Trust in tradition
PUBLISHED: 05:28 08 December 2014
©National Trust Images/Adrian Judd
Christmas traditions are part and parcel of what makes the festive season so special, from decorating the family tree to nibbling on home-made mince pies. The National Trust cares for some of Norfolk’s most special places, all perfect spots to delight in old family traditions or even start some new ones.
Blickling Hall is an extra special place to visit during the build up to Christmas, when the Jacobean mansion and its ornate, formal grounds are transformed into a magical festive world with beautiful decorations, twinkling lights, Christmas carols, story-telling, craft stalls, mulled wine and a visit from Father Christmas and his elves. You may even spot a real reindeer too.
A Blickling Christmas starts when you arrive to see the long, majestic driveway lit by lines of Christmas trees, sparkling with decorative lights. A stroll up this atmospheric avenue will get you in the mood for a day of festive cheer. On the weekends of December 6-7 and 13-14, there will be a traditional Christmas market in the courtyard with an array of exclusive gift ideas, mostly produced by local crafts-people. On the final weekend before Christmas, December 20-21, a marquee will be packed with family entertainment, including story-telling, puppet shows and a re-enactment of the famous Christmas truce of the First World War.
You can also chat to characters from the past, as the Diggers re-enactment group recreates a lifelike experience of how Blickling’s previous residents would have celebrated the yuletide. The garden and park will also have their own decorative surprises.
A Blickling Christmas is from 11am-5pm, weekends in December until Christmas. Free entry to the Christmas Courtyard, shop and restaurant, while normal admission applies to house and gardens.
Also not to be missed, Blickling by Candlelight gives a rare chance to soak up the Christmas atmosphere in the beautifully decorated house, open in the evening for two nights only on Thursdays, December 11 and 18, at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm. The Blickling Singers, Windmill Handbell Ringers and Roddy with his Hurdy-Gurdys will provide entertainment, while mulled wine and mince pies give the taste of Christmas and the shop will be open. Booking is essential, adults £20, children £10 (aged five to 16 years).
Felbrigg Hall’s popular 1940s Christmas returns this year, from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 December, 11am to 2.30pm. The ground floor rooms of the hall will be decorated to celebrate a 1940s Christmas, with the wartime era brought to life with the help of costumed volunteers and the Civil Defenders re-enactment group.
Carols in the Courtyard follows on Sunday, December 14, starting 3pm. Join in with Felbrigg’s annual carol service with the Cromer and Sheringham Brass Band out in the Stable Courtyard. Free event, no booking required.
Oxburgh Hall is also hosting a Christmas Choir on Sunday, December 14. Stroll around the grounds and drop into the saloon to hear Anglian Accents, a female choral group from Mildenhall. Performances start at 11.30am, 12.45pm and 2pm, lasting 45 minutes each.
Children can meet Father Christmas at Oxburgh’s magical grotto on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 December, 11am – 3.30pm, £5 per child, with a toy to take home from every visit.
And the Christmas Tree Festival, on Friday 19, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 December, will see Oxburgh decorated for Christmas with trees based on different theme.
Sheringham Park has a Christmas Trail and Craft on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7, December, 11am-3pm. Get into the Christmas spirit by following a seasonal trail to the festive learning centre where you will be provided with materials to make a wreath or yule log to take away; £5 per craft made.
And once all the Christmas indulgence is over, head back to Sheringham Park for a Post Christmas Walk, Saturday, December 27, 11am-1pm around the park with a hot drink and mince pies. Ability to walk up to five miles required; £5.50 adults, £2.75 children.
Trust in Christmas
For more information of these events or for other ideas for spending a traditional Christmas day out with the National Trust, see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/eastofengland
Normal admission applies unless otherwise stated. Bookings for any event can be made online or by calling 0844 249 1895.