Who doesn’t love a touch of magic at Christmas? We have chosen 3 of our favourite magical Christmas places to visit for a frosty, festive treat, guaranteed to put you in the Christmas spirit. Go with friends, take the children or simply treat yourselves. Whether you’re young or simply young at heart, just make sure you set aside a little time in your hectic pre-Christmas schedule to relax, have fun and embrace the big kid that’s inside all of us.
Our first magical Christmas place is the wonderful Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. There is so much going on here but we’ll start with Alice in the Palace. Step inside and explore the magnificent state rooms, all lavishly decorated and transformed into a magical wonderland. The festive indoor trail takes you on Alice’s journey through mirrored hallways, illusions and a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
As the light begins to fade, head on down to the Illuminated Light Trail. Wander through the beautiful Tunnel of Light with its 100,000 lights, the Woodland Laser Garden and the Scented Fire Garden. Gather round the fire pit with a mulled cider or hot chocolate and toast a few marshmallows or hop onto the carousel, the helter skelter or any of the fun family rides. The evening finale sees the palace’s façade come alive with a spectacular light display. If this doesn’t bring joy to the world, nothing will.
The second of our magical Christmas places is the fabulous Festival of Light at Longleat House near Bath. Best known for its drive-through safari, Christmas brings even more to see and do. We would start with a wonderful Winter Safari through the grounds. Some of the colder-blooded animals may be tucked up snug indoors but often, the big cats are more active in the winter. Wrap up warm and hop aboard the Jungle Cruise, get up close and personal in the animal handling hall, or lose yourself in a magical story as some of Longleat’s beautiful owls take centre stage in the Longhouse. Take the children for a ride on the Santa Train, past Half Mile Lake to an enchanting winter wonderland at North Pole Halt where you can visit Santa in his grotto. Then it’s time to venture back indoors with a tour through the ground floor of Longleat House itself, all set and dressed to transport you back to the glamorous celebrations of the 1920s.
As darkness falls, head outside where legendary figures and mythical beasts come to life in the form of hundreds of magnificent Chinese lanterns scattered throughout the Capability Brown landscaped grounds. Then it’s back up to the house where magical stories are projected not only onto the stately home’s frontage but also onto a magnificent, 50 ft Christmas tree. An unforgettably festive family day out.
Discover the magic of Christmas in the heart of the fabulous Peak District in Derbyshire. Chatsworth House has a whole host of events and activities going on throughout the season so it’s essential to check their website for dates and details. Enjoy a Christmas Nativity as Chatsworth’s farmyard animals and visiting children take part in this heart-warming performance. Try your hand at wreath-making, take a look at traditional Christmas decorations or experience a twilight evening at the house with bell ringers and a spot of mulled wine.
This year’s main event is Christmas at Chatsworth. Follow in the footsteps of Phileas Fogg and Amelia Earhart as you are guided on a festive adventure around the globe. Travel from Chatsworth to a Nordic winter wonderland, through blossom trees in Japan to a baroque Spanish church. The magical indoor tour has trees and lights a-plenty, with hot air balloons, aeroplanes, brown bears and Chinese dragons. How does Santa do all this in just one night? Shhhh, it’s magic!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our whistle-stop tour of our favourite magical Christmas places. Let us know where you’ve been. Watch out next week for a spot of inspiration with our cocktails, mocktails and last-minute gifts just before Christmas.
Let’s Snuggle Up
If gallivanting around the countryside is not for you in the run up to Christmas, why not snuggle up all cosy and warm with a mulled wine, a mince pie and an armful of interiors magazines. Check out our Cosy Edit for some much-needed cosy inspiration.