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National Trust’s Basildon Park transformed into Woodland Wonderland

IF you fancy some magical Christmas sparkle, be dazzled by beautiful Basildon Park where they have gone with a theme of The Wind in the Willows – incidentally, author Kenneth Grahame lived just down the road at Pangbourne in Church Cottage and met there with E H Shepard, who was probably inspired by the Pangbourne countryside to create the illustrations he drew for the re-print of the classic novel.

Festive decorations in the Dining Room at Basildon Park
Festive decorations in the Dining Room at Basildon Park

From now until Friday, January 5, inspired by the timeless tale of woodland animals messing about on the river, Basildon Park manor house has been transformed into a Christmas woodland wonderland. Beautifully decorated trees, garlands and twinkling fairy lights set the scene for the story to unfold.

The magical theme extends out into the garden where charming woodland creatures frolic among whimsical decorations.

For energy-filled children, helping to keep Mr Toad out of trouble on the active festive trail around the garden will hopefully do the same for them!


The exterior of the Gerogian mansion at Basildon Park
The exterior of the Gerogian mansion at Basildon Park

There are more National Trust properties offering Christmas themes within easy distance of Newbury too, including:

From Saturday, November 25, Greys Court near Henley-on-Thames offers A Christmas Memory, until Thursday, January 5.

Greys Court has always been a place of warmth and welcome and this Christmas it is brimming with cherished Christmas memories. The house and estate are adorned with beautifully decorated trees, twinkling fairy lights and the magic of the season. Embodying the spirit of Christmas past, cosy nostalgia runs through the gift-wrapped presents, traditional toys in the nursery and Lady Brunner’s gingerbread baking and available to taste in the kitchen.

There’s a Christmas trail for children around the garden and candelight tours for grown-ups to explore Greys Court after dark with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.


On Sunday, November 26, at Buscot and Coleshill Estates, near Faringdon in West Oxfordshire offers a makers market. At Coleshill, home of the Heritage and Rural Skills centre, explore this makers market with artisan gifts from craft course providers, those who have taken courses and local craftspeople. There are lots of Christmassy childrens activities on the day.


Christmas courses to book at the Heritage and Rural Skills Centre include:

25 November - Introduction to blacksmithing – Christmas edition

3 December Festive wreath making course


It’s Total Christmas at Nuffield Place, near Henley-on-Thames, on Saturday, December 2 with Driving home for Christmas on Saturdays and Sundays December 2-17, then 20 – 23 and 27-31, 11am-4pm

Open at Christmas for the first time, Nuffield Place will be beautifully decked with trees, garlands, fairy lights and lots of car-inspired decorations. Home to William Morris, Lord Nuffield, founder of Morris Motors – not the Arts and Crafts William Morris - the house guides share stories of the house and family as you wander around the decorated house.


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