Christmas with The National Trust

Karen Neville

Set a date to come together with family and friends for a Christmassy catch-up at a visit to a National Trust site in Sussex

Across Sussex, there’s a real variety of Christmas experiences for festive family days this year. There’s spectacle and sparkle for those ‘wow’ moments and selfies. Opulent decorated houses to get glamour-lovers in the mood for the party season. And nostalgic family trails in the great outdoors, themed on popular children’s books, to rekindle the magic of Christmas.

Zara Luxford, National Trust General Manager for Nymans and Standen said: “Christmas at the National Trust is always magical but this year we’ve got more decorations, trails and events than ever before. We can’t wait to see families and friends coming together, making memories, and experiencing the festive atmosphere at the places the National Trust cares for.”

Here’s a roundup of some of the National Trust’s best Christmas events across Sussex

The sumptuous one

A Joyful Family Christmas at Standen

November 19th to January 3rd (exc 24th & 25th)

Discover a beautifully decorated family home ready for a joyful Christmas, filled with sparkling lights and sumptuous trees, music and make believe. Outside, the Courtyard Christmas tree is lit with hundreds of twinkling lights, decorated by Same Sky community artists with local schoolchildren and inspired by William Morris. Don’t miss the twilight openings, carols round the tree and fun trail for all the family. Book ahead for Woodland Santa’s workshop at the top of the garden.

The magical one

Beatrix Potter’s Christmas Tale at Nymans

November 26th to January 3rd (exc 24th & 25th)

Beatrix Potter’s festive tale The Tailor of Gloucester comes to the garden at Nymans, with installations around the garden. Step inside the gallery and discover an exhibition for all the family with some of Beatrix Potter’s original illustrations and Christmas cards. The house is richly decorated with sumptuous Christmas trees, sparkling lights and story scenes. There’s even a cosy storybook corner, puzzles and dressing up for the little ones. Enjoy festive treats in the café after a winter’s day out.

Image: National Trust / Laurence Perry
The tree-mendous one

Petworth’s Tree-mendous Christmas

November 26th to January 2nd (exc 24th & 25th)

Magnificently decorated trees fill the mansion at Petworth this Christmas. Highlights include the Marble Hall, transformed into an enchanted winter forest scene with sparkling lights and woodland creatures – look out for deer crafted from winter greenery, and tiny mice. In the chapel you can add a Christmas wish to a tree. Weekend choirs, late evening openings, and a Christmas market offer more moments to enjoy the sparkle at Petworth.

Image: National Trust / John Miller
The breath of fresh air

Sheffield Park and Garden

November 26th to January 1st (exc 24th and 25th)

Sheffield Park and Garden is a breath of fresh air at Christmas time. Take a break from the hectic high street and spend an atmospheric afternoon recharging yourself in this stunning landscape garden. Find inspiration and learn new skills as you follow the Making Trail around the garden featuring traditional Christmassy crafts passed from generation to generation. From needlework to crochet, discover handmade crafts that don’t cost the earth to make at home. Plus look out for the festive photo stops brimming with twinkling lights and cosy Christmas joy – the perfect place for a family photoshoot filled with yuletide cheer.

Image: National Trust / Laurence Perry
The cosy one

Christmas at Bateman’s

November 26th to January 2nd (exc 24th & 25th)

Make memories as you explore the 17th century house with welcoming log fire, illuminated Christmas trees and peacock-inspired decorations. Be dazzled by real trees decorated with twinkly lights and natural foliage, delight in an exhibition of Claire Fletcher’s original watercolour illustrations and get into the festive spirit with live music from local community groups. Music on selected dates, please check website for details.

The handmade one

Christmas at Uppark

November 19th to January 1st (exc 24th & 25th)

Celebrate Christmas at Uppark and see the mansion adorned with natural and handmade decorations. The entrance hall is richly dressed and festively scented with winter greenery, pinecones, citrus fruit and cinnamon. Above and below stairs, each room has its own crafted theme, from music to games, made by local community groups to create a unique and joyful Christmas experience.

Image: National Trust / Chris Lacey
The castle factor

Christmas at Bodiam Castle

December 3rd to January 2nd

Discover Father Christmas’s sleigh in the castle ruins. Jump on and dress up in regal winter costumes for the ultimate festive selfie. Look around the Castle Courtyard for Father Christmas, Mother Christmas or the elves just waiting to say hello and enjoy the magic of Christmas with tales of dragons, knights, and castles in storytelling for families from a cosy tower room. Christmas characters on selected dates. Please check the website for more details.

The literary one

Christmas at Lamb House

November 28th to December 18th (closed on selected dates, check website)

Be transported to New England in 1900 where Henry James, the American author, plays host to his family from New England who have transformed Lamb House for the festive season. Soak up the sights and scents of a traditional home-made Christmas in this stunning Georgian house.