See the Christmas lights twinkle at National Trust locations this winter

See the Christmas lights twinkle at National Trust locations this winter

If the annual Christmas light’s switch on in your local town isn’t up your street, the National Trust have the perfect wintery alternative to the hustle and bustle of the busy high street this year with their very special Christmas light displays at National Trust locations across the country.

From historic halls and towering castles to enchanted woods and magnificent abbeys, there’s nothing quite as impressive as seeing these landmarks lit up for this special time of year. All money raised will also be going towards the upkeep of these beautiful locations so you’ll be able to enjoy them in the knowledge you’re contributing to a great cause. Take a look below to see if the Christmas lights will be at a National Trust destination near you.

National Trust December offer

Don’t forget to make the most of the National Trust’s December offers to enjoy a fabulous visit to one of their many sites for free. Between 5 and 7 December 2018, participating National Trust properties will open their doors for free to anyone with a National Lottery ticket, which costs just £2. This is a part of a thank you from the National Trust to people who have raised money for its conservation work by buying a lottery ticket.

South West

Cotehele, Cornwall

Commemoration Garland

10 Nov - 6 Jan, 11am - 4pm


When the residents of Cotehele first hung a modest, floral, Christmas display in the Tudor hall just over 60 years ago, little did they know how their simple decoration would become a beloved annual tradition. This year the display will commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War with a special artwork created by West Country artist Dominique Coiffait, inspired by the ebb and flow of life in Cotehele garden. The artwork will wind around the walls of the Great Hall and complement the 60ft garland created by the garden team and volunteers from cut flowers that were all grown and dried on the estate.

Price: Normal admission applies

Places to stay: You'll have Cotehele to yourself in early mornings and after the day visitors have gone home when you stay in one of the eight holiday cottages on the estate.


Trelissick, Cornwall

Trelissick Illuminated

Fri – Sun between 30 Nov – 16 Dec;  daily between 17 – 23 Dec, 4 - 7pm


Christmas really is the most wonderful time of year at Trelissick, so why not experience it for yourself?  As dusk creeps in the garden will be transformed into an illuminated wonderland with pathways showered in light and glinting specks dancing among the tree branches.  After you’ve wound your way through garden you’ll need warming up, so why not head to the house where the fire will be roaring to bring feeling back those chilly toes.

Price: Normal admission applies

Places to stay: From tall towers and gate houses to water-side cottages, there are unique experiences in amazing places at each of the six holiday cottages on the Trelissick estate.


Lanydrock, Cornwall

Victorian Christmas

1 Dec – 1 Jan (except 25 & 26 Dec), 11am - 4pm

See the past come to life at Lanhydrock this Christmas, as the household prepares for the Agar-Robartes family's Christmas dinner with family and friends. The house and garden will be decorated to impress the family's guests and the kitchen will be bustling as the cook and kitchen maids prepare festive food and decorations – why not get stuck in and lend them a hand? Little ones can travel back in time with a bit of dressing up, and if you’ve got chilly toes you can warm them beside the roaring fire in the hall, or marvel at the magnificent Christmas tree.  

Price: Normal admission applies

Places to stay: Hidden away in its own delightful secluded garden, Cutmadoc holiday cottage, sleeping six, has a truly privileged position: with views over the historic parkland, it is the only holiday cottage in the heart of Cornwall's flagship National Trust estate.


Knightshayes, Devon

Knightshayes by Night

Fri – Sun between 1 – 30 Dec, 4 - 7pm

From twinkling fairy lights to shimmering water, there’ll be plenty of festive magic to discover at Knightshayes this Christmas. With late openings every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December you’ll be able to experience the estate in a new light. Enjoy a warm welcome at the house and discover how theHeathcoat Amory family used to celebrate with presents, toys and greenery galore. Meanwhile out in the garden you’ll find hidden world swathed in colour and light from the special Christmas illuminations.

Price: Normal admission applies

Saltram, Devon

Enchanted Christmas at Saltram

22 Nov - 30 Dec, 12pm - 8pm


This Christmas the house at Saltram has been enchanted by some famous fairytales, with decorations that are sure to enchant visitors of all ages. The fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down either, as the gardens will be filled with bright illuminations to help lift the dark winter nights. Take a stroll explore this magical wonderland, and then head to the cosy Park Café or Chapel Tea Room for a warming drink and a bite to eat.

