Christ­mas magic

Kent Life - - National Trust - WORDS: Emma Ward PHO­TOS: ©Na­tional Trust Images

The Na­tional Trust is gear­ing up for the fes­tive sea­son and its houses, gar­dens and shops are al­ready feel­ing

de­cid­edly Christ­massy

The rich her­itage of the many his­tor­i­cal houses and gar­dens cared for by the Na­tional Trust across Kent has re­sulted in a wide va­ri­ety of Christ­mas tra­di­tions be­ing hon­oured in the county. From Ightham Mote’s ex­trav­a­gant dis­plays of Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions in­spired by Queen Vic­to­ria to the more prac­ti­cal plea­sures of wreath mak­ing and gift wrap­ping at Knole, there is some­thing for ev­ery­one to en­joy at the Na­tional Trust in the weeks lead­ing up to Christ­mas.


Whether you choose a new theme for your dec­o­ra­tions ev­ery year or dust off the old faith­ful baubles and tin­sel, now is the per­fect time to get some in­spi­ra­tion from Christ­mases past. The Great Hall at Knole is be­ing dec­o­rated for Christ­mas for the first time in sev­eral years and the fes­tive dis­play opens to the pub­lic from 1 De­cem­ber.

A se­ries of craft­ing work­shops for adults will help you recre­ate the lux­u­ri­ous vibe at home with guided ses­sions hap­pen­ing in Novem­ber and early De­cem­ber.

Choose from learn­ing to cre­ate wood­cut Christ­mas cards (16 and 17 Novem­ber), mak­ing a set of wil­low dec­o­ra­tions (4 and 5 De­cem­ber), the art of wreath mak­ing (6 De­cem­ber) and gift wrap­ping (8 De­cem­ber).


At Ightham Mote the fo­cus is on the manor house’s Vic­to­rian past, with dis­plays rem­i­nis­cent of the finest houses in Queen Vic­to­ria’s Eng­land. Sev­eral dec­o­rated rooms will open for pub­lic view­ing from as early as 1 De­cem­ber.

A Christ­mas mini-mar­ket on 1 and 2 De­cem­ber will mark the start of the Christ­mas sea­son and there will even be a spe­cial vis­i­tor wear­ing red to greet the chil­dren. Don’t for­get to drop by the gift shop to pick up some un­usual Christ­mas presents for his­tory buffs, or per­haps choose some de­li­cious chut­neys for your own Christ­mas lunch.


Chartwell is host­ing a spe­cial Christ­mas mar­ket from 22-25 Novem­ber, where you can buy lo­cally pro­duced gifts, jew­ellery, can­dles, cakes and more. There is also Chartwell’s own gift shop.

Bring your chil­dren along to the Big Cir­cus out­door trail to dis­cover the cir­cus acts that Clemen­tine and her grand­chil­dren and chil­dren would have seen at Christ­mas in 1947. The trail runs daily from 22 Novem­ber un­til 6 Jan­uary (ex­cept 24 and 25 De­cem­ber) and costs £1 per par­tic­i­pant.


More fes­tive fare is avail­able to buy at Siss­inghurst Cas­tle Gar­den’s an­nual Fes­tive Mar­ket on 24 and 25 Novem­ber, tak­ing place be­tween 10.30am and 4pm. Browse food and drink stalls and choose your gifts from the dis­plays of lo­cal crafts and pro­duce. Live mu­sic too and the main gift shop and café will also be open all week­end.

FIND OUT MORE For de­tails about other pre-Christ­mas events, ac­tiv­i­ties and dis­plays hap­pen­ing at the Na­tional Trust in Kent, please visit www.nationaltrust.

Learn how to make sea­sonal dec­o­ra­tions

ABOVE: The Tower, seen from the Or­chard, on a win­ter’s day at Siss­inghurst Cas­tle

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