The trees are going up, lights are being switched on and presents are being wrapped, all signs that 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.
Christmas at The Argory
See historic houses decorated in the style of Christmases gone by, stroll through frosty winter gardens, discover festive crafts to try at home, and tuck into delicious seasonal treats.
For little ones there will also be a special Percy the Park Keeper winter trail at five National Trust places, 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.
Historic houses dressed for Christmas
Step inside Castle Ward and experience the Mansion house dressed for an evocative eighteenth-century Christmas. Experience the rooms dressed for Christmas just as the Georgians did with atmospheric lighting, halls wreathed in traditional colourful garlands, and the dining table filled with festive fayre. Then descend the servants’ stairs to the basement where you will find the preparations for Christmas well under way.
Unwrap a classic Christmas with festive experiences at The Argory as you step back in time to a Christmas of yesteryear. See the house dressed for a traditional Christmas. Trees, trinkets and garlands will decorate the rooms and the dining room table will be set for a celebratory festive feast. Experience what life was like for the MacGeough Bond family and their servants as they prepare for the festive period in the 1800’s.
At Mount Stewart, the fire will be lit as the house prepares for the festive season. Step back in time and bask in the gentle glow of the twinkling lights on the traditional Christmas tree as you walk around the house accompanied by the gentle sound of carols. Afterwards, enjoy a festive mince pie in the tea-room and be sure to stop off at the shop for some sustainable Christmas gifts and décor.
Percy the Park Keeper winter trail
Running from 4 December at Florence Court, The Argory, Mount Stewart, Castle Ward and Rowallane Garden, the self-led trail will invite families to join Percy’s team as he races to get the gardens and the animals that call it home ready for winter.
© Nick Butterworth 2021
After reading Percy’s handwritten note and donning his famous hat families will follow clues, find Percy’s missing equipment, and enjoy activities and games as they complete the trail.
Highlights of the winter wander include helping to keep things tidy for when the springtime shoots appear, building dens, weather watching and surveying to find out which animals call the grounds their home.
At the end of the trail families can celebrate with a photo-op with Percy and they’ll get a special prize too. £2 per trail, normal admission applies.
Please check opening times before visiting at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ni