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Festive fun at National Trust places in Bucks

Waddesdon Christmas market - Chris Lacey

According to George Goodwin, author of Christmas Traditions: ‘In the words of Charles Dickens: ‘There is magic in the very name of Christmas’ and for many centuries Christmas has transformed the darkest days of the year to its most special time.’

Adding to this year's Christmas excitement, you’ll find loads of festive fun happening at National Trust sites across Wycombe and the wider Buckinghamshire area now and into the New Year.

So, if you’re looking for somewhere special to escape the high street crowds this Christmas, why not lose yourself in stunning landscapes and charming manor houses? Read on for our pick of the best National Trust events this winter…


A 1940s Christmas

Hughenden is set for a traditional 1940s Christmas with handmade decorations, real trees and sparkling lights inspired by the make-do-and-mend world of wartime Britain.

The theme is inspired by Hughenden’s ‘Hillside’ exhibition (new this year in newly opened rooms of the Manor) which explores the top-secret map-making work that was carried out when Hughenden was requisitioned by the Air Ministry in 1941. Staff and volunteers have crafted wonderful decorations in a 1940s style with paper chains and pom-poms, lametta and rag wreaths. Re-purposing and re-using materials has been the order of the day, as it would have been during the war.

When: Fri 29 Nov - Sun 5 Jan 2020. Grounds open 10-4pm, house open 11-3pm.

Note: Entry to the Manor is by timed ticket only on school holiday weekends, available from the Welcome Kiosk on arrival. Tickets are limited so please arrive in the morning to avoid disappointment. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Scottie's Christmas Adventure

Families can follow the trail of Sergeant Hadfield's little Scottie dog around the pleasure winter gardens.

When: Fri 29 Nov – Mon 23 Dec.
Cost: £3 per child, includes a small gift.

Santa's Grotto

Father Christmas will be in his 1940s inspired grotto on Saturdays and Sundays throughout December!

Book your space online.

When: 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22 December.
Cost: £9 per child, including a small gift (includes babies/toddlers).
Stowe - Christmas - John Millar


12 Days of Christmas

Stowe’s Christmas is themed around the Georgian Christmases of the eighteenth century, when the lead up to the twelfth night’s celebratory feast day was an exciting journey of anticipation.

Visitors will tour 11 Christmas installations around the garden co-created by artist duo Mossy Crow and community groups. The artworks are inspired by Christmas traditions such as carols, family, games, gifts and panto and will manifest in unique, strange and wonderful interpretations of wreaths and kissing boughs.

Visitors finish their journey at the Temple of Concord and Victory where the table is set for a magnificent twelfth night feast. There’s all the drama of the occasion with a sumptuous feasting table, hundreds of lights, elaborate decorations created from garden foliage and a twelfth night king and queen. Visitors will be able to pose as the king and queen in their elaborate costumes for a photo.

When: 30 November – 4 January (closed 24 and 25 Dec).
Cost: Normal admissions apply.

Christmas shopping season

Stowe is once again opening up its historic parlour rooms to host a parade of local stallholders selling their traditional and handmade products. Browsing the cosy rooms at the New Inn followed by a stroll to take in the magnificent views of the landscape gardens and a hot cuppa in the café sure beats the commercial clamour of the high street or solitary clicking online for Christmas gifts.

Carols in the courtyard on weekends in December.

Find out more on the National Trust website.

When: 18 November – 22 December.


Musical Christmas

No one does Christmas quite like Waddesdon. This year, you can step into a world of festive, musical splendour, as Waddesdon is transformed, inside and out.

Waddesdon has many connections to the world of music, and this Christmas visitors will be welcomed by the smell of pine and the sound of classic carols, as they step into decorated rooms inspired by traditional tunes and memorable Christmas hits.

Outside, the gardens will be illuminated with sparkling lights and colour, as Waddesdon’s longest ever Winter Light Trail fills the grounds. Beneath coloured tree canopies and bushes draped in sparkle, there are playful light features such as floodlit disco balls and a cascading river of light. The Manor’s façade will come to life, with coloured lights dancing in time to much-loved Christmas classics, illuminating the building’s distinctive architectural features and roofline.

Booking required. Normal admission applies.

Learn more about Christmas at Waddesdon.

When: Sat 16 November – Sun 5 January (2020). 11am-6pm, Wed-Sun.

Christmas Fair

Lasting longer than ever before, Waddesdon’s spectacular Christmas Fair, with over 80 wooden chalets, is a shopping experience not to be missed. Artisan producers, makers and craftsmen will offer the very finest and, in many cases unique, gifts.

Learn more about Christmas at Waddesdon.

When: Sat 16 November – Sun 22 December. 11am-6pm, Wed-Sun.
Hughenden - Christmas tree - Hugh Mothersole


Family Festivities Christmas trail

There’s a festive trail at Cliveden, inspired by stories of Astor family Christmases on the estate. The trail runs from 30 November to 23 December, on Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays only. 

Meet at the Info Centre to collect a trail map.

When: weekends in December, plus 20-24 December.
Cost: £5 per trail, normal admission to the estate applies.

Wreath making

Create a beautiful wreath for your home. Book your place on the National Trust site.

When: Tue 3, Wed 13, Mon 16 and Tue 17 December, 10am-1pm.
Cost: £45, with refreshments and materials included.


You can share your National Trust Christmas traditions with us on Instagram using #southeastnt @southeastnt @wycombedc.