Price: Normal admission applies


Coleton Fishacre, Devon

Coleton Aglow

Fri – Sun between 30 Nov - 16 Dec; daily between 19 – 24 Dec and 27 –31 Dec, 5.30 - 8pm

It’s Christmas time, and Coleton Fishacre will be glittering and sparkling with festive cheer. See the house, streams, beautiful trees and exotic features of the garden lit for an opulent Christmas party, 1920s-style. You'll be able to try on your party outfit in the handling room, listen to party music playing in the Saloon, or have a go at parlour games such as Gilbert and Sullivan charades.

Price: Normal admission applies. Booking essential via 01803 842382

Places to stay: There are five holiday cottages on the Coleton Fishacre estate, including the recently refurbished former Georgian farmhouse, Higher Brownstone Farm. For couples, the Chauffer’s Flat offers a taste of the 1920s and offers the chance to explore the luxuriant grounds after hours.


Corfe Castle, Dorset


Winter lights

Fri – Sun between 14 – 30 Dec, dusk - 7pm

Settled high on a hill, the ruins of Corfe Castle can be seen towering over the landscape for miles around. They’re even more magical at Christmas, when the whole castle will be illuminated by beacons, braziers and lanterns, and brimming with festive atmosphere. For a real taste of Christmas you can try a glass of mulled wine, or tuck into treats by the log fire in the tea room.  Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Lord of Misrule, who will be causing mischief in the castle at 5pm & 6pm on each evening of winter lights.

Price: Normal admission applies

Places to stay: In Corfe Village you’ll find a former bakery and what was once the home of the groom to a medieval merchant’s house. While further afield, a choice including traditional farmhouses, former farm workers’ cottages and even a converted isolation hospital offer homes from home among the hills and heathland of the beautiful Isle of Purbeck.


Dunster Castle, Somerset

A Christmas Castle and illuminated winter walk

Fri –Sun between 8 – 23 Dec, 11am - 6pm

Once the sun goes down, an illuminated Christmas walk is a great way to see the grounds of Dunster in a whole new light. Inside the castle itself you can soak in the festive atmosphere as the Luttrell family might have in times gone by. See the rooms dressed to reflect some of the stories from Dunster’s past, and enjoy live festive music on selected dates. Don't forget to stop off at the Tea-room for some festive food and to pick out the perfect present in the Stables shop.

Price: Normal admission applies



South East


Polesden Lacey, Surrey


30 Nov – 23 Dec, 26 Dec – 2 Jan

See the sumptuous house at Polesden Lacey decorated for the festive season, ready for a glittering 1930s party like Mrs Greville would have thrown when she lived here. A glittering 18 foot tall Christmas tree will welcome you as you step into the central hall, and the house will be blooming with seasonal flowers and the scent of fir trees. Outside you can join in with carol singers in the courtyard, or clamber into a horse-drawn carriage for a scenic tour around the grounds. Feeling peckish? Why not pop into the Granary café to enjoy some tasty festive treats and a glass of mulled wine.

Price: Normal admission applies

Places to stay: Gardens Cottage is an ivy-clad Regency Villa situated next to the Rose Garden. Sleeping six this spacious cottage with elegant decor offers the exclusive chance to enjoy the garden after hours. 


Standen, West Sussex

Mr X Stitch at Standen

24 Nov – 6 Jan (except 24 & 25 Dec), 10am – 4pm

Every year the beautiful Arts and Crafts house at Standen is transformed with all the enchantment of a family Christmas through the decades. The seasonal showstopper is the big Christmas tree in the courtyard, which is guest-decorated by a famous designer each year. This year’s creation is the work of Mr X Stitch, one of Britain’s best known contemporary embroiders.

Price: Normal admission applies


Mottisfont, Hampshire


The Night Before Christmas

24 November – 6 January (except 24 & 25 December), house open 11am – 4pm, outdoor trail 10am – 4pm

Beautiful scenes from ‘The Night Before Christmas’ will be brought to life at Mottisfont this festive season. Rooms will be adorned with luxurious traditional decorations to tell the story of the much-loved poem as you walk through. But unlike the poem, the mice are definitely stirring here – can you spot them in nooks and crannies? You’ll find that Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen have landed Father Christmas’s sleigh outside, whilst around the gardens a festive-themed trail will take little ones on a special Christmas adventure.

