Bustling and colourful Christmas markets in historic settings, spectacular re-imaginings and illuminated trails around treasure-filled castles and stately homes, pretty villages and market towns in full festive mode, carol singers, sparkling and highly decorated Christmas trees all over the place, Glühwein, mince pies and ice skating outdoors at famous London attractions.
Welcome to what’s happening across England THIS MONTH and, bearing in mind that they are all annual events, let me sow some seeds for some bright ideas that can be gift-wrapped to generate valuable extra commission in the run up to Christmas 2022. Remember, everything here takes place each year.
The Nutcracker Experience at Blenheim Palace
This year, each of the state rooms have been exquisitely transformed and filled with hidden surprises—from the toymaker’s workshop on a frosty Christmas Eve; through the glistening Land of Snow and onto the candy-cane Kingdom of Sweets, adorned with the sweetest of treats and larger-than-life gingerbread men. It’s a fairy-tale world where nothing is quite as it seems, from a dashing Nutcracker Prince and an army of mice to a Sugar Plum Fairy and a music box with a difference. This fantastical winter wonderland is where the magic really begins… Add visits to the Oxford Christmas Market and to the Winter Lights at the magnificent Waddesdon Manor.
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market is recognised as one of the best in Europe, renowned for its unique location, hand-picked high quality exhibitors and bustling atmosphere. Inspired by traditional German Christmas markets, the authentic wooden chalets are situated in the Cathedral’s historic Inner Close which is complete with its own ice rink. Their Christmas Market holds its own with any European destination for those in search of an authentic Christmas experience; and it is regularly recognised as being in the top 10 in Europe. Running annually from mid-November until 22nd December, time your visit to coincide with the nearby Salisbury Christmas Market also in full swing around the same dates.
Christmases Past and Present
This year, they are celebrating 20 magical years of Christmas at Chatsworth House; and their displays have been inspired by the past two decades of spellbinding decorations. Entrancing scenes combine nostalgic references to Christmases of years past with tradition at the heart of Chatsworth’s seasonal celebrations. The Chapel is alive with festive music; a kaleidoscope of colour mingles playfully with gems and minerals from their collection; an inventive use of recycled materials to illustrate the potential of sustainable decorating; and no winter celebration would be complete without a sprinkling of the white stuff… Be enchanted here. Package it with the Christmas Markets in nearby Manchester and Chester.
Discover the Land of Narnia at Castle Howard
Step through the wardrobe into an enchanting adventure and discover the icy spell that’s been cast on this mystical land where it’s always winter. Will Christmas spirits be restored? Will warmth and joy return? See the lavishly decorated interiors of Castle Howard transformed, enjoy breath-taking dramatic installations, lighting and soundscapes evoking everything we all love about this special time of year. Marvel at the 25-foot Christmas tree adorned with over 3000 baubles, providing a magnificent highlight in the Great Hall. Running from mid-November until 2nd December, time your visit to coincide with the annual St Nicholas Fair and the York Early Music Christmas Festival, both in December.
Get Your Skates On
Along with a quick spin on the ice rink at the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, families will love a whirl around some of London’s best outdoor ice-skating rinks at Hampton Court Palace and in front of the Natural History Museum. There’s another one in the picture-perfect setting of Somerset House and with the addition of a River Thames cruise, at the Queen’s House Ice Rink at Greenwich. Include an unforgettable side trip to the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour London and The Making of Harry Potter, and several hours at the world famous Hamley’s toy shop, everyone will be thrilled by this Christmas look at London.
An Enchanted Forest and a Spectacle of Light
With Oxford as your base, take a drive through the quintessentially English villages and market towns of Bourton on the Water, Stow on the Wold, Chipping Campden, Moreton in Marsh and Broadway, all decked out for Christmas. Also take a journey through the Enchanted Forest and the mesmerising light displays at the National Arboretum at Westonbirt. On another day, spend a couple of hours at the Spectacle of Light at privately-owned Sudeley Castle. Gaze at the sparkling water features, the captivating Carpet of Colour and sipping festive warmers of mulled wine on the way, enjoy the wonderful music as you experience each new secret of this romantic environment.
Paull Tickner, owner of U.K-based Custom GB, is known for his expertise in creating and operating imaginative, value-added tours of Great Britain and Ireland. Visit his website at www.customgb.co.uk or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.