Festive fun with the National Trust in Kent and East Sussex this Christmas

My mum buys us National Trust Membership for Christmas each year

Living in Sevenoaks we are lucky to be surrounded by lovely National Trust properties which we like to make the most of all year round. Each year National Trust seems to make more and more of an effort at Christmas, here is a full round up of the festive goings on at each National Trust property.

Chartwell, Kent

21 Nov-23 Dec, 26 Dec-5 Jan

There’s something for all the family at Chartwell this Christmas. The festive season kicks off with an annual Christmas market on for four days again this year from 21-24 November. With so many stalls to choose from, you can take your pick of local products such as chocolate, candles and knitwear to get ahead of your Christmas shopping. The house, which is open on weekends between 7-22 December, is dressed for a 1930’s Christmas with beautiful decorations and two giant Christmas trees. For the little ones there’s a trail in the house at weekends and outdoors a Twelve Days of Christmas trail around the garden available daily. Don’t forget to bring your wellies and check out the new treehouse in the woods. Keep energy levels up at the Langmere Café with festive lunches between Wednesday 4 and Friday 20 December between Tuesdays and Fridays.

Price: Normal admission applies. Trail and lunches priced separately


Knole, Kent

30 Nov-23 Dec, 26 Dec-5 Jan

The magnificent Great Hall will be decorated for Christmas showing it in all its glory with a fire roaring in the grate and carol singing on Saturday afternoons from 30 Nov-21 Dec. There will also be plenty of chances to get creative at a Christmas workshop of your choice. Learn Christmas calligraphy, make your own wreath or garland or create a paper-cut Christmas decoration. The Tiger Who Came to Tea is visiting Knole from 9 November and will be there throughout the Christmas period taking up residence in the Orangery. There are plenty of Tiger-themed activities to keep the little ones busy including dressing up, storytelling and a Tiger trail around the grounds with a prize at the end – here is our review of The Tiger Who Came to Tea . Fill up on a festive lunch with family and friends, served in the cosy Brewhouse Café between Tuesday 3 to Wednesday 18 December from Tuesdays to Fridays. Don’t forget any last minute gifts in the shops, including local items and plenty of books for someone special and a pop-up shop for plenty of extra choice.

Price: Normal admission applies. Workshops, trail and lunches all priced separately


Ightham Mote, Kent

30 Nov-23 Dec, 26 Dec-5 Jan

Christmas at Ightham Mote gets off to a grand start with their annual festive opening weekend on 30 Nov and 1 December. There will be a Christmas mini-market, where a range of local producers will be selling their wares and Father Christmas is rumoured to be making a visit along with someone special for your canine friends – Santa Paws! Craft activities and festive music will keep everyone entertained throughout the day. For the perfect traditional experience, the ground floor of the house will be unveiled in all its Christmas glory and will be open throughout December. Festive workshops ranging from table decorations to wreath making take place in early December, ensuring you are prepped and ready for the big day. There’s also a Victorian Christmas toys family trail in the garden and crafts in house daily. Wrap up your visit with a warm drink in the Mote café and catch some carol singing to really get in the festive spirit.

Price: Normal admission applies. Workshops, trail and lunches priced separately


Ightham Moye National Trust Christmas

Ightham Mote at Christmas – Photo Credit National Trust

Scotney Castle, Kent

23 Nov-23 Dec, 26 Dec-5 Jan

A visit to Scotney Castle this Christmas is bound to get everyone in the mood for the festive season. The house is open and decorated for a traditional Victorian Christmas Eve with lights sparkling in the low light and the atmosphere of anticipation surrounding you. On selected dates, Father Christmas will be hosting storytelling and meet and greet sessions in the house for a sprinkle of extra magic. Children can take part in the Noah’s Ark trail in the garden to get a burst of fresh air or have a play in the natural play area. Create something beautiful to adorn your front door on a wreath making workshops on 27 and 30 November.

