Right, now that my youngest’s birthday is out of the way I can talk about Christmas (self imposed embargo on the use of the C word until mid November you see). Here’s some great ideas for festive fun with the National Trust in Sussex this Christmas.
If you’re looking for somewhere special to escape the high street crowds this Christmas, consider a visit to a National Trust house or landscape.
See a Christmas exhibition with all the family, visit historic houses decked out for the season or try a new festive trail.
You can stroll through picturesque landscapes, warm up with festive food in the café or stop off in the shop for some Christmas gifts.
Each magical day out supports the National Trust’s work as a charity looking after special places for future generations to enjoy.
Here are the National Trust’s pick of the best places to see spectacular Christmas decorations and festive events in Sussex
Christmas exhibition: The Snowman™ and The Snowdog
17 November until 2 January, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
In a special Christmas exhibition Nymans is displaying over 40 illustrations from the magical adventures of The Snowman™ and The Snowdog. With behind-the-scenes drawings, preparatory sketches and artwork used in the film, you’ll discover more about the creative process that brought The Snowman™ back to life for a new generation of viewers.
- Drop in Christmas crafts in the Potting Shed: every weekend in December, plus Monday 19 to Friday 23 December: 11am – 3pm. Make your own sock puppet Snowdog, pom-pom baubles or woollen mini wreath to take home or give as a gift this Christmas.
- Winter mittens & woolly scarves family trail, 1 Dec – 2 Jan 10am – 3.30pm: Take a family trail through the garden to find the giant visiting Snowdogs and look for the knitted decorations along the way.
Christmas through the ages
24 November to 6 January, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Make some treasured memories this Christmas at Standen as we bring you traditions, both old and new. From see a family Arts and Crafts home decorated for Christmas from Victorian times through to modern day. There is plenty to see with this year’s Christmas tree by Mr X Stitch in the courtyard and stories from Woodland Santa in his grotto.
Jamie “Mr X Stitch” Chalmers is one of the world’s most well-known male embroiderers, an internationally exhibited textile artist and curator. Jamie has invited the local community to help put a personal touch to his 20 foot designer Christmas tree in the courtyard, bringing festive joy and merriment to this late Victorian Arts & Crafts family home.
- Enjoy extended twilight openings for a special view of the house after dark and to finish off your Christmas shopping.
- Festive story-telling in the Woodland Grotto, Weekends in December and Wed 19 to Sun 23 Dec. Take a walk through the wintery garden, settle down in the grotto and enjoy a Christmas story. Then meet Woodland Santa himself and receive a small present and a cup of hot chocolate. £8 per child incl small toy, plus normal admission to Standen. Booking essential: 0344 249 1895
A Georgian Christmas
1 December to 1 January, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
This festive season Petworth House celebrates a bygone Christmas that reignites the old traditions of the Georgian era with selected rooms of the House and servants’ Quarters dressed for an opulent occasion and a ‘below stairs’ Christmas scene.
Bringing the outdoors in, see selected state rooms opulently dressed for a party, and decorated with lashings of garlands, kissing boughs, and mountains of mistletoe and greenery from the Petworth estate.
- Take part in parlour games popular at the time and settle down with a game of cards in the Somerset Room.
- Put on an impromptu performance on the Petworth stage with various scripts on offer or try your hand at puppet theatre, both Georgian pastimes.
- The Marble Hall of Petworth turns in to a grand ballroom this Christmas complete with carols and live performances at selected times.
- Downstairs, give the Chef a hand and bring in some good luck for the New Year by stirring the mincemeat.
Sheffield Park and Garden
Seasonal silhouettes in the garden
17 November to 2 January, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
This Christmas period, escape the mayhem for a while and plan a visit to Sheffield Park and Garden to refresh your mind and restore some calm. Take a stroll through the garden with its mirror lakes reflecting the winter trees. Embrace the season, spotting all the garden has to offer at this time of year. Bare trees expose their structural form and with crisp air and the crunch of frosty leaves underfoot, the garden is sure to delight in winter as much as any other season.
- This Christmas, look out for the seasonal silhouettes in the garden as they interact with the landscape along the winding paths. Follow the trail and join in their activities.
- Spot the robin Christmas trail: Look out for the robins hiding in each of our festive silhouette scenes as you enjoy a walk around the garden. Pick up a sheet from visitor reception as you enter the garden to help you find your way around.
Alfriston Clergy House
Christmas through the ages
Weekends in December 1&2, 8&9, 15&16
Come and see our traditionally decorated house, decked out with leaves, orange pomanders and other natural decorations as would have been used in the Middle Ages. Each room is dressed to reflect a different period, from the medieval hall, to the Stuart era parlour and Edwardian reading room. The shop is full of gifts, scarves, cards and festive fancies so pop along for a pre-Christmas browse.
- If you are feeling peckish then the village of Alfriston has a great range of cafes, tea shops and pubs. There are antique shops, gift shops, book shops and plenty of other places to offer some festive inspiration
Photograph of Petworth House courtesy of National Trust.