Christmas houses, candlelit tours and festive stories

Experience a sparkling and colourful Christmas at National Trust places with Christmas houses, candlelit tours and festive stories in and around Hampshire

If you’re looking for a really special festive experience this winter, step into Christmas at one of our beautiful historic houses. National Trust places around Hampshire feature sparkling decorations, fresh winter greenery, Christmas houses and festive family trails.

Classic Christmas stories are brought to life at The Vyne and Hinton Ampner, with help from Charles Dickens, and Aesop’s Fables. There are enchanted winter woodland scenes and fairy homes to discover at Mottisfont.  At Uppark you’re invited to Lady Sarah’s glamorous masked Christmas ball.  If you’re after gift and decoration ideas Sandham Memorial Chapel’s craft workshops will give you lots of inspiration. For something ultra-Christmassy, check out The Vyne’s festive candlelit tours.

There are loads of family activities at each of our places, including a gingerbread trail at Winchester City Mill, fairy landscapes to hunt for in Mottisfont’s gardens, and Christmas Carol-themed challenges indoors and out at The Vyne.

Our shops feature traditional and contemporary Christmas ranges for all ages, including locally made food, drink and artisan gifts.  Tea-rooms are serving new winter menus, featuring delicious homemade treats using ingredients from our own kitchen gardens and local producers.

Each festive day out you enjoy supports the National Trust’s work as a charity looking after special places for future generations to enjoy.

Here are the top places to enjoy Christmas in Hampshire:

Mottisfont

An Enchanted Christmas with the Flower Fairies

23 Nov – 5 Jan, 11am – 4pm, normal admission charge plus £1 per trail

Enjoy a magical Christmas at Mottisfont, inspired by the Winter Flower Fairies. Mini lanterns and displays of holly and ivy line the bridge and path, guiding you to the house. Inside, you’ll find rooms beautifully decorated with fresh winter foliage and flowers, to reflect an enchanted winter woodland – the fairies’ natural landscape.

Look carefully, amidst the trees, trailing old man’s beard, ivy and moss, and you’ll glimpse little fairy boots and fairy wings, tiny birds and squirrels. In the Whistler room you’ll find a magnificent 14ft Christmas tree set against a forest backdrop, and upstairs in the gallery is Cicely Mary Barker’s exquisite Flower Fairy artwork, alongside sumptuous miniature fairy costumes. Outside, hidden fairy dwellings are waiting to be discovered on a fairy-themed trail.

The Vyne

A Victorian Christmas at The Vyne: 30 Nov – 2 Jan, 12-3pm, normal admission charge plus £1 per trail

At The Vyne, Victorian family the Chutes are celebrating Christmas, and excitedly discovering Charles Dickens’ new book, A Christmas Carol. Explore this beautiful mansion, dressed in glittering Victorian-style decorations, with rooms themed around the famous novel. Younger visitors can hunt for clues hidden in the mansion, taking them on journey into the story of A Christmas Carol. Outside, The Vyne’s new Silhouette Trail invites families to seek out characters and objects from the book, hidden in the gardens.

The Vyne

Festive candlelit house tours

3,5,11,13,17&19 Dec, 4-5.30pm & 4.30-6pm, £35, book on 01256 883858

For the first time, this former Tudor mansion – a favourite with Henry VIII – is hosting intimate tours of the house by candlelight. Take a journey into 500 years of history at The Vyne, including rare 16th-century interiors, as you travel through darkened rooms and corridors, lit only by the soft glow of candles and sparkling Christmas trees. Mulled wine and mince pies will warm the spirits.

