There are plenty of activities on offer to help make your Christmas that extra bit special in these winter wonderland locations. Here are our favourites in Hampshire.
Mottisfont , nr Romsey
A Christmas Carol, 28 November to 3 January, normal admission charge
This winter, Mottisfont brings Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, vividly to life, with dramatic lighting and beautifully designed sets. Figures clothed in exquisite Victorian costumes created from paper by Delicarta help tell the tale around Mottisfont’s historic rooms.
A family trail takes you through the story as it unfolds - help Scrooge count money in the chilly gloom of his counting house, find out what happens to poor Bob Cratchet and his son Tiny Tim, make chains with the ghost of Jacob Marley, and celebrate with a grand party around the giant Christmas tree. Children can also dress as characters from the book, play and make Victorian games.
Upstairs in the gallery you’ll find an exhibition of delightful Christmas-themed prints by famous artists and illustrators, and a display of vintage Christmas cards, whilst weekends feature festive music.
Enjoy a breath of fresh air in Mottisfont’s extensive gardens, where the kids can burn off some energy, before warming up with hot drinks and mince pies beside the wood-burning stove in the café. The shop, open every day, is a tranquil haven filled with hundreds of gifts to suit all pockets and ages.
For more information: 01794 340757 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont
Hinton Ampner, nr Alresford
An Invitation to a Christmas Wedding, 5 – 20 December, 11am – 4pm
Father Christmas – storytelling, reindeer visit and facepainting, 21 & 22 December, 11am – 4pm, £7.50 per child including gift, entry by timed ticket, book on arrival.
Hinton Ampner invites you to join the celebrations for a glittering Victorian Christmas wedding. In the 19th-century, Christmas Day weddings were a popular tradition, with churches across the country holding festive nuptials, amongst them the little church in Hinton Ampner’s gardens.
See the ground floor show rooms transformed into lavish scenes, including a sumptuous wedding breakfast, exquisite clothing and hundreds of flowers.
In the courtyard, decorated with twinkling lights and Christmas trees, you can visit Hinton’s pop-up Victorian sweet shop before setting out on an action-packed festive family reindeer trail. On the first two weekends in December (5,6, 9, 10 December) local artisans’ stalls are also in residence, alongside warming mulled wine, mince pies and freshly roasted chestnuts.
Father’s Christmas’s schedule is jam packed this year, but luckily he’s stopping off at Hinton Ampner on 21 and 22 December to read Christmas stories, and he’s bringing real reindeer with him! Whilst parents enjoy a warming glass of mulled wine, children can pop in to see the great man in his grotto; receive a small gift and enjoy a spot of face painting. Don’t forget to bring your Christmas list!
Carol service, 11 December, 6.15pm, free entry to church
Join us in Hinton Ampner’s historic All Saint’s Church, set in the picturesque gardens, for an annual traditional carol service.
For more information: 01962 771305 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hinton-ampner.
Winchester City Mill
Festive baking at Winchester City Mill, 12 & 19 December, 11am – 3pm
There’s nothing more Christmassy than the aroma of warm spices and baking, so come along to this medieval Mill’s festive baking demonstrations, and find out how its freshly milled flour can be combined with locally sourced Hampshire produce to make delicious treats for you to sample. Buy a bag of fresh wholemeal flour, collect free recipe cards and bake your very own seasonal goodies.
On 19 December, you can also join in the carols at the Mill, accompanied by a jolly brass band playing all your festive favourites! 12 – 3pm.
For more information call 01962 870057 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/winchester-city-mill.