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Our Favourite Historic Houses Open For Christmas 2022

17 Oct 2022 by Liz Tod

*Blog updated 05/12/2022*

Read time: 7 mins.

Looking for a festive day out over the weeks up to Christmas? 

Something that will suit all the family?

Fancy stepping back in time but also enjoying festive treats and some history?

Maybe finding some unique gifts at the same time?

Then how about visiting one of the UK’s many historic houses? 


Check out our top 8 Christmas days out at British country houses:


1. Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent

Great for: a festive day trip with the family.

  • 19th November – 2nd January.

  • From £12 up to £23 adult, £12 to £26 child (Prices vary depending on time of day and whether the Father Christmas option is taken).

This beautiful moated grade 1 listed castle dates back to the 13th century and was once the seat of the Boleyn Family.

There’s a lot on offer here at Christmas, both in the Castle and in the grounds.

From 4pm the Castle and grounds, including the lake, are magically illuminated.

Wander through the beautifully decorated Castle where Christmas trees sparkle and log fires glow.

Visit Father Christmas and his Elves in his workshop!

Enjoy lake walks and a trail where you can meet characters from the Festive Forest.

Meet owls from the Birds of Prey Centre and, on selected dates, meet huskies!

There’s even a fairground, a maze and play areas. Brilliant fun for a Christmas family day out.

Browse the wonderful gift shop and enjoy an array of refreshments in the restaurant, bar and terrace and throughout the gardens.

Experience the castle and grounds at Anne Boleyn’s childhood home. Photo by simon*** via flickr. Some rights reserved.


2. Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Great for: taking the children to visit Father Christmas.

  • 12th November – 8th January.

  • £14.10 adult. £6.95 child (£19.95 if visiting Father Christmas)

How about a visit to a 3000 year old fine coastal fortress this Christmas?!

One of Britain’s largest uninhabited castles, Bamburgh is steeped in history and surrounded by ghost stories, legends and myths.

This year it’s a ‘Christmas Kingdom’ depicting the 12 Days of Christmas.

Be enchanted by the state rooms which have been transformed by theatrical sets, floral displays and spectacular decorations!

Visit Father Christmas in his magical grotto (from 19th – 23rd December).

This promises to be a Christmas Spectacular with a pretty dramatic backdrop!


3. Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire

Great for: getting into the festive spirit.

  • 5th November – 8th January

  • 10am – 4.30 or 6.30pm (variable)

  • From £29.50 adult (house, garden, farmyard and illuminations), child and family tickets available.

Home to the Devonshire Family, this magnificent house and its gardens promise a memorable experience at Christmas time.

There’s something for everyone on a Christmas day out at Chatsworth.

This year’s theme is ‘A Nordic Christmas’. Expect to be immersed in Christmas legends, folklore and traditions from the Arctic and Nordic regions as you move from room to room or in its wonderful grounds.

Walk through magical woodlands and pine forests.

Listen to Fireside Fairytales.
Visit the Estate Farm Shop and browse the festive fare or order a British-grown Nordsmann Fir Tree!

Stock up on interesting stocking fillers and gifts at the Christmas Market and enjoy delicious hot food and mulled wine whilst listening to live music.

Get that festive feeling in Chatsworth House and Gardens. Photo by Andrew Stawarz via Flickr. Some rights reserved.


4. Highclere Castle, nr Newbury

Great for: a Christmassy evening with friends.

  • On various dates in November and December, see below.

  • For more information go to highclerecastle.co.uk.

One of Britain’s most loved historic houses, this is the home of the Earl & Countess of Carnarvon. It’s also the location for Downton Abbey! A very Christmassy place.

In the run-up to Christmas, throughout November and December, there is much to see and do at the Castle.

The theme throughout the Castle and grounds is ‘Ancient Egypt’.

  • From 6th to 8th December 9.30am until 2.30pm: Tour the wonderfully decorated state rooms and gallery bedrooms. See the 24’ Christmas tree and enjoy gift -shopping in the marquee on the castle lawns.

  • 10th December: Tour the Castle and enjoy the showing of ‘Downton Abbey: A new era’ hosted by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon.

  • 16th December:  Be taken on a delightful evening tour, with champagne, canapes and carols.

  • 18th -19th December:  A Charles Dickens evening, to include champagne and supper


5. Castle Howard, North Yorkshire

Great for: a Christmas day out with the kids.

  • 12th November – 2nd January.

  • From £21.10 adult. Child tickets available (prices vary depending on whether Father Christmas option is chosen)

One of Britain’s finest stately homes, and a popular location for films, it is well worth a visit, especially at Christmas time.

The theme for 2022 is ‘A Fairytale Christmas’.

The house’s grand rooms are turned into magical forests and faraway kingdoms. A top Christmas day out with kids!

Expect to be enthralled by theatrical illuminations and projections which bring favourite fairytales to life.

Visit Father Christmas and receive a gift and drop in on the magical storytelling grotto in the courtyard.

Enjoy delicious treats including a festive afternoon tea.

There’s opportunity for buying lovely gifts, local produce or British-grown Christmas trees.

Need some ideas for your Christmas table setting? Get some inspiration with a trip to Castle Howard. Photo by alh1 via Flickr. Some rights reserved.


6. Holkham Hall, Wells-next-the-sea, Norfolk

Great for: experiencing Christmas by candlelight.

  • On various dates throughout December.

  • Check holkham.co.uk for more details.

A Palladian style mansion steeped in history, this is the home of the 8th Earl of Leicester.

Get the festive spirit by visiting Holkham this Christmas!

There’s a choice of guided or self-guided tours to enjoy the magnificent state rooms by candlelight. Treat yourselves to fizz or soft drinks and mince pies. Wonderfully decorated, there is something here for everyone.

A visit to Father Christmas perhaps?

Refreshments at the delightful Courtyard Café?

Or a wander around the amazing festive food, drink and gift market?


7. Doddington Hall, Lincoln

Great for: a Christmas evening with the family.

  • 23rd November – 23rd December Weds- Sun.

  • £15 adults, £8.50 child. Family tickets available.

A delightful Elizabethan Hall with a wonderfully warm atmosphere. A family home, you’ll be bowled over by the beauty of the Hall this Christmas.

The theme for this year is ‘Christmas on the Riverbank’ or ‘bringing the outdoors in’.

Enjoy the splendour of the Hall and marvel at the handmade decorations made from material grown or produced on the estate.
Guided twilight tours are also available Weds – Fri evenings.

Visit the café, coffee shop, restaurant, gift shop and magical Bauble Barn!

Marvel at this year's decorations. Photo credit Doddington Hall / Instinctive Photography https://we.tl/b-WascBkHNqf


8. Ightham Mote, Kent

Great for: a Twixmas day out.

  • 26th November – 8th January

  • From £11 adult. Child and family tickets available.

Come and enjoy a Tudor Christmas in this beautiful, atmospheric 14th-century moated manor house.

The ground floor and library are decorated for a New England Christmas (that the last and late private owner, Charles Robinson would have appreciated).

Enjoy the café selling delicious festive food and Carols in the Courtyard throughout the festive season.

Visit the mini-market selling local produce, on 26th-27th November.


These are our top picks for historic house visits this Christmas.


Let us know if you decide on any of them! Or if you find another, drop us a line.

And if you’re looking for family Christmas presents to share, have a look at our range for inspiration.

We’re pretty sure your festive spirit will be kindled!