Christmas with the National Trust in Kent, with markets, decorations and children’s routes

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It’s a festive treat to see National Trust properties across Kent seasoned and outdoors there will be winter trails to keep the little ones busy.

This year’s events include a Percy the Park Keeper themed trail at many historic homes, while you can also stock up on Christmas presents and goodies at the festive markets. Here’s what’s happening across the county:

Christmas photo at Ightham Mote: National Trust Images / John Miller

Ightham Mote, Borough Green

Start festive shopping in a mini-market with artisans and local products on Saturday December 4 and Sunday December 5. The ground floor of the house will also be decorated for Christmas through the ages, including a New England-style Christmas in the library and a traditional Victorian Christmas in the Great Hall. There will be Christmas carols in the yard and the new Percy the Park Keeper trail in the gardens and grounds.

The trail runs until Sunday 2nd January and costs £ 2 on top of the normal admission fee.

Percy the park ranger is the subject of the National Trust Christmas Trail Photo: Nick Butterworth / National Trust
Percy the park ranger is the subject of the National Trust Christmas Trail Photo: Nick Butterworth / National Trust

Emmetts Garden, Westerham

Percy the park keeper and his woodland friends are in the garden with their all-natural trail inspired by the surrounding forests of Kent. Help Percy find his missing tools and keep an eye on his animal friends along the way.

The wilderness playground will also be open, along with the Old Stables tearoom with some warm winter goodies. The course runs from Saturday 4th December to 2nd January and costs £ 2 on top of the usual entrance fees.

Scotney Castle decorations Photo: National Trust Images
Scotney Castle decorations Photo: National Trust Images

Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst

The mansion’s ground floor will be decorated for an early 1900s Christmas Eve party, with glittering Christmas trees and unopened gifts, and there will also be a glitter tree in the main courtyard.

The Percy the Park Keeper Trail will be available outdoors until January 3, and the tearoom will serve seasonal treats and pre-booked festive three-course breakfasts on weekdays through Wednesday, December 22.

Sissinghurst Castle Garden

See the library and south cottage dressed in atmospheric scenes evoking the peaceful winters of Vita and Harold spent reading, writing and planning for their garden, with poetry readings in the library as well, and hang a note on the tree Christmas Card from Sissinghurst on what you’re getting this Christmas.

Outside for the holiday season, there is Gardeners Question Time and Wildlife Bingo for families, as well as the Percy the Park Keeper Trail until Sunday, January 30, 2022.

Trees will be dressed up for Christmas at sites such as Scotney Castle Photo: National Trust images / Sam Milling
Trees will be dressed up for Christmas at sites such as Scotney Castle Photo: National Trust images / Sam Milling

Chartwell, Westerham

Travel back in time to a 1940s post-war Christmas over three weekends in December, when a series of rooms in the house will be dressed in natural decorations and trees for Christmas in 1946, when the Churchill family returned to Chartwell for the first time since the end of World War II. The Secretaries’ Office will also be open for the first time this Christmas, telling the stories of the people who have worked at Chartwell over the years.

In the gardens, a new family trail inspired by one of Sir Winston Churchill’s famous paintings, Bottlescape, runs until Sunday, January 2. Look for hidden bottles filled with very special ingredients that together reveal the recipe for a traditional Christmas treat.

Knole, Sevenoaks

Admire the nature-inspired decorations, including the large tree in the Great Hall and the impressive display on the large table. For the first time, the Ballroom, Reynolds Room, and Cartoon Gallery will be open to explore during the holiday season with winter exhibits.

There is a Christmas trail around the park – find the Christmas deer and follow the clues to claim a luxury hug prize – you can find more details on the website.

It runs from Monday 6 December to Sunday 23 December between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and costs £ 5 per track. You will need to pre-book tickets to guarantee entry to the car park and to the house.

To find more and book your tickets here.


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