Price: £1 per trail, normal admission applies


Hinton Ampner, Hampshire


Country House Christmas Murder Mystery

1 – 24 December, house open 11am – 3.30pm, outdoor trail 10am – 4pm

It’s the 1960s and Hinton Ampner’s glamorous Christmas house party is in full swing. But foul play is afoot and Ralph Dutton’s celebrations are about to be struck by tragedy.  Wander through rooms dressed in sparkling vintage decorations and stunning floral arrangements to find out ‘who dunnit’ and try to find the weapon that has been stolen from Hinton’s very own collection. Outside you’ll find a traditional sweet shop, festive activities for kids, and the Christmas Pudding mystery trail that takes young families on an adventure around the grounds.

Price: Normal admission charge applies, but advance booking required either online or by calling 0344 249 1895. Additional £2 per child for the Christmas Pudding mystery trail.


The Vyne, Hampshire

A Victorian Family Christmas

1 December – 1 January (except 24 & 25 December) , 11am – 3pm

Now that the huge project to restore the Vyne’s roof is completed, the house can once again be decked out in full Christmas splendour. Come along for a visit and you’ll find rooms beautifully dressed for a Victorian family Christmas, with bright Christmas trees and other traditional decorations.

Price: normal admission applies



 Calke, Derbyshire

Christmas Weekends at Calke

Weekends between 1 - 23 Dec, 11am - 6pm

Enjoy festive cheer at Calke Abbey as the National Trust celebrate Twelve Days of Calke's Christmas. As darkness falls, let the lanterns lead the way to the candle-lit church and see the Pleasure Grounds lit up in festive lights.

Price: Normal admission applies

Places to stay: Spend even longer at Calke Abbey with a relaxing stay in one of five holiday cottages on the estate. For big family groups or friends there’s Southwood House Farm, sleeping fourteen or for quieter get togethers a pair of Grade II listed lodges sleep three each. 


Upton House, Warwickshire

Upton Makes the House Desirable this Christmas

1 - 3, 7 - 10, 14 - 17 & 21 - 23 December, 12noon - 4pm

Visit Lord and Lady Bearsted's new country house decorated for a jazz-time twenties Christmas. Pick up hints and tips to create a charming scheme for your own home and discover how to delight the modern eye, without sacrificing any good old-fashioned Christmas feeling. View Upton House through the pages of a 1920s house and garden magazine.

Price: Normal admission applies

Places to stay: Step into the jazz age at 1 Home Farm Drive, an Art Deco inspired cottage that was converted in the 1930s. Or, experience Bog Cottage, a dolls house-like cottage that’s a former 18th-century banqueting house.   


Shugborough, Staffordshire

Christmas at Shugborough

1 – 23 December, 10am - 3pm

Christmas is a magical time of year at Shugborough, and the estate will showing off its seasonal best inside and out. The mansion, Servants' Quarters and Park Farm House will all be adorned with decorations inspired by the adventures, travels and triumphs of the two brothers who built Shugborough. There’ll also the chance to make your own lantern in one of the craft workshops, and then join in with a parade around the estate as dusk falls. 

Price: Normal admission applies. See website for individual activity prices


 East of England

 Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire

Twelve trees trail

1 December to 20 January

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a tree or two, and there are plenty of them at Anglesey. This year you can follow the trail of 12 trees throughout the house and garden and uncover the unique story of Anglesey Abbey and Lord Fairhaven’s passion for collecting along the way. Each tree will be decorated in spectacular style to reflect a different aspect of Anglesey Abbey’s past. You can even lend a hand by crafting some natural decorations in the house, and then hanging them on the final tree in the garden to share the Christmas spirit with everyone else.

Price: Normal admission applies


Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire


Christmas at Wimpole

Friday - Monday between 30 Nov - 23 Dec (closed 24 Dec), 10.30am - 3.30pm

This festive season enjoy some of Wimpole’s stunning show rooms filled with decorations sharing the story of a Georgian Christmas. With the Farm also in the Christmas spirit and open on the same days as the Hall, there is plenty to get you in the festive mood. The Garden, shops and Restaurant are all open daily throughout December.

