National Trust Christmas: Decorated houses, frosty gardens and Percy the Park Keeper activity trail in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire
The National Trust is getting into the festive spirit with 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 seasonal treats.
For little ones there is also be a special Percy the Park Keeper winter trail at many National Trust places, so they can enjoy the great outdoors inspired by some of Nick Butterworth’s most beloved characters.
The self-led trail will invite families to join Percy’s team as he races to get the park and its animals ready for winter.
After reading Percy’s handwritten note and donning his famous hat, families will follow clues to help find Percy’s equipment and enjoy activities and games as they complete the trail.
At the end of the trail families can celebrate with a photo-op with Percy and they’ll take home a prize too.
Trail price is £2, plus normal admission.
Take your pick of the National Trust places to visit across the area:
Hughenden (near High Wycombe)
Hughenden is celebrating the nature, beauty and history of the gardens at Hughenden this Christmas, from their creation in the 1860s by Mary Anne Disraeli to the present day care of Hughenden’s garden team. The garden hall, with its beautiful views of the formal gardens features the showpiece of the Christmas theme; a glittering red blue and gold homage to Disraeli’s beloved peacocks who roamed the estate.
Saturday, November 20 to Monday, January 2, 10am-4pm, last entry 3.30pm. House 11am-3pm, last entry 2.15pm. Numbers in the house are limited for safety, places available on a first come, first serve basis on the day only.
Percy the Park Keeper’s winter wander: Saturday, December 4 to Monday, January 3, from 10am-3.30pm. Pick up your trail sheet from visitor reception when you arrive. Suitable for children aged 3-8 years.
Cliveden (near Maidenhead)
Enjoy frosty walks in the 400 acres of gardens, woodland and riverside at Cliveden.
Percy the Park Keeper’s winter wander: Saturday, December 4 to Thursday, December 23. Meet by the Information Centre to collect a trail map.
Basildon Park (near Reading)
This year, Basildon Park is inviting the woodland into the house and bringing lights to the wintry woodland. Inside the house, a forest of Christmas trees awaits to delight the senses with the sounds of woodland animals, the smell of pine, orange and cinnamon and the gentle caress of cool, silky fir branches.
Percy the Park Keeper’s winter wander: Saturday, December 4 to Monday, January 3, 10am-4pm
The Vyne (near Basingstoke)
The mansion is luxuriously decorated for a Victorian Christmas this year. Ground floor rooms are filled with glittering Christmas trees and traditional decorations. An indoors family trail takes children on an adventure back in time. Enjoy wintery walks with beautiful views across fields, woods and wetlands, and warming mulled wine and mince pies in the café. November 27 to January 2 (closed 24 & 25 December)
Percy the Park Keeper’s winter wander: Saturday, December 4 to Monday, January 3.
Greys Court (near Henley-on-Thames)
Celebrating a family Christmas this year with Brunner family traditions, Christmas dinner on the dining table and handmade decorations. With the scent of real fir trees and music playing throughout the house, there'll be a nostalgic. There are candlelit tours to book on selected evenings in December for a cosy, festive experience in the house at Greys Court. If you're lucky on your visit, you may be able to sample some of Lady Brunner's gingerbread, lovingly baked to her recipe by the volunteers.
For more information on all National Trust sites visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk