11 stately homes to visit in Derbyshire this Christmas

Hardwick Hall Photo: ©National Trust Images/Robert Morris

Hardwick Hall Photo: ©National Trust Images/Robert Morris - Credit: ©NTPL/Robert Morris

A look at the festive themes and events at the county’s great houses

Chatsworth House Photo: Simon Broadhead

Chatsworth House Photo: Simon Broadhead - Credit: Archant

Eyam Hall The Jacobean manor house that has been the home of the Wright family for 350 years is opening on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 4th to 15th December. Visitors can tour the Hall from 11am to 3pm while enjoying home-made mince pies and mulled wine. See eyamhall.net, Eyam,  S32 5QW, 01433 630080.

Bolsover Castle Father Christmas will be telling tales of Christmas past at weekends until 22nd December. Call 0370 333 1183 to make an essential pre-booking for a timed appointment. The Castle is also hosting a carol concert led by the Chesterfield Philharmonic Choir in the atmospheric Riding School at 6.30pm on 19th December. See www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/bolsover-castle/events. Bolsover S44 6PR, 

01246 822844 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Calke Abbey  There's something for everyone at Calke Abbey, whether you want to create family traditions, find festive gifts or enjoy a crisp winter walk. Father Christmas will be visiting his stable grotto on select dates in December or you can enjoy a full English breakfast  with him in the café - it's necessary to book in advance. As darkness falls, pick up a trail map and let the lanterns lead the way to the candle-lit church and the dazzling Pleasure Grounds. For a magical experience, enter the twinkling tunnels and warm your fingers and toes by the fire in the entrance hall. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/calke-abbey to find out more.  

Ticknall DE73 7LE,  01332 863822 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Casterne Hall Charles and Caroline Hurt will be opening the doors of their historic home for Candlelit Christmas Tours and Teas. Greeted with a glass of mulled wine, a brief history of the house and family follows. Then guests tour the decorated Hall at their leisure before taking Christmas tea in front of the fire, with finger sandwiches, sausage rolls, cupcakes, Christmas cake, scones with jam and cream and, of  course, mince pies. This year's dates are 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th, 18th and 19th December at 3pm, £20 per person. Tickets are limited. casterne.co.uk, Ashbourne, DE6 2BA, 01335 310489

01335 310489 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chatsworth This year Chatsworth is taking visitors on a magical and fascinating trip around the world - a chance to explore far away lands without leaving Derbyshire.The theme is set from the moment you enter the marquee before the north entrance hall as your journey begins with the unmistakable sounds of travel - doors slamming, the whistle of a steam train and cars revving. Clouds float above, with balloons and aeroplanes, at the far end a miniature caravan sits in a snow scene with twinkly lights and table set for Christmas dinner, and the journey begins.... For details visit www.chatsworth.org, Bakewell, DE45 1PP, 01246 565300 01629 812855

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Eyam Hall The Jacobean manor house that has been the home of the Wright family for 350 years is opening on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 4th to 15th December. Visitors can tour the Hall from 11am to 3pm while enjoying home-made mince pies and mulled wine. See eyamhall.net, Eyam, S32 5QW, 01433 630080.


Haddon Hall From the 1st of December, Haddon's 'Experience Christmas': twenty-three days of wonderful music from local community choirs and bell ringers, and twenty-three days of workshops and demonstrations presented within the beautifully decorated Hall. For details visit www.haddonhall.co.uk, Haddon Hall, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1LA 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hardwick Hall   From 23rd November to 22nd December, you'll find plenty of festive fun at Hardwick. The house will sparkle with festive stars and lights. Two 16ft Christmas trees welcome you into the hall and set the scene for a glowing festive trail around the rooms. The hall is open Wednesday to Sunday,  but Christmas cheer can be seen all over the estate with dramatically lit yew trees in the garden guiding you  to the cosy Great Barn restaurant or the Stables shop. Festive craft sessions are also on offer. See: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardwick for full details, Doe Lea, Chesterfield S44 5QJ, 01246 850430 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kedleston Hall There's nothing quite like seeing Kedleston's State Apartment, already a spectacle in itself, with a twinkle of Christmas. This year the State Floor will be decorated to celebrate festive carols and songs, and local choirs and bands will be performing for visitors. Father Christmas will be dropping by to meet families in the stables, or you can join him for breakfast or supper, and you can buy a real Christmas tree to take home. A family winter walk or orienteering will burn off some energy and there are craft sessions and workshops, from willow weaving to lantern making, to get you in the festive spirit. Some activities require advance booking. Open on various dates in December, see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kedleston-hall for details. Kedleston, nr Derby, DE22 5JH, 01332 842191

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lyme Park Christmas festivities get started at Lyme from 22nd November, when the house reopens to the public, decorated in traditional, sparkling style. As visitors pass through the different rooms of the house (open Friday to Monday as well as Christmas Eve), they will see Lyme in many guises - from a 17th-century Christmas wedding celebration, to an Edwardian ballroom, to a pantry piled with food for the holiday celebration. There will also be daily music performances, featuring local choirs. Afternoon teas will be taking on a festive twist with soup, tasty sandwiches and sweet treats featuring produce grown on site. Father Christmas will be putting in appearances and families can book crafting sessions and snacks alongside their special visit with the man himself. See www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lyme for dates and to book. Disley, Stockport SK12 2NR, 01663 762023

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Renishaw Hall  Alexandra Sitwell will be opening her historic home to visitors again this Christmas with a delicious festive menu of homemade winter dishes being served in the Café at Renishaw Hall. The award-winning gardens will be open for winter walks and there'll be guided tours of the historic Hall - where the house will be dressed for a traditional Christmas - from Thursday 28th November to Sunday 1st December and from 5th to 8th December (booking essential). The visitor centre has books and mementos of the hall and gardens plus Renishaw Hall's own award-winning wines to buy. See www.renishaw-hall.co.uk  Renishaw, nr Chesterfield, S21 3WB, 01246 432310

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sudbury Hall & the National Trust museum of Childhood At Sudbury you can bring family and friends together for some fun and friendly competition from 22nd November to 6th January. Enter the magical world of games as play your way around the hall with larger-than-life versions of interactive board games. There's also the chance to design your own board game or enjoy a festive lunch followed by a family favourite beetle drive. Live theatre will be part of the festive activities with the return of the Lost Boys, who will be taking visitors on 'an epic quest to compete, win and ultimately save your own lives as you venture into the realms of family favourite board games, meeting a host of weird and wonderful creatures along the way.' (Check dates, tickets 0344 249 1895.) Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk and search for Sudbury Hall for full details. Sudbury, Ashbourne DE6 5HT, 01283 585337

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Out and about Longshaw, Burbage and the Eastern Moors: There's festive cheer on offer when selecting your Longshaw Christmas tree - all are grown at the estate or local nurseries. The Red Deer Trail runs to 1st January and wreath-making workshops or family craft sessions are on selected dates. Call 03442 491895 to book. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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