The National Trust is gearing up for the festive season and its houses, gardens and shops are already feeling
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.
CRAFTS AT KNOLE
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).
TRADITIONS AT IGHTHAM MOTE
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.
WINTER WARMERS AT CHARTWELL
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.
SHOPPING AT SISSINGHURST
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. org.uk/kent.
Learn how to make seasonal decorations
ABOVE: The Tower, seen from the Orchard, on a winter’s day at Sissinghurst Castle