Price: Normal Wimpole Estate admission applies. This event will be popular so please pre-book your house tickets via the website or call 0344 249 1895.


Blickling Estate, Norfolk

Christmas is coming

1 - 21 December, 10.30 – 6.30pm


Christmas is a magical time of year at Blickling. Begin your visit with a stroll up the iconic tree-lined driveway, before stepping inside to explore the house decorated in festive splendour. Outside 19,000 sparkling lights will illuminate the gardens including the Temple Walk, Parterre and Walled Garden. Feeling the chill? Warm up with mulled wine and a mince pie as you soak up the magical atmosphere. Weekends can be popular, so if you’re after a slightly quieter experience why not round up your family and friends for a special trip after school or work.

Price: Normal admission applies

Places to stay: With nine varied holiday properties to choose from, there’s something for everyone at Blickling Estate. Highlights include The Tower, a race stand for the second Earl of Buckinghamshire it has undergone a luxurious conversion and offers breathtaking views and a roof terrace.   


Ickworth, Suffolk


Living History at Christmas

Saturday 25 November, 11am – 3pm

Christmas is just around the corner and the Ickworth servants are starting to feel the festive cheer. The maids are busy making decorations and the whole team are preparing the lists and starting to write Christmas cards whilst the cooks are getting ready with their festive recipes.

Price: Normal admission applies

Places to stay: Take your pick from one of five holiday cottages on the Ickworth estate, including the Round House, approached by a winding tree-lined track this former shooting lodge now sleeps six. Or, join together Keeper’s and Carpenter’s cottage, a pair of redbrick Victorian cottages for ten to enjoy.   



 Dunham Massey


Christmas at Dunham

30 November – 30 December, see website for times.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Dunham Massey, and the gardens are all aglow with light. This is the second year of Dunham’s biggest and brightest festive event, and there are plenty of new surprises in store. Follow the sparkling path as it winds through the woods to see the canopy illuminated with shards of light and hung with snowflakes and sparkling baubles – not to mention the spectacular water feature finale. Afterwards warm up with your favourite winter tipple, or enjoy some toasted marshmallows around one of the fire pits while the aroma of roasted chestnuts fills the air.

Price: Adult £16.50, Child aged 5-16 £10 (under 5s free), Family (2 adults & 2 children) £50. Additional charge for refreshments. Booking essential via the website.


Wallington, Northumberland

Christmas at Wallington

From 24 November – see website for detailed dates and times

Searching for that special festive experience this Christmas? Join the celebrations in full swing at Wallington, where the house is decked out in beautiful decorations marking 50 years since the National Trust first opened the estate to visitors. Listen to festive music tuck into delicious treats fresh from the Aga then head outside to snap a picture of yourself in the sleigh pulled by beautiful willow reindeer, Don’t forget to try and count up the special decorated trees - one for every year that the National Trust has cared for Wallington. Visit on Friday and Saturday evenings to experience the mansion after dark: beautifully decorated for Christmas and illuminated by thousands of twinkly lights.  

Price: Normal admission applies

Places to stay: The 20 bed Wallington Bunkhouse is situated in the heart of the Wallington estate. Its simple set up makes it perfect for large family and friend groups.


Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, North Yorkshire

Festive Fountains

24 November – 7 January, see website for detailed dates and times


In 1934, much of the word was in the grip of the Great Depression. The Vyner family, who owned Fountains Abbey, decided to try and help boys from deprived local areas by creating a camp on the estate where they could  work the land, learn new skills such as gardening and forestry to help them find jobs, and  enjoy a better quality of life in rural North Yorkshire. This Christmas, visit the exhibition in Fountains Hall to find out more about the boys’ stories, explore what Christmas might have been like for them and how they would have celebrated. You can also see the abbey aglow in rainbow colours, sing along with a choir, get crafty at Swanley Grange and of course meet Father Christmas in his grotto.  

Price: Normal admission applies. Additional charges apply for Father Christmas’ grotto

Places to stay: There are fourteen places to stay on the Fountains Estate. Choose from an Elizabethan manor house, Yorkshire stone cottages and stylishly-converted 17th-century barns. Cottages sleep between two and 10 people, for larger groups of friends and family there are five cottages which can be booked together at How Hill.


