Nationwide festive activities 2018

On the second day of Blogmas, Charlotte Nichole gave you……. some insight on some of the Nationwide activities going on right now!!

Yup. There are sooo many things to get involved in this time of the year. Stately homes to visit, Christmas lights to enjoy and even ice skating to sample.

So, here’s a comprehensive 2018 list of everything festive going on in the month of December. Family friendly, Christmas based and surely will get you into the festive spirit. PLUS, there are plenty of places to take the kiddies to meet good old Father Christmas. 

South East

Batemans – Just So Christmas

The gorgeous 17-century home will be heavily decorated and celebrating Christmas in style this season! Inspired by Kiplings travels and Just So stories, wander through the decorated home or venture out into the garden to tackle a family trail. 

You can even take a seat in the kitchen for some festive storytelling. This is a perfect opportunity to see the house in all it’s festive glory. 

‘Just So’ Christmas event in the house is open daily from Saturday 1 December 2018 to Sunday 6 January 2019, 11.00am to 4.00pm, excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Last entry to the house at 3.30pm.

Free event but normal admission charges apply.

Scotney Castle – Kent 

There is something for everyone this Christmas time at Scotney Castle in kent. Whether its storytelling with Father Christmas & Mrs Claus, family festive trails, Victorian Christmas in the mansion house, crowd free Christmas shopping or delicious Christmas lunches.

This Christmas celebrate the Victorian Christmas that the Hussey Family would have enjoyed, with traditional decorations and toys to enjoy within the house. You can even join in on a delicious two or three course festive menu in the tea-room, or enjoy a hot chocolate and mince pie after a stroll in the garden.

If you are visiting with the kids then they can complete the festive family Noah’s ark trail in the garden,  visit Father Christmas and Mrs Claus for storytelling in the old castle, and wrap up warm for a visit to our children’s play area which is open all winter. 

This is the time of year to venture and explore the gorgeous grounds and property at Scotney Castle. 


Winter Wonderland

Of course, winter wonderland is the place to go In London between late November and January right? Filled with Christmas markets, Ice skating and more, it’s the perfect place to get your festive on in the capital. 

London Zoo 

Christmas at the Zoo never looked so good. Discover London Zoo like never before on a one-mile illuminated pathway which winds its way through the Zoo in a magical after-dark experience. Tickets are £16.50 per adult and £10.50 per child.

Kew Gardens 

Kew Gardens are illuminated with over a million lights creating an unforgettable after-dark festive trail of lights. Finish the trail with some festive treats and even a sighting of Father Christmas himself. 
Christmas at Kew is open 5–10pm with Adult tickets from £16.50. 

Meet Father Christmas at Ham House 

During December, experience the wonderful splendour of Ham House lit by candle light. 

Candles will guide your way through the house, which will be decorated with natural green wreaths, swags and garlands, draped over banisters, mantelpieces and windowsills, glowing with lights and sparkle. There will of course be a sparkling Christmas tree adorning the house, bursting with presents beneath it.

The magic continues in the gardens, where trees and hedges twinkle, creating magical spaces and great photo opportunities. Christmas trees, as well as the beautifully shaped  formal gardens will be lit up to add to the festive atmosphere. 

Meet Father Christmas

Between 15 – 23 Dec, Father Christmas will be in residence at Ham House. Don’t miss your chance to meet him and receive your special Christmas gift.

A Christmas Ghost Tour

If you feel like getting spooky, even during the festive period, than this is for you. Experience Ham House at night with one of the ghost tours. Reputed to be one of the most haunted houses in Britain, discover the ghostly tales scattered through the history of Ham House.

Deck the Halls – Sutton House 

The halls of Hackney’s oldest house have been decked for Christmas 2018!  Explore 500 years of Christmas traditions throughout Sutton House and experience the festive period through the eyes of the Tudors, the Georgians, the Victorians, and even 1980s Londoners! 

You can even meet Father Christmas in his picturesque, oak-panelled Tudor grotto by a cosy fire. Hear enchanting stories of his adventures, and children will receive a lovely gift.

There is lots to enjoy and learn at Sutton House this Christmas, including mulled wine and mince pies! 

Deck the Halls will run from Saturday 24th November until Sunday 23rd December, Wednesday- Sunday, 12.00-16.30. Father Christmas is only at the house on Saturday and Sundays.

Adult, House and Father Christmas – £9.00
Child, House and Father Christmas – £5.50
National Trust member, House and Father Christmas – £2.00

South West 

Victorian Christmas at Lanhydrock

See the past come alive at Lanhydrock this Christmas. With just a few special rooms open and decorated, you can come and see how the Victorians prepared for lavish family meals in the kitchen and celebrated this wonderful time of the year.

The halls, dining room and garden are decorated to welcome and impress the family’s guests and you can join in with the dinner preparations in the kitchens.

There’s plenty of family fun to be had across the whole estate. Get involved in the kitchen and help prepare and cook traditional puddings and sweet treats. 