Between 25 November and 20 December, from Monday to Friday, let someone else do the cooking and treat yourself to a traditional festive lunch in the cosy tearoom. Avoid the busy high street and get all the Christmas goodies you need in the shop once you’ve polished off lunch. 

Price: Normal admission applies. Trail, Father Christmas and lunches all priced separately


Sissinghurst Castle, Kent

The annual festive market takes place on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 November. With plenty of local food, drink, crafts and produce available there will be lots of ideas for special gifts, plus treats for all the family. There’ll also be live entertainment on both days. Throughout December festive lunches are available in the Granary Restaurant using fresh produce from the vegetable garden and wreath making workshops are taking place on 8 and 14 December.

For anyone wanting to get away from the Christmas chaos, the International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY) Sissinghurst Award exhibition will be on in the Oast House exhibition space until 2 January. Immerse yourself in images of Sissinghurst submitted to this iconic award and cast your mind back to warmer days earlier in the year.

Price: Normal admission applies. Festive market entry free, lunches bookable on 01580 710704


Bodiam Castle, East Sussex

30 Nov-23 Dec, 26 Dec-5 Jan

Visit Father Christmas every weekend from 30 Nov to 22 December, or Monday 23 December, and enjoy festive storytelling in one of the castle towers. For some fresh air, children can take part in a festive family trail around the castle and grounds. Once you’ve built up an appetite, festive afternoon teas are available in the Wharf tearoom each weekend in December.

The British Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards exhibition is still on in the castle until 5 January 2020 for some respite from the Christmas checklists.

Price: Normal admission applies. Trail and afternoon tea all priced separately


Scotney Castle National Trust Christmas

Scotney Castle at Christmas – Photo Credit National Trust

Bateman’s, East Sussex

A ‘Just So’ Christmas

30 Nov-23 Dec, 26 Dec-5 Jan

This Christmas the ‘Just So’ stories weave their magic around the house at Bateman’s. Discover handmade decorations in opulent fabrics, with colours inspired by Kipling’s time in India, and floral displays based on the ‘Just So’ stories. A glowing fire and majestic tree welcome you and add to the warmth and charm of this family home. For some fresh air, head out into the garden on a family trail. Find out facts about how the animals got their features. Depending on your appetite, refuel with some festive sweet treats or a traditional roast in the Mulberry tearoom.

Price: Normal admission applies. Trail priced separately


Lamb House, East Sussex

29 Nov-9 Dec (Fri-Mon only)

This year discover Christmas at ‘Mallards’, Lamb House’s fictional alter-ego from E. F. Benson’s book ‘Mapp and Lucia’. Delight your imagination with Mapp’s festive, and sometimes stolen, recipes in the Dining Room. See the Tilling Art Society’s Winter Exhibition and discover who has sent Christmas cards… Or for something different, join a candlelit ghost tour on 30 November or 7 December to find out all about the spooky stories of Lamb House, with a festive treat at the end.

Price: Normal admission applies. 


Emmetts Garden, Kent

30-23 Dec, 26 Dec-5 Jan

Get away from the hustle and bustle of the festive season and enjoy some family time on the Emmetts Magical Christmas Fairy trail. Children can run off some energy exploring the garden looking for the fairy doors and decorated trees. Finish up at the café for a warming hot chocolate treat.

Price: Normal admission applies. Trail priced separately


Quebec House, Kent

30 Nov-16 Dec, weekends only

Come and see the house decorated with natural greenery as it would have been in the Georgian era. Join in the Georgian fun and play Hunt the Slipper around the house or try one of the free tastings for some truly festive flavours. Write a festive message using the special ink and quill set or wrap cold fingers around a cup of Mrs Wolfe’s special hot chocolate.

Price: Normal admission applies.


I hope this has given you some ideas for some lovely Christmas days out – for some more ideas check out my post Festive Experiences in and Around Sevenoaks

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One Response

  1. Yaya December 3, 2019

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