Hinton Ampner

Christmas Fables at Hinton Ampner

1 Dec – 31 Dec, 10am – 2.30pm, normal admission charge plus £2 suggested donation per family trail, booking essential on 0344 249 1895 or by visiting 

This quintessential country house is presenting Aesop’s Fables this Christmas. Each ground floor room will be sumptuously decorated to illustrate one of Aesop’s famous tales. Inspired by a beautiful copy of the book that belonged to former owner Ralph Dutton (on display to visitors) you’ll find tales of foxes, monkeys, birds and mice, against glittering Christmas backdrops. In the dining room, the huge dining table is transformed to depict the contrasting homes of the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. The ornate nest of the Goose that laid the Golden Eggs can be found in the study, and a woodland scene in the south drawing room tells the story of the Peacock and the Crane. Outside, the Old Sweet Shop will be stocking traditional sweet treats, and a creative Aesop’s-themed trail (suitable for all ages) takes families on a Christmas adventure through the gardens.

Uppark House and Garden

Lady Sarah’s Christmas Ball

30 Nov – 5 Jan, 11am – 3pm, normal admission charge plus £2 suggested donation per family trail

Step into the Georgian period, with this invitation to Lady Sarah’s glamorous masked Christmas Ball at Uppark. Discover the mansion’s 18th-century interiors decorated with plenty of sparkle, and beautiful masked characters created by renowned paper artist Denise Watson. You’ll come across enticing scenes of elegant ladies, complete with intricately cut paper fans and ornate jewellery and gentlemen in beautiful paper-embroidered coats and ornate wigs. Kids can find out all sorts of fun facts about a Georgian Christmas ball on Uppark’s activity-packed trail around the grounds, adapted to suit all ages.

On 14 December (12.30 – 2.30pm) beautiful sounds will fill the house and grounds, courtesy of the Nadina String Quartet. On 15 December (12 – 3pm) it’s the turn of Alder Valley Brass, with plenty of festive favourites.

Winchester City Mill

30 Nov – 24 Dec, 10am – 3pm, normal admission charge plus donation for gingerbread trail

There’s lots going on in the build-up to Christmas at this ancient working watermill in the heart of Winchester. Father Christmas’ missus, Mrs Claus, needs little ones’ help to find gingerbread people hidden around the Mill.

On 14 December (12-3pm), the merry sounds of Alder Valley Brass will be ringing out in the courtyard, as they play favourite carols for visitors to sing along to. There’s mulled wine and mince pies too.

The mill’s volunteer baking team are up to their arms in flour and spices, with seasonal baking demonstrations to watch, and enjoy food tastings after. Pick up top baking tips and recipe cards, on *24 November, 14 and 21 December (11am – 3pm). *This is our Stir Up Sunday event, when children are invited to stir the Christmas pudding and make a wish (around 11.30am).

Sandham Memorial Chapel

Christmas craft workshops

22 Nov – 15 Dec, various times, from £17. Book on 0344 249 1895

At this intimate little 20th-century chapel, tucked away in a quiet corner of the Hampshire countryside, you’ll discover plenty of opportunities to get crafty this Christmas. A series of workshops will help you design a beautiful wreath for your door, and create cards, gifts and Christmas decorations using specialist techniques including decoupage and embossing. Choose from:

Papercraft workshops

Fri 22 Nov & Sat 7 Dec 10.45am-12.45pm

Create beautiful cards and gift boxes whilst

learning new techniques from die-cutting to

embossing.

£17 B 0344 249 1895

Découpage workshop

Fri 22 Nov 2-4pm

Use napkins to create beautiful decorations on

a range of objects.

£27.50 B 0344 249 1895 

Decopatch workshop

Sat 7 Dec 2-4pm

Learn the art of decopatch using gorgeous

papers to make unique Christmas decorations

or gifts.

£27.50 B 0344 249 1895

Wreath workshops

Fri 13 – Sun 15 Dec 10am-12pm & 1-3pm

Create your own wreath with different varieties

of greenery and decorations.

£33 B 0344 249 1895

Mompesson House

A Victorian Christmas, 23 Nov – 22 Dec, 11am-3pm, normal admission charge. This year Mompesson House in the heart of Salisbury welcomes you to explore a Victorian Christmas, inspired by the diaries of resident Jinny Townsend. Discover beautifully decorated Christmas trees, displays of festive food, exclusive gifts and a fun Christmas trail for children. Upstairs, find out how rooms are ‘put to bed’ for the winter.

 

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