Whether you’re looking to celebrate old traditions, make new memories or simply escape the hustle and bustle of the high street, there are plenty of opportunities to feel festive at National Trust places around the region this winter.
From Christmas fairs and the opportunity to get stuck into some crafts or simply spending time with the family in the great outdoors, creating opportunities to do something a bit different is also the way to create memories and even develop a new family tradition.
When the shops have turned into a nightmare of crowds and bustle, what could be better than taking some time to escape the madness?
When a crisp winter’s day arrives, few things could help clear the mind more than wrapping up warm and venturing outdoors to explore frosty landscapes and spot winter wildlife.
From spectacular landscapes and peaceful parklands to exotic colour with rich scents, the East is rich in great places just waiting to be discovered during the cold winter months.
At Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire, the Winter Garden bursts with life at this time of year. Designed specifically with plants that give winter colour, texture and fragrance, it is a beautiful sight to be enjoyed by winter visitors.
On the winding walk discover bright yellow and red dogwoods and the polished bark of the Tibetan Cherry.
Enjoy the scent of winter flowering honeysuckle floating in the breeze and look out for the Himalayan Silver Birch Grove, with their slender white trunks. There are plenty of scenic delights to discover throughout the extensive gardens including historic Lode Mill and magnificent statues collected by Lord Fairhaven.
Just over the border into Suffolk and it’s time to put some sparkle into the season at Ickworth.
The Ickworth Sparkle events are all about families – think making Christmas decorations, crafts, crackers and sitting next to the Christmas tree with stories and gifts from Father Christmas. Follow the Christmas trail and discover what the 1930s cooks are stirring up in the basement kitchen.
Every visit to a National Trust place helps keep both old and new traditions alive for generations to come.
If a homemade Christmas grabs you, why not join some of the Ickworth gardens team on one of the greenery gathering walks and collect a variety of festival foliage to take home and decorate with, including holly, ivy and a spot of mistletoe for that special touch.
If you fancy getting out and about with something a bit different in Bedfordshire, why not join in with a lantern-lit walk around Dunstable Downs?
It’s a rare opportunity to see the Downs in a different light – literally – and is happening in December.
It’s worth knowing too that there will be a chance to get a breath of fresh air on December 26, with a ranger-led Boxing Day walk on the Downs too!
At Flatford, in the heart of Constable-country, there will be a Christmas to make the famous painter proud.
From hanging garland decorations and a blazing fire to tables set up ready for a Tudor feast, you can discover Christmas customs old and new!
To discover more about festive events happening near you, visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/eastofengland