price: £3 (normal admission fee applies, booking advisable)
For more information, please call 01256 883858

Bateman’s, East Sussex
A Kipling family Christmas, 29 November – 23 December, 26 – 31 December, 11.30am – 3.30pm
The family home of Rudyard Kipling is decorated for Christmas, with all the sights, sounds and scents of the festive period, with a special Christmas trail for the children leading to the elves special workshop. Stop off for a leisurely lunch in the Mulberry Restaurant and a spot of Christmas shopping in the gift shop to end the day.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01435 882302

Children visiting Santa ©National Trust Images Arnhel de Serra

Formby, Liverpool
Narnia, 18, 19, December, 2pm – 4.30pm & 20 December, 11am – 3.30pm
Visit Formby this Christmas and walk through the magical story of Narnia where the Spirit of Christmas is all about giving. What can you bring to share some magic this festive season with those in need? Guides will walk you through the woodlands where you’ll discover the magical story of Narnia. Santa will be waiting to collect your gift to give to those less fortunate this Christmas.
Price: £3 (booking essential, normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call please e-mail formbyevents@nationaltrust.org.uk

Montacute House, Somerset
Huskies at Montacute, 13 – 14 December, 11.30am – 3pm
Montacute is a place of beauty and wonder and is even more magical at Christmas. Watch a team of huskies pull a wheeled rig up and down the west drive and get up close to one of man’s most enchanting and fluffy best friends. Meet Santa in his Grotto at weekends from 6 – 21 December, 12pm – 3pm.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01935 826 294

Children visit Santa at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire ©National Trust Images, David Levenson

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire
Dear Father Christmas, 29 & 30 November, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 21, 22 – 23, 26 – 31 December, 1 – 4 January 2015, 11am – 3pm
The magnificent ruins of Fountains Abbey look even more magical during the winter months with a sprinkle of frost in the air. It’s nearly Christmas and the elves are waiting at their twinkly post office to receive some very special letters. If you’ve said your pleases and thank-yous this year, be sure to write to Santa to tell him how good you’ve been. There will be paper, pens, envelopes and stamps at the ready – all that’s left is for you to write your wish list, become the elf postmaster, and send it off to the North Pole. If you drop in after Christmas, make sure you write to Santa to thank him for your presents.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01765 608888

Petworth House and Park, West Sussex
The Gingerbread Snowman, 26 December – 2 January 2015, 10.30am – 3pm
Join a festive trail around the country house and park in the Sussex countryside this Christmas. The Cook has dropped all the ingredients for her gingerbread recipe in the Pleasure Grounds; can you find them and write them down to make your very own Gingerbread Snowman at home?
Price: £3
For more information, please call 01798 342207

Allan Bank and Grasmere, Cumbria
Notes to Santa, 1 – 21 December, 10am – 4pm
There’s no better place to put pen to paper than at Allan Bank in Cumbria, once home to William Wordsworth. Write your note to Santa with all your Christmas wishes and leave it in the big sack ready to be delivered. Wait to see your letter sent up the chimney and to make sure Father Christmas gets your message.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 015394 35143

Blickling hall - Christmas interior. please credit National Trust Images

Uppark House and Garden, West Sussex
Stir up Sunday 30 November, 11am – 3pm
Join in the tradition of Stir up Sunday at this tranquil house perched on the South Downs ridge. Take turns to come and stir the Uppark Christmas pudding and to make a festive wish. A bag of spices and a real sixpence will be yours to take home to add to your very own pudding.
Price: 50p (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01730 825 415

Stowe, Buckinghamshire
Christmas Angels – Family make and take at Christmas, 29-30 November, 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 22 December, 10am – 4pm
Visit Stowe this Christmas and discover a vast landscape with over 40 historic temples and monuments each with their own story. Every Christmas tree shouldn’t be without its very own angel, so have a go at making a handmade one this festive season. Don’t forget to add a pinch of glitter to add that extra special sparkle to their wings.
All craft materials, decorations and instructions are provided.
Price: Free event
For more information, please call 01280 817 156

Coleridge Cottage, Somerset
A Georgian Christmas, 13 December, 4.30pm – 8.30pm
Add a sprinkle of romance to Christmas with a visit to home of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Get into the festive spirit with a candlelit evening of carol singing, fireside stories and a festive present for every child.
Price: Adult £5, Child £3 (booking advisable)
For more information, please call 01278 732662

Visitors taking part in Christmas baking activities at Attingham Park, Shropshire.

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