IF you’re looking for somewhere special to escape the crowds this Christmas and celebrate festive traditions, look no further than the National Trust.

Historic houses in and around Hampshire are filled with hand-crafted decorations, twinkling lights and fresh winter greenery. Gardens and countryside are transformed into beautiful winter landscapes waiting to be explored.

Colour-rich scenes in Mottisfont’s show rooms feature vibrant decorations with a quirky and contemporary twist.

There’s baking demonstrations and carol singing, craft workshops and guided winter walks at our places too. Festive outdoor activity trails take children on fun adventures through the gardens, whilst downloadable walks take you further afield, through frosty winter landscapes of meadows, fields, and ancient woodland.

Shops are filled with gifts big and small, from children’s stocking fillers to beautiful objects inspired by our historic collections. In the cafes you’ll find seasonal treats, many made using locally produced ingredients.

Christmas highlights include:


Winter heathland tree planting, December 3, 10am-3pm, book on 01794 344020

Tuck into mince pies in the wild woods as you help our New Forest rangers on a community tree-planting day at our biggest heathland restoration project. This has become a bit of a ‘new’ Christmas tradition, with a strong local following, so be make sure to book.

Directions: park in Half Moon car park on Blackhill Road (SO51 6AQ), which is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the Foxbury restoration site.

Forest School Christmas Special, December 21, 10.30am-1.30pm, £8 for first child, siblings £4 each, book on 01794 344020, suitable for 0-5 years.

This will see little ones getting stuck into all sorts of nature-themed Christmas gift-making, from wooden reindeer to bird feeders and other natural gifts. If you’re looking for some pre-Christmas outdoor family fun but without the festive element, our weekly Forest School sessions give kids a great introduction to loads of nature-inspired activities including den-building, woodwork and outdoor cooking, topped off with a dash of storytelling.

Directions: park in Half Moon car park on Blackhill Road (SO51 6AQ), which is just a few minutes’ walk from Foxbury’s base camp.


All the Colours of Christmas, until January 2, 10am-4pm (closed December 24 and 25)

Inspired by vibrant displays in the gallery, celebrate Christmas with colour and sparkle. Each show room is beautifully dressed with its own colour theme and festive scene, featuring both traditional and contemporary twists. You’ll find statement Christmas trees, piles of presents and dramatic flower arrangements.

Outside, artist installations emphasise the natural winter colours found around the gardens and wider estate. Families can discover these on an outdoors activity trail, full of things to create and do. Adults can find out more about the artworks and artists in a new guide.


Christmas at Winchester City Mill, December 16-24, 10am-5pm

At Christmas, this cosy working watermill is beautifully decorated with a sparkling tree and pretty window displays. A themed family trail challenges kids to hunt for baubles hidden around the Mill to discover favourite Christmas traditions.

On December 10 and 16, volunteer bakers will be showing you how to make delicious seasonal treats using the Mill’s freshly ground flour. Take away some recipe cards and have a go yourself at home.

There’s an extra festive treat on December 16, when Alder Valley Brass play classic Christmas carols in the courtyard.

(BLOB) Find out more about National Trust Christmas events across the south at nationaltrust.org.uk.