Treasurer’s House, York

An Edwardian Christmas

Thursday – Sunday between 15 November – 16 December, 11am-4pm

Tucked away in the heart of York, Treasurer’s House is the perfect place to find a bit of festive sparkle – Edwardian style. The whole house will be decked out for Christmas with sumptuous scented garlands adorning the rooms, twinkling lights and fireplaces overflowing with presents. Hang a wish on the wishing tree and relax downstairs in the cosy Below Stairs Café, serving warming dishes and the famous Christmas Pudding Scone. Book your place for stories with Father Christmas in the attics. He’s had a mishap and read the map wrong, crashing into the attic. You’ll need a hard hat and head outside on the roof to find him.

Price: Normal admission applies. Additional charges apply for Father Christmas’ grotto

Places to stay: For a city break with a difference, try Minstergate, a quirky medieval cottage sleeping three. It sits in the historic city of York with views over the mighty York Minster.



 Christmas traditions at Tredegar House

Weekends between 24 November - 22 December, 11-4pm

Travel through time at Tredegar House as the 17th century house is decked out in full Christmas splendour. There’ll be traditional garlands, wreaths and a twinkling Christmas tree around every corner. Indulge your nostalgia with seasonal crafts such as pomander making, lace gifts and paper chains galore or warm up with a glass of mulled wine and homemade mince pie.

Price: Normal admission applies. Small additional charge may apply for craft activities.


Powis Castle, Powys

Portrait of Christmas

24th November – 6th January 2019, 11am-4pm (last entry 3.30pm)

Step into a ‘Portrait of Christmas’ at Powis this season and see a series of festive scenes unfold behind giant gilt frames glinting beneath the golden light of chandeliers. Traditional decorations and clever installations will reveal more about how the Herbert family spent their Christmas.

Price: Normal admission applies

Illuminated Gardens

Fri-Sun between 30 November – 16 December, 5pm - 9pm

Looking for a way to brighten up those dark winter nights? Why not take a stroll around Powis’ spectacular illuminated garden after dark. The yew tumps will be covered in sparkling lights, and you’ll find willow sculptures and shadow silhouettes placed throughout the garden. The Courtyard Restaurant will also be open so you can warm up after your walk with a festive tipple.

Price: Adult £7.15, Child £3.60

Places to stay: The Bothy, sleeping seven is a half-timbered cottage in the stunning Powis Castle gardens and has impressive Edwardian interiors, with period fireplaces and intricate wooden panelling.


Aberdulais, Neath Port Talbot

Aberdulais After Dark: Victorian Christmas

14 & 21 December, 5.30pm - 8pm

Looking for something a bit different to the usual Christmas lights? Head to Aberdulais and step back in time to the Victorian era. Join us on a candlelit walk to the waterfall and settle down for a traditional festive story with Mrs Claus or cosy up in the tea-room with a hot drink and mince pie.

Price: Normal admission applies


Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan

O Christmas Tree…

24 Nov - 6 Jan, 10am to 4pm

This Christmas the story of Dyffryn will be brought to life with a trail of ten decorated trees dotted around the house and gardens. Can you spot the trees festooned with small wooden ship and coal decorations to represent the industries that made the Cory family wealthy enough to build Dyffryn? How about one decorated with bright feathers to represent the parrot they were rumoured to have owned? After you’ve completed the trail, don’t forget to stop off at the café to warm up with delicious festive food and drink.

Price: Normal admission applies


 Northern Ireland

 Castle Ward, County Down

Christmastide: Georgian Weekends

1-2, 8-9 & 15-16 December, 12pm– 4pm

Step back in time this Christmas and celebrate in true Georgian style at Castle Ward. Visit to see the servants preparing for a festive party on the first weekend in December, then come back on the following weekends to see the mansion house in the full flow of celebrations with music, costumes and plenty of cheer.

Price: Normal admission applies

Places to stay: In the farmyard at Castle Ward, this dog-friendly stone cottage has white-washed stone walls. Sleeping four it sits on the historic farmyard of Castle Ward, which provided the backdrop for Winterfell in the first series. For bigger groups, looking for something a little more rustic the Castle Ward Bunkhouse sleeps fourteen.