There are festive trails and winter walks to enjoy in the gardens too, with opportunity to warm up in the festive, cosy restaurant. 

Christmas at Trelissick 

Christmas has never looked soo good. As always, Trelissick will have a fantastic array of festive events and experiences for you to enjoy this Christmas. Meet Father Christmas with his reindeer and explore the illuminated house and garden after dark. 

The star of the celebrations are thee illuminations. See the gorgeous gardens in a new light as it becomes an illuminated wonderland. Wrap up warm and explore new pathways showered with light. Open late on Friday 7 to Sunday 9 and Friday 14 to Sunday 23. The garden illuminations also continue after Christmas from Thursday 27 to Monday 31 December.

Other festive treats including wooden reindeer making, Storytelling by Father Christmas himself and meeting his reindeer! There’s literally something for everyone this festive season at Trelissick. 

Christmas at Dyrham Park

Step into a 17th-century Christmas at Dyrham Park this December, a time where greenery displays, carol singing and pantomime signified a festive Christmas.

Carefully crafted festive foliage will be on display throughout Dyrham Park’s house and courtyard, with the scent of orange and spices permeating the air and dried chillis providing pops of colour around the house.

Open daily throughout December (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), Dyrham Park offers a refreshing escape from baubles and tinsel with plenty on offer to stimulate the senses. 

Christmas Trails, Festive performances and Christmas Craft Fayres are all running throughout December at Dyrham Park.

North West

Christmas at Dunham Massey 

Dunham Massey’s biggest and brightest Christmas event returns for a second year with plenty more surprises. Experience the garden and historic buildings all aglow for a magical outdoor, after-dark experience.

Wander beneath tree canopies drenched in seasonal colour and dripping with shards of light, frosty snowflakes, stars and baubles. New for 2018, the Dunham Massey winter trail is a place where fairy tale meets fantasy. Glowing trees rise high into the night sky and lead you on a path towards hundreds of colour-changing globes. There’ll be hidden surprises too – watch out for bubbles on the bridge before you stroll through playful ribbons of colour-changing lights and stop at the scented fire garden to take in the sights and smells.

As you walk through a tunnel of light covered with over 100,000 pea-lights, the mesmerising voices of singing trees can be heard in the distance. Take a moment at the water fountain finale to enjoy the water jets and beams of light as they dance in time to much-loved Christmas classics.

Keep an eye out for a glimpse of Father Christmas* along the way and complete your stroll under the stars with spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate** whilst the aroma of roasting chestnuts fills the air. Gather round to toast marshmallows** at one of the fire pits, take a ride on the vintage carousel** and enjoy other traditional fare before finishing your Christmas shopping in the shop.

A Magical Family Christmas at Rufford Old Hall

Start a new tradition at Rufford Old Hall this Christmas.

What makes Christmas time so special? It’s the family traditions which bring everyone together. So gather up your family and friends, wrap up warm and start by adding your wish to the wishing tree, meeting Father Christmas or taking a ride on a donkey!

Soak up the atmosphere in the Tudor Great Hall and listen to live music on Saturday 1 December with Bolton Parish Church Hand Bell Ringers, put on your dancing shoes on Saturday 15 December as you are invited to join in the dancing with Regency Rejigged in the Great Hall who this time will be in Victorian / Edwardian costume to lead us in lively dances from the Victorian period and join in with carol singing on Sunday 16 December with the Celebration Choir.

You can even learn how the decorations are made, on our Christmas Decorating Workshop.It’s the perfect way in get in to the Christmas spirit with a guided tour of the house and festive lunch to get inspiration before making your own wreath to take home!

North East 

Christmas and winter at Cragside

Frozen lakes and frost-tipped trees must only mean one thing: its winter at Cragside. This year the grounds are open every day, with the ground floor of the house open every weekend. Find out what’s on and make the most of your winter visit. 

Book yourself in for a Christmas Lunch, meet Father Christmas or go on a winter’s walk! There’s lots to be had at Cragside this Christmas! 

Wallington this Christmas

This Christmas promises to be truly special as you take in the House and grounds at this wonderful time of year. Discover the 50 Christmas trees marking our 50th Anniversary and enjoy the house beautifully decorated for the season.

Soak up the festive atmosphere as you enjoy music in the Central Hall, the smells of baking from the Aga in the kitchen and hear stories with Mrs Christmas.

Meet Father Christmas in his cosy grotto and receive a special gift.

Get the kids outdoors and burning off their excess energy by joining the 1-mile Jingle Bell Jog and when little legs need a break from all the excitement stop for a festive treat in the café and tick off the Christmas shopping with a trip to the festive shop.

Festive Fun at Ormesby Hall

Looking for some festive fun with the family? Then head to Ormesby Hall to enjoy some family time and discover what they have to offer the entire family this Christmas.

Christmas activities

In the Victorian Kitchen on Sundays children can make a salt dough decoration to take home. In the Entrance Hall children can enjoy a dance to the music, before writing a Christmas wish in a Christmas card upstairs. 

