A Polesden Christmas
Polesden Lacey is brilliant to visit at any time of year, but at Christmas the Edwardian country retreat is something else. Here are 10 reasons to visit.
1 – All That Glitters
The gorgeous Edwardian house at Polesden will shine bright like a diamond thanks to the work of contemporary artists Neon. We don’t want to give to much away, but we can say that the inspiration for this year’s All That Glitters theme has come from former owner Mrs Greville’s amazing collection of diamonds, emeralds, rubies and pearls. So expect it to glisten and twinkle like never before. Even the giant Christmas tree would usually take pride of place in the grand entrance foyer has been reimagined – and there’s a new spin on this decorative tradition.
The house will be open daily from Fri 15 Nov to Sun 5 Jan (except Christmas eve and Christmas day).
2 – Visit Father Christmas
Christmas isn’t Christmas without a visit to the jolly ole man in red. And what a magical place to meet Father Christmas and his busy elves – in the bejewelled grotto in the grounds of Polesden Lacey. There will be presents of course (for children who have been good!)
Santa will be at Polesden Lacey on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 29 Nov until 23 Dec. The cost is £15 per person, and booking is a must.
3 – Take a ride in a carriage
If you planning on popping the question this Christmas, the festive carriage rides sound like the most glorious of places to do it. With beautiful reindeers to clip clop you around the estate it’ll be just like stepping into a fairy tale. (Shh! They’re actually horses pretending to be reindeers, but don’t say anything because they’re very sensitive about it!) Even if you’re not feeling the romance, the carriage rides will be a magical experience. Just remember to wrap up warm.
The horses are at Polesden on Sat 7, Sun 8, Fri 13, Sat 14, Sun 15, Fri 20, Sat 21, Sun 22, Mon 22 and Tues 23 Dec. The cost is £4 per person.
4 – Enjoy a festive High Tea
Who’s for tea? Reindeer gingerbread, Viennese tarts, scones with jam and cream, dainty Victorian sandwich fingers and diamond-shaped brownies dusted in gold… all served with tea or coffee. Sign me up right now.
The Festive High Tea weekdays only from Mon 2 until Fri 13 Dec, at 3.30pm. The cost is £18 adults, £9 children.
5 – Shop the Christmas market
Soak up the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas at this special Artisan Fair. Charming wooden chalets will line New Lime Avenue for a truly unique shopping experience where you’ll find a variety of high-quality, unique gifts, decorations, crafts and festive foods. It’s not a huge market, but it’s great quality.
The market is open from Fri 15 Nov – Sun 17 Nov & Fri 22 Nov – Sun 1 Dec.
6 – Get crafty
Indulge your creative side – and make a beautiful gifts for family and friends – at the Christmas craft workshops. There’s plenty to chose from, including willow weaving (make a majestic stag), vintage bauble making jewellery making and Christmas card making. There are also floral workshops – so you can create a stunning centrepiece for your Christmas day table – and glass-making workshops where you’ll create a beautiful glass snowflake.
The craft workshops are on selected dates throughout November and December. Click here for workshop dates and times.
7 – Make a festive wreath
Join the Polesden rangers the festive yurt to make a Christmas wreath from the natural foliage around Polesden Lacey and the Ranmore Estate. Each workshop lasts 2 hours, with no more than 20 people and includes a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie. Brilliant!
Wreath-making workshops are on Tues 3, Fri 6, Tues 10, Fri 13 and Tues 17 Dec, at 10.15am or 1.30pm. booking is essential, by telephone only – 01372 452048. Cost is £35 per person. Places are selling out fast, so be quick!
8 – Fun for kids
Christmas is all about the kids, but sometimes you need to get them outside into the fresh air to burn off a bit of energy and wear them out. And that’s where the new magical winter trail comes in. The sparkle of the house spills out into nature so they’ll love this Christmas walk.
9 – Boxing Day walk
Burn off your Christmas lunch with an invigorating walk across the 1,400 acre estate. Either go it along following one of the four way-marked paths in varying lengths from 1.4 to 4 miles (maps are available at the visitor reception), or join the rangers for a guided walk across Ranmore Common.
The cost of the guided walk is £5 adults. Call 01372 452048 to book.
10 – Board games at Twixmas
Forget Monopoly, it’s all about Polesdenopoly. It’s a giant boardgame where you get to buy up your favourite parts of the estate. Don’t worry if you don’t quite make it on Boxing Day – it’s on from Dec 26 to 5 Jan. Cost is £5 for a group of five players.
Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham, near Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6BD. nationaltrust.org.uk
(Normal admission applies. Entry is free for National Trust members.)