The National Trust at Christmas

Regular readers will know that I’m a huge fan of the National Trust, but at Christmas it really comes into it’s own. All across our area the houses and grounds are transformed into a variety of beautiful festive scenes. There’s usually Christmas trails, activities and events, including ones just for adults. Here’s my guide to what’s going on at the National Trust over Christmas in Bucks, Beds, Oxon and Herts.

If you saw my recent post you’ll know that this year we’re all about experiences rather than stuff as Christmas presents this year. National Trust membership makes an excellent family Christmas present. For just over £100 an entire family can enjoy soooooo many FREE days out across the UK. One year I decided to see how much money I’d saved by using my membership. After a few months (including the summer holidays) we’d saved over £300 and I stopped keeping track. Click the image to join or buy a gift membership.

If you’re a member then entry to most of the events below will be FREE. There may be charges for some activities though. I’ve included the prices where known but they may be subject to change.

Readers of the blog will know that I’m a huge fan of the National Trust, I’ve been a member myself for nearly 10 years and we’ve visited nearly 90 properties in that time. I am very proud to be a National Trust affiliate. Over the years we have saved thousands of pounds on family days out across the UK and I cannot recommend membership strongly enough. My links to National Trust websites on this post are affiliate links. If you go on to join the National Trust after visiting their website via these links then I earn a small commission. This helps to keep the website running and there is NO ADDITIONAL COST to you. If you are interested in joining the National Trust then you can click here to find details of their membership packages.

Waddesdon Manor at Christmas (Bucks)

Waddesdon Manor has been voted the best Christmas experience in the UK! Have a look at my review from last year and you’ll see why. Their Christmas season kicks off on the 16th November with a market, daily shows, trails and spectacular decorations inside the house. Click here to read details of everything that is happening.

Special note for NT members – entry to the gardens is still free, but there is a small charge for admission to the house.

National Trust at Christmas | Reviews by Free Time with the Kids

Hughenden Manor (Bucks)

Hughenden Manor is all about a 40’s Christmas this year. The house will be decorated in 40’s style and there will be a trail in the gardens (£3 each). Or book tickets for Santa’s Grotto Saturday/Sundays in December.

Check out my review of last year’s Christmas at Hughenden Manor by clicking this link. They are running a Wreath Making Workshop for adults on the 26th/27th November. £40. Booking required. There’s also a vintage craft fayre on the 28th November.

Ashridge (Hertfordshire)

There’s a Nutcracker trail around the meadow at weekends in December from 10:00 – 15:00. It’s also running on the 26th/27th December. The cost is £3 per person and there’s a prize at the end. There’s the Christmas Pudding walk around the woods from the 2nd December to 6th January. It’s FREE but, if it’s the same route they’ve used in previous years it’s very very muddy! You wouldn’t be able to get a pushchair through and make sure you take wellies. It’s good fun though.

The Wreath Making workshop is sold out.

The Santa Paws walk is on the 8th December from 11-12. It’s a walk around the Meadow following Santa. No pre-booking required. £1 per dog.

Cliveden at Christmas (Buckinghamshire)

The Cliveden Festive trail is running from the 30th November to 23rd December at weekends and during the school holidays. It’s £5 per child. Read my full review of Cliveden here.

National Trust at Christmas | Reviews by Free Time with the Kids

Stowe Landscape Gardens (Buckinghamshire)

Christmas at Stowe includes a 12 day of Christmas trail which is a FREE trail running from the 1st December to 5th January. There’s Christmas shopping from the 18th Nov to 22 Dec.

You can also enjoy FREE Carols in the Courtyard every weekend form 30th November 10:45 – 14:00. My review of Stowe is here.

White Horse Hill (Oxfordshire)

How amazing does this sound? On Friday 13th there’s a family sky tour and meteorwatch at White Horse Hill. It’s just £6 per adult and £3.50 per child. Pre-booking essential.

Upton House (Oxfordshire)

It’s a 1930’s Christmas at Upton House from the 29th November. There will also be a Christmas craft fair on the 20th November and 1st December. From the 7th December you’ll also have chance to meet Santa , including Christmas paper crafts (£6 per child).

There’s also the chance to get involved making their Christmas pudding, making ceramic Christmas decorations and a festive guided walk around the gardens.

National Trust at Christmas | Reviews by Free Time with the Kids

Chastleton House (Oxfordshire)

Chastleton House, nr Moreton in Marsh is going to be open for three festive weekends in late November and December. Only a few rooms are open but they will be beautifully decorated including a massive tree in the Great Hall.

Dunstable Downs (Bedfordshire)

Dunstable Downs isn’t doing a Christmas trail this year but they are running both Breakfast with Santa and festive afternoon teas at weekends in December. Breakfast is £7.95 per adult / £5.95 per child. Afternoon Tea is £13 per adult / £8 per child.

There’s a new 50 things list out this month and on the 1st December from 14:00 – 15:30 there’s a FREE 50 things session. Meet outside the visitor centre.

Fancy a bit of fresh air after over-indulging? There will be guides walks on Boxing Day and New Years Day. Both are from 11:00 – 13:00. £5 per adult, £3.50 per child.

Lacock Abbey (Wiltshire)

Lacock Abbey is the home of Hogwarts and a big favourite in our house! Each year the local clubs, societies and charities decorate a tree at Lacock Abbey for their Christmas tree festival. There’s a FREE Reindeer trail in the grounds of the Abbey with puzzles and activities. There’s also a Christmas code trail to follow in the village itself, which is also owned by the National Trust. These are both running from the 30th November until the 19th December. The Great Hall will also be decorated in impressive style (Closed Monday to Wednesdays). Finally there will be Carols in the Courtyard on selected Thursdays and Fridays in December.

Wimpole Hall (Cambridgeshire)

Although Wimpole Hall (read the review here) is just outside our area it’s easy to get to and has tons to do. Having seen the photos from last year it’s another National Trust property that goes all out at Christmas. As well as the beautiful decorations inside the house there will be a choir singing songs in the chapel, stories, a wishing tree and the chance to help make plum pudding. There’s also a reindeer trail and decorations in the garden.

Avebury Manor (Wiltshire)

A very special shout out goes to Avebury Manor in Wiltshire. Not only does Avebury have a stone henge that is so big there’s a village in the middle of it, but it is also one of my favourite National Trust properties at Christmas. Because none of the internal items are original you can touch EVERYTHING and at Christmas this is even more special. This year their theme is the 12 days of Christmas and the rooms are all decorated to fit the theme. We visited on the Winter Solstice last year – check out the review for more details of the Manor and it’s unique version of a National Trust Christmas.

Join in the National Trust at Christmas

You can probably tell, I’ve visited a lot of National Trust properties, and I’ve visited a lot of them at Christmas. Each one is unique! What I love is that because we are members we get to visit for FREE all year round! It costs just £126 per year for a family with two adults to join. That is cheaper than the cost of visiting Hughenden Manor, Cliveden and Waddesdon Manor combined. After that every other day out is completely free, all across the UK. Click this link to join today.