Christmas crafts in the Family Room 

Families can enjoy some play time and relax in the new family room besides the Victorian Kitchen and make a Christmas finger puppet and Christmas bookmark to take home.

House Christmas trail

Children can enjoy the Christmas decorations as they look for the mischievous elves hiding in the rooms, be on the lookout for some clues including the elves secret doors and even their washing!

Model railway layouts

This Christmas two permanent model railway layouts will be open; including a Thomas the tank engine and his friends interactive layout. Head to the model railways and push the buttons to make Thomas and friends go, then watch as you control them.

Explore the Garden

Head into the garden and help us decorate the wisteria branches by choosing and hanging a bauble, don’t forget to make a Christmas wish as you place it. Christmas meals can be prepared in the mud pie kitchen, so have a look on the ground for some seasonal ingredients for your recipe and enjoy some play time in the natural play area. If it’s raining or snowing then wrap up warm, put on your wellies and go looking for some great muddy puddles or make a snowman.

Servants’ Hall tea-room

Enjoy a bite to eat in the intimate setting of the tea-room, which is housed in the old servants hall. Warm up with a hearty soup, latte or hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows, with lunch boxes available for children. This Christmas for the first time ever there will be a second food and beverage kiosk in the courtyard, besides the warmth of the fire pit.


Powis Castle, Welshpool  

Brighten up your dark winter nights with a stroll around the castle and spectacular illuminated garden, terraces and courtyard. That’s not all, from 24 November step into a ‘Portrait of Christmas’ in the stunning State Rooms and see a series of festive scenes unfold behind giant gilt frames. Traditional decorations and clever instillations will reveal more about how the Herbert family spent their Christmas. The Courtyard Restaurant and shop will also be open offering festive food and lovely gifts.

Erddig, Wrexham  

Discover that real Christmas feeling at Erddig this festive season. Warm yourself by the fire as the scents of mulled wine and festive cooking fill the air as the house prepares for the festivities. Or wrap up warm and take the family on Erddig’s winter toy trail. Discover toys scattered around the garden and outbuildings and explore captivating and surprising installations.

Chirk Castle, Wrexham  

Enter a world of make-believe at Chirk Castle this Christmas. Lord Howard de Walden’s six children grew up in their very own fantasy castle. Follow their footsteps on a fantasy fairy tale trail or dress up and pose for photos and recreate a scene from the family album. That’s not all; see the beautiful decorations inside the State Rooms themed on the De Walden family pantomimes inspired from their very own family cinefilm.

Tredegar House, Newport 

Travel through time at Tredegar House this Christmas to explore traditions past and present. Experience lavish decorations in each room on a guided Christmas visit, or revel in the magic of a late night visit on a Yuletide tour. During the weekends try your hand at traditional Christmas activities and soak up the atmosphere as you enjoy a glass of mulled wine and mince pie as you explore local food and craft stalls.

Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire 

Kicking off Christmas at Dinefwr will be their traditional Christmas Fair on 23, 24 and 25 of November. The mansion and courtyard will be filled with tasty treats, handmade gifts and festive entertainment in the marquee. Come back in December and enjoy Christmas in Newton House as each room will be beautifully decorated. If you prefer the outdoors then wrap up warm and help the rangers feed the deer in the parkland, or join one of their guided walks.

Aberdulais, Neath  

Explore the Tin Works and Waterfall by night at Aberdulais. Take a candlelit walk to the waterfall on Friday 14 and 21 December, where you can enjoy storytelling and make traditional Victorian decoration. Don’t forget a torch!


Drum Christmas Festival

Drum Castle’s Christmas Festival is a new take on its beloved Holly Fest. Come and see the castle transformed for the festive season. Browse Exclusively Highland’s unique Christmas Market situated throughout the entire castle, try the wonderful German-inspired courtyard food, sample our sleigh-driver-friendly mulled wine and visit the Secret Drum Fairy Hideaway – a beautiful way to send your very special Christmas wishes!

Santa at Crathes Castle

A visit to see Father Christmas adds that extra bit of magic to the festive period. The jolly man himself will be stopping by Crathes Castle this year with his helpful elves. Visit the incredible 16th-century tower house with your little ones and meet Santa in the cosy Great Hall – he’ll be sure to reward those who’ve stayed off the naughty list!

Elf School – 
Newhailes, Musselburgh, East Lothian

Join the elves at their busiest time of year, as they prepare for Christmas! Learn how to be a good elf and participate in festive crafts. Graduate from Elf School with a treat and a certificate … presented by a special visitor!

If you’ve made it this far into this post than CONGRATULATIONS! It’s a pretty mahoosive one to say the least! I do hope I have gathered a huge array of activities from every aspect of the UK. Of course, if there is anything I have missed that needs to be noted or added, please do let me know! 

Is there anything that takes your fancy? Let me know in the comment section below!