11 stately homes to visit in Derbyshire this Christmas
PUBLISHED: 13:49 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:14 15 November 2017
©National Trust Images/Robert Morris
A look at the festive themes and events at the county’s great houses
Built on the site of a medieval fortress, this fairy-tale Stuart mansion was designed to entertain and impress – and Christmas time is no different. On 19th Dec, the castle’s remarkable Riding School will host a rousing carol concert featuring Voices, the City of Derby Girls Choir, whilst Father Christmas himself will be meeting visitors at weekends from 25th Nov-23rd Dec. The castle is open at weekends only until 23rd Dec and daily from 27th-31st Dec.
English Heritage, Bolsover S44 6PR, 01246 822844
A special twilight opening on 1st Dec will enable families to experience Calke as darkness falls, when the house, grounds and candlelit church will be beautifully illuminated. Father Christmas will embark on a candlelit parade to his grotto and there will be an evening gift fair and craft workshops. For a glimpse of yesteryear, visitors can explore the Advent Trail on 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 23rd Dec – when there will also be the chance to meet Father Christmas. Other festive events include food fairs on 15th (evening only) and 17th; gift markets on 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 10th; and Christmas story-telling or breakfast with Father Christmas from 18th-22nd. Restaurant, shop and park open 1st-31st Dec (closed 25th).
National Trust, Ticknall DE73 7LE, 01332 863822
The spirits of Christmas past, present and future will visit Chatsworth this year as the House is given a Victorian makeover for the festive theme: ‘Oh Dickens! It’s Christmas’. Until 7th Jan (closed 24th-26th Dec and 1st Jan), Charles Dickens’ best-loved works will be brought to life by actors playing Scrooge, Fagin, Miss Havisham and others, along with room guides in period costume. There will be character outfits to try on and rooms throughout the house will feature period sets that evoke both the splendour and squalor of Dickensian London. Displays will also include related items from Chatsworth’s own collection, such as letters from Dickens himself to the 6th Duke of Devonshire.
Bakewell DE45 1PP, 01246 565300
Home of the Wright family for 344 years, this year Eyam Hall will be open and beautifully decorated for Christmas from 22nd Nov-17th Dec, Wed-Sun. Complement your visit with a winter walk around the famous ‘plague village’, or visit the on-site Craft Centre to purchase unique handmade gifts.
National Trust, Eyam S32 5QW,
Music will fill the ears of visitors to Haddon this year as the Hall – often referred to as ‘the most perfect house to survive from the middle ages’ – explores the meaning behind some of our favourite carols. The Hall will be beautifully dressed with roaring fires and golden decorations from 1st-20th, whilst from 1st-18th Dec, at 12pm and 2pm each day, there will be musical performances by groups including the Burbage Handbell Ringing Team, the Barlow Singers, the Belper Singers and the Fishpond Choir in the splendid surroundings of the Banqueting Hall. Candlelit tours, led by knowledgeable guides at twilight, will take place on 4th-6th, 13th-15th and 18th Dec.
Bakewell DE45 1LA, 01629 812855
Snowmen will line the impressive driveway to Hardwick Hall this Christmas whilst the rooms will be festooned with wreaths and garlands made from greenery collected in the grounds. Visitors can follow a festive trail of traditional songs and carols through the Hall and Garden before taking a family ‘selfie’ in Santa’s stableyard sleigh. There will also be craft activities suitable for all ages, every weekend. Hall open 18th Nov-17th Dec, Wed-Sun. Restaurant, shop, garden and park open daily (closed 25th Dec). National Trust, Doe Lea, Chesterfield S44 5QJ, 01246 850430
Following 30 years of meticulous restoration work, this year is the first that visitors to Kedleston will be able to see the newly-restored State Apartment adorned with festive finery. Take part in crafts in Caesar’s Hall, try the festive menu in the restaurant, purchase a Christmas tree to take home, or enjoy Winter Woodland Wilderness Walks on 5th and 19th Dec, the Winter Solstice Lantern Walk on 21st Dec or Santa Paws Pooch Parade on 23rd Dec. Hall open 2nd-17th Dec, Fri-Sun (pre-booked tours on Mondays), with guided tours of the State Floor, followed by mince pies and sherry by the fire in Caesar’s Hall, on 4th, 11th and 18th. Restaurant and shop open 1st-31st (closed 12th, 13th and 25th).
National Trust, nr Derby DE22 5JH, 01332 842191
Visitors are invited to step back in time to experience how Christmas would have been celebrated when Thomas Legh lived at Lyme during the Regency era. From 24th Nov-24th Dec, Fri-Mon, parts of the house will be dressed in the Regency style, choirs will be performing festive favourites of the time and there will be a range of interesting talks. There is also a shop and tearoom for gifts and refreshments.
National Trust, Disley, Stockport SK12 2NR, 01663 762023
Ignite your festive cheer with a tour of the Grade I listed Hall – home to the Sitwell family for nearly 400 years – before a stroll in the award-winning Italianate gardens, where the winter flowers will be in bloom. Christmas opening and tours 10.30am-4.30pm from 30th Nov-3rd Dec and 7th-10th Dec. Hall tours at 1pm and 2.30pm (pre-booking is highly recommended). The Museum and Café will also be open.
Renishaw, nr Chesterfield
S21 3WB, 01246 432310
Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood
From 21st-23rd Dec, renowned theatre group The Lost Boys will present their irreverent take on A Christmas Carol at Sudbury. Guests will meet in the Coach House tea rooms for breakfast with ‘Miserable Old Scrooge’, before the promenade performance around the Hall, where visitors will be guided along by Dickens himself. Earlier in the month, craft-lovers can learn how to make a festive wreath on 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th Dec, or sit down with a hot chocolate and a cookie to create a calendar in the tea rooms. Hall open at weekends from 1st-17th Dec, plus 21st-23rd and 28th-30th. Museum, shop and tea room open 1st-17th, Thurs-Sun, plus 21st-23rd.
National Trust, Sudbury, Ashbourne DE6 5HT, 01283 585337
Only a handful of historic houses have remained in the ownership of the same family since they were first built and Tissington Hall is one of these special places. Home to the FitzHerberts since 1609, Tissington will be transformed for the Christmas theme ‘Beauty and the Beast’ from 18th Nov-3th Dec (private bookings Mon-Fri, public opening Sat-Sun). Step into a ‘tale as old as time’, see inside the Beast’s Castle, visit him in his dark chamber and open the door to the snow-covered Chandelier Hall.
Tissington, Ashbourne DE6 1RA, 01335 352200
Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of dates, it is always advisable to verify the details. Pre-booking is required for many individual events, please contact venue for details.