Festive fun with the National Trust in Surrey and Sussex this Christmas

The nights are drawing in, it’s getting colder, and Christmas isn’t far away. It’s time to get into the festive spirit – and there’s no better way than visiting National Trust places all decked out for the season.

See historic houses decorated in the style of Christmases gone by, stroll through frosty winter gardens, discover festive crafts and tuck into delicious seasonal treats. If you’re lucky you might even spot Father Christmas on one of his annual visits.

For little ones there will also be a special Percy the Park Keeper winter trail at six National Trust places in Surrey and Sussex, so they can enjoy the great outdoors inspired by some of Nick Butterworth’s most beloved characters.

After all that, warm yourself with the knowledge that each festive day out supports the National Trust’s work as a charity looking after special places for future generations to enjoy.

See below for the National Trust’s pick of the best places and events to help you celebrate the season. More information at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/surrey and www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sussex

Surrey


 

Polesden Lacey, Surrey

27 November to 23 December and Boxing Day

The house has fallen under an enchanted evergreen spell this Christmas. See the house at Polesden Lacey dressed for Christmas with each room transformed by the beauty of the festive season. Woodland animals have taken over the festive preparations and have transformed Mrs Greville’s Edwardian party house. As you wander through the rooms see what animals you can spot along the way.

The magic continues outdoors where an enchanted wood is waiting to be discovered. Two elves need help to find Father Christmas and the lost presents. Can you help?

Or take part in Percy the Park Keeper’s winter wander trail through the gardens.

  • Finding Father Christmas, in association with The Visitor Enhance Experience and The Cat’s Grin Theatre Company, £10 per child, including members. Advance booking essential.
  • Decorated house and Percy the Park Keeper trail – normal admission charges apply, no need to book.

 

Hatchlands Park

4 December to 3 January (closed 24 & 25 Dec)

There’s festive family fun in the great outdoors this Christmas at Hatchlands Park. Follow Percy the Park Keeper’s winter wander trail in the beautiful parkland. The house is decorated for a traditional family Christmas, while the Kitchen Café in the courtyard is open for festive treats and hot chocolate.
Normal admission applies

 

Claremont Landscape Garden

4 December to 3 January (closed 24 & 25 Dec)

Beautiful winter vistas and sparkling lights make Claremont a very special place to visit. This year we’re inviting you embark on Percy the Park Keeper’s winter wander trail. Join in the fun with Percy and his animal friends and give nature a helping hand.

Normal admission applies.

 

Witley and Milford Commons

Hunt for your own Scots pine tree to cut and take home for Christmas and help us with our important heathland conservation work.

Pick your perfect pine and cut your own Christmas tree for the festive season at Witley & Milford Commons. Scots Pine is beautifully scented, non-prickly and has excellent needle retention, making these wild native trees an environmentally friendly alternative to the usual farmed Christmas trees.

Bring the walking boots, a saw and gloves to cut your own tree.

£35 includes one tree, two hot drinks and parking, advanced booking essential.

 

Winkworth Arboretum

4 December to 3 January (closed 24 & 25 Dec)

Tis the season for crisp winter walks, days out with the family, festive decorations and warming drinks. Winkworth’s wintry woodland is the perfect spot for a quiet walk in the crisp, clean air.

Normal admission applies.

 

River Wey Navigations

Head out, in good company, on a walk alongside the beautiful River Wey on 5 December. This 5 mile guided walk will take you around the Chantries in Guildford, moving on to Shalford.

 

Box Hill

Box Hill is the perfect place for a festive family walk. Enjoy the uplifting views, then snuggle up in the cosy café with coffee and a mince pie. The Natural Play Trail is a two-mile level walk and a great chance to play in the woods. There are lots of trees and structures to climb on.

Open access countryside, small charge for parking

Hindhead Commons and the Devil’s Punch Bowl  

With so much wide open space, the Devil’s Punch Bowl is a great place for a family walk over the festive season. Experience true wildness on a hilly walk through the centre of the Punch Bowl. Or bring the scooters and the dog and saunter along to the viewpoint and back. There are cakes and hot chocolates back at the cafe.

Open access countryside, small charge for parking

 

Sussex

 

Petworth House and Park

Festive traditions through time
27 November to 3 January (closed 24 & 25 Dec)

Explore Christmas traditions through the ages and into the future, as you wander through rooms decorated with festive sparkle and costumes crafted from winter greenery.

In the Pleasure Gardens you’ll find performances of poetry, spoken word and carols (selected dates). Little ones can set off on our new Percy the Park Keeper activity trail (4 Dec – 3 Jan), and there are festive workshops too, from sustainable card, gift wrap and tag-making, to cake decorations and wreaths.

Normal admission applies

Nymans Christmas Spirit

4 December to 3 January (closed 24 & 25 Dec)
This Christmas, there are festive delights indoors and out at Nymans. In the house, rooms are richly decorated with sumptuous Christmas trees and sparkling lights, including some of the Messel family’s original Christmas decorations (house open and dressed for Christmas from 19 November). Around the gardens more Christmas trees abound, each decorated to reflect a unique aspect of Nymans’ spirit, past and present.

Families can join Percy the Park Keeper on a winter wander trail, not forgetting to stop off at the Play Glade to see Percy’s shed and enjoy some festive games.  From Boxing Day, you can meet Percy in person, in and around the Nymans gardens. Join Percy for stories and songs, in his shed or as he works in the garden – he may even ask you to help him with his winter jobs.

Dogs can also join in with the festive fun during November, December and January when they’ll be greeted with a special treat at the welcome hub.

Normal admission applies, plus £2 per Percy the Park Keeper trail, which runs 4 Dec – 3 Jan.

Meet Percy in person from 26 Dec – 3 Jan, 10.30am – 2pm daily. Normal admission applies

Standen

20 November to 2 Jan 2022 (closed 24 & 25 Dec)

This atmospheric house lends itself beautifully to Christmas. This year, Standen invites you to see how the Beale family celebrated Christmas in their country home. Visit the Enchanting Nature Christmas tree in the Courtyard which is inspired by William Morris’ designs and will get you in the festive spirit.

Enjoy twilight openings when you can see the rooms lit for a Christmas celebration and afterwards listen to a local choir singing in the courtyard. Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a visit to see Santa and this year families can visit Santa’s woodland grotto and enjoy a magical Christmas story in the company of the man himself, complete with a small gift for the children and a hot chocolate.

Continue your Christmas adventure outside in the garden and join the Pyjama Thief trail. The cheeky Standen dog has stolen everyone’s pyjamas and hidden them in the garden, help the Beale family find them in time for Christmas Day.

For those looking for Christmas shopping inspiration, The Sussex Guild will be selling handcrafted items at a Christmas Selling Exhibition, daily throughout December.

Normal admission charge plus £3 per Pyjama Thief trail.

Twilight openings till 6pm every weekend from 27 Nov, plus Wed 22 and Thur 23 Dec.

 

Sheffield Park and Garden

4 December to 3 January

The natural beauty of Sheffield Park is a welcome tonic for the colder months. This winter, why not head out on a crisp walk around the garden or parkland followed by a warming takeaway coffee.

 

Little ones will love Percy the Park Keeper’s winter wander trail where they can become Percy’s helper for the day, exploring the garden with tasks, activities, clues and games.

Normal admission charge. Trails are £2 each and include a prize. No booking necessary.