England’s Twelve Days of Christmas
Monday 12, September 2011
There are twelve days of Christmas according to the yuletide classic so here are twelve highlights from around the country in celebration of all things seasonal. From the traditional to the sublime, we’ve selected something for all the family to enjoy during the festive period. Don your hats, gloves and scarves and get ready to enjoy a very English Christmas…
Day 1: Enchanting illuminations
Westonbirt, the National Arboretum will become a wonderland of festive lights this winter when the Enchanted Christmas event returns for 2011. Alongside carols and festive treats of mulled wine and roast chestnuts, visitors will be able to take the 45-minute Illuminated Trail around the Old Arboretum. The trail takes in some of the gems of Westonbirt’s collection, spectacularly highlighting the beauty and shape of the trees.
Date: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening from 25th November – 18th December 2011
Location: Westonbirt, Gloucestershire
Day 2: Deck the halls
This winter, Chatsworth has brought out the holly and the ivy for its very own Christmas carol spectacular! All the classic carols will be brought to life in a series of stunning visual displays, along with a few extras, across the lower floors of the historic home. Visitors will be taken on a magical festive journey around the house, complete with beautifully decorated Christmas trees, shepherds and their sheep, snow and sleighs. There is also the opportunity for children to take part in a traditional nativity at the farmyard, starring real animals.
Date: 5th November – 23rd December 2011
Location: Chatsworth, Derbyshire
Day 3: Traditional toy making
Come to Kenilworth Castle during the Christmas holidays and treat the family to a traditional toy-making workshop with historical games experts Heuristics. Not only will you learn how to make a traditional wooden toy, which you can take home, there will be carols, fun games, storytelling, mince pies, mulled wine and hot spiced apple cider. A truly unique and fun way to spend quality time together in a beautiful setting.
Date: 27th November – 31st December 2011
Day 4: Vintage Christmas cupcakes
Cupcakes are really trendy right now and Christmas is the perfect time to let your creative skills go wild.
The pearly vintage Christmas cupcakes come with a winter theme. Produce a beautiful tray of 12 ever-so-pretty cupcakes to take home, admire and gorge upon. Then apply the skills picked up to tailor the designs and bake gorgeous gifts for family and friends all year long.
Date: 4th December 2011
Location: Farncombe Estate, Broadway, Cotswolds
Day 5: Roasted chestnuts and Tiny Tim
Where better to put on a Dickensian Christmas market than in the historic Kent town where Charles Dickens once lived? Lining the grounds of the red-and-green-tinged medieval Rochester Castle are rows of cheery fairy light-draped stalls offering mulled wine, Dutch waffles, roasted chestnuts and plenty of handmade gifts. And as shoppers stuff their faces with seasonal sugary treats, they’ll be entertained by costumed characters, street performers, bands, and carol singers.
Date: 30th November – 8th December 2011
Location: Castle Hill, Rochester, Kent
Day 6: The magic of pantomime
The most magical rags-to-riches tale of them all is re-told in Manchester’s very own pantomime. This production of Cinderella is a glittering parade of everything you could possibly wish for in a traditional family pantomime: sensational costumes, dazzling songs, superb dance routines and wonderful comedy. It’s a delightful show, featuring Suzanne Shaw of Hear’Say fame, that will appeal to all ages.
Date: 3rd December 2011 – 8th December 2011
Location: Opera House Manchester, Manchester
Day 7: City of Angels
York, already a charming Christmas city of cobblestones and timber-framed buildings is made even more other-worldy with the Festival of Angels. It’s a true winter festival, with a winter wonderland of ice-sculptures, stalls, outdoor food and drink, street entertainment and guaranteed snow showers. Visitors can see Father Christmas and follow the Parade of Angels on Sunday, led by the beautiful Golden Angel.
Date: 10th – 11th December 2011
Day 8: The Nutcracker
Get swept up in the excitement of Christmas with one of the most famous classical ballets of all time, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. This fantasy of toy soldiers, giant rats, snow fairies, magic and mystery is vividly brought to life in this unparalleled, world-famous production by Sir Peter Wright, complete with sets and costumes by John Macfarlane. One not to be missed!
Date: 25th November – 11th December 2011
Location: Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre, Birmingham
Day 9: Santa Express
Santa will be letting off steam in a magical grotto at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, and children can meet him after taking the 10 mile steam train journey, Santa Special, to the Winter Wonderland at Havenstreet Station. Santa has a present for every child and families should take plenty of time to look around the Railway Museum at Havenstreet, as well as the shop, which will be stocked with last-minute Christmas gift ideas.
Date:3rd – 24th December 2011 Location: Isle of Wight
Day 10: High street heaven
A hidden gem on the banks of the Tyne, Corbridge is home to a diverse mix of independent shops. Saunders & Pughe (32 Hill St) sells hand-made contemporary jewellery, while Rocking Horse Elite (Aydon Rd) provides the perfect gift for tots – traditional rocking horses. Vintage perfumier Laura Christina (Middle St) specialises in classic scents (none of your ‘sleb smellies here), while there’s a browse-worthy selection of chic fashion boutiques including Katie Kerr (22 Hill St) and Out of the Blue (2 Middle St), which specialises in designer kids wear.
Location: Corbridge, Northumberland
Day 11: Burning the ashen faggot
Every year on Christmas Eve the Luttrell Arms in Dunster burns the ashen faggot. This is an old Somerset Christmas tradition, similar to the Yule log, where stolen ash sticks are bound together with a series of green ash or hazel withies and placed on the fire. Each time a binding bursts, a round of drinks is ordered and perhaps a story told. Head to the Luttrell Arms to witness this age old custom, and enjoy a drink or three.
Date: 24th December
Location: Dunster, Exmoor
Day 12: Take a cool tip on Christmas day
What a way to work up an appetite for Christmas lunch Weymouth & Portland Lions take their daring annual swim across Wemouth harbour on Christmas Day. Participants must be sponsored before they can plunge into the icy depths. Over 150 brave souls took part last year raising hundreds of pounds for a variety of charities and good causes. Just don’t confuse the goose pimples with the Christmas turkey’s!
Date: 25th December
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