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  • Celebrate Christmas in Style: The Top 10 Festive Stately Homes in England

    What could be more magical than a stately home lit up by fairy lights, the smell of chestnuts roasting on an open fire and the sound of sleigh bells echoing through grand corridors? We can’t think of anything either, which is why we’ve taken a look at some of the UK’s most festive stately homes.

    The Top 10 Stately Homes to Visit this Christmas

    There are approximately 3,000 stately homes in the UK. The majority of them are in England and many of them are notorious for celebrating the festive season in style.

    Whether you want to wander in a winter wonderland, browse Christmas markets or become lost in the sounds of singing choirs, English stately homes have got you covered. In fact, when it comes to festive fun, these architectural icons are the gifts that keep on giving.

    That’s why, just in time for the festive season, we went on TripAdvisor and looked at thousands of reviews of over 100 stately homes around the UK. By filtering reviews by star rating and topical keywords including Christmas, Xmas, festive and Santa, we created a ranking of the best stately homes to visit this Christmas.

    So, if you want to step into Christmas, here are the top 10 festive stately homes in England.

    1. Longleat House – Wiltshire

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    Coming in with a table-topping score of 693 5* reviews, Longleat House is our must-visit festive destination this year. You’ll know it's Christmas before you even get into the grounds thanks to 100 trees lit up with fairy lights. As well as festive decorations, the grounds will play host to a Santa’s train, performances featuring birds of prey, carols and a snow-capped maze.

    2. Chatsworth House – Derbyshire

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    With 532 visitors giving Chatsworth House a 5* rating, we couldn’t ignore its festive charm. This year is the estate’s 20th Christmas celebration, which means you’ll be able to see decorations from festivities past, listen to carols in the chapel and dance in the snow.

    3. Blenheim Palace – Oxfordshire

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    Blenheim Palace comes in at third place on our festive countdown courtesy of 462 5* reviews. In amongst the sparkling trail and performances of the Nutcracker, you’ll be able to sample festive foods and bag some last-minute gifts at the famous Blenheim Palace Christmas market.

    4. Waddesdon Manor – Buckinghamshire

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    What could be more festive than mulled wine, fabulous cheeses, chocolate and crafts? Well, according to 462 5* reviews on TripAdvisor, not a lot. This year, the famous Waddesdon Manor Christmas market returns, accompanied by an added extra in the form of a festive afternoon tea service.

    5. Castle Howard – York

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    Castle Howard is transporting you to Narnia this year for a fantastical festive adventure you’ll never forget. 291 people have already given this stately home a 5* review, and you might be adding another one after you see its 3,000 baubles, 25-foot-high Christmas tree and smorgasbord of delicious local produce.

    6. Hever Castle – Kent

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    191 people can’t be wrong when it comes to Christmas at Hever Castle. Those 5* reviews have clearly had an impact because tickets to see Father Christmas sold out early. However, even though you won’t be able to see the big guy, there is still much to experience, including the Pinocchio trail, a funfair and husky rides!

    7. Dunham Massey - Manchester

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    Dunham Massey has 98 festive 5* reviews on TripAdvisor for one main reason: lights. This stately home shines brighter than any other at Christmas thanks to its 1 million lights. From the twinkling archway guiding you towards a selection of street food vendors to the ornate Christmas trees, this place really will put the light in your life.

    8. Killerton – Devon

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    This National Trust property has already had 91 people raving about its Christmas experience and you could very well be the next. Like Durham Massey, this place shines at night with the main house and special walkways lit up by over 1 million lights. However, Killerton is also perfect in the day. Percy the Park Keeper is on hand to provide child-friendly tours featuring cameos from a cast of animals.

    9. Attingham Park – Shropshire

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    Another National Trust property, Attingham Park doesn’t have just one festive experience, it has two. Depending on your preferences, you go inside the mansion, wander around outside or do both! There will be lights, decorations, crafts and, of course, the famous Attingham deer herd.

    10. Highclere Castle - Hampshire

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    Christmas tours and tea, that’s the theme at Highclere Castle this year. 86 people have rated this a 5* festive experience and the lineup of events in 2021 suggest plenty more positive reviews will follow.

    As the setting for Downtown Abbey, it’s only fitting that Highclere Castle is hosting a special screening of the show in December. This event complements a variety of Christmas-themed tours that offer a glimpse into the past and, of course, food!

    What Festive Fun-Seekers Say

    Those are the facts, but what have people said about these stately homes? We can’t go through all the positive reviews, there are just too many. However, before you plan your trip, here are two examples of why people love stately homes at Christmas.

    TLois wrote: “Longleat has managed to create such a magical alternative to their lanterns this year with the Land of Light. The lights are beautiful and it’s lovely to take the time to walk the route and enjoy all the various aspects. Even though you can see there are a lot of cars and visitors, it doesn’t feel busy. I’d definitely recommend a great Christmas day or evening out!”

    EmLou698 wrote: “Me and my disabled mother visited Chatsworth between Christmas and New Year to see the Christmas around the world decorations. Firstly, may I say, wow, your Christmas decorations are out of this world. Secondly, I would love to have the job of decorating this house!! Christmas is magical at Chatsworth, and I am determined to visit every year from now on."

    Looking for more inspiration? Have a look at our top 50 in the table below:

    Rank Stately Home Region No. of Festive 5* TripAdvisor Reviews
    1 Longleat House Wiltshire 693
    2 Chatsworth House Derbyshire 532
    3 Blenheim Palace Oxfordshire 462
    4 Waddeson Manor Buckinghamshire 462
    5 Castle Howard York 291
    6 Hever Castle Kent 191
    7 Dunham Massey Manchester 98
    8 Killerton Devon 95
    9 Attingham Park Shropshire 90
    10 Highclere Castle Hampshire 86
    11 Burton Agnes Hall Bridlington 80
    12 Doddington Hall Lincoln 79
    13 Hampton Court Palace Richmond Upon Thames 78
    14 Holkham Hall Nortfolk 73
    15 Hardwick Hall Derbyshire 73
    16 Blickling Estate Norfolk 69
    17 Haddon Hall Derbyshire 69
    18 Stourhead Wiltshire 61
    19 Lanhydrock Cornwall 60
    20 Kingston Lacy Dorset 56
    21 Polesden Lacey Surrey 54
    22 Standen West Sussex 54
    23 Mottisfont Hampshire 51
    24 Lotherton Aberford 50
    25 Harewood House Leeds 49
    26 Cotehele Cornwall 48
    27 Calke Abbey Derbyshire 44
    28 Fountains Abbey Ripon 44
    29 Hinton Ampner Hampshire 43
    30 Hanbury Hall Worcestershire 42
    31 Raby Castle Durham 42
    32 Belton House Grantham 40
    33 Anglesey Abbey Cambridge 40
    34 Bletchley Park Buckinghamshire 36
    35 Hughenden Buckinghamshire 34
    36 Ightham Mote Kent 32
    37 Audley End Essex 30
    38 Chirk Castle Wrexham 30
    39 Coleton Fishacre Devon 26
    40 Packwood House Solihull 23
    41 Knightshayes Devon 22
    42 Lyme Hall Cheshire 19
    43 Petworth South Downs 18
    44 Golsborough Hall Knaresborough 18
    45 Lacock Abbey Wiltshire 17
    46 Ickworth Suffolk 15
    47 Greys Court Oxfordshire 15
    48 Wimpole Estate Cambridgeshire 14
    49 Keddleston Hall Derbyshire 14
    50 Berrington Hall Herefordshire 14

    Last updated by MyJobQuote on 26th November 2021.

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