The nights are drawing in, it’s getting colder, and Christmas isn’t far away. Which means it’s time to get into the festive spirit – and there’s no better way than visiting the National Trust.   

  • Historic houses in full festive splendour with crackling fires, fragrant garlands, and handmade decorations
  • Santas grottoes and storytime with Father Christmas
  • Mulled wine, mince pies and homemade gifts at Christmas markets
  • Winter trails inspired by fairytales and festive family favourites.

See historic houses decorated in the style of Christmases gone by, wrap up warm and enjoy the crunch of frost underfoot on family trails or shop for stocking fillers under twinkling lights at Christmas markets. Plus, if you’re lucky you might spot Father Christmas on one of his annual visits.   

Carl Greenman, National Programming & Production Manager at the National Trust said:  “Whether it’s the mist rising on an early morning walk, the sparkle of baubles and the glow fairy lights or the warming chuckle of Father Christmas, there are hundreds of special moments just waiting to be enjoyed this Christmas with the National Trust.

 “Enjoy a taste of Christmas past with historic houses dressed in all the trimmings, see fairytales come to life with decorations inspired by classic tales or join family favourites on magical winter trails through historic gardens and parklands.”

 Here’s a roundup of some of the National Trust’s best Christmas events near you. 

Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire

  • Breakfast with the Elves | 2 – 23 December (selected dates only) | 9am – 11am | £9.50 per adult & £5.95 per child | Pre-booking required
  • Festive Christmas Lunch | 4 – 22 December (weekdays only) | 12pm – 2.30pm | Adults £15.95 and children £8.95 | Pre-booking required.
  • Festive Afternoon Tea | 6 – 22 December (Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays only) | 12pm – 3pm | £19.95 per person | Pre-booking required.
  • Festive Evenings | 15 & 22 December | 5pm – 7pm | £6 per person (Under 3s free) | Pre-booking required.
  • Christmas Family Trail: Mystery Mail with the Elves | 15 – 23 December | 10.30am – 3.30am | £3 per trail
  • Festive Gentle Stroll with Santa Paws Competition | 19 December | 10.30am – 1.30pm | £2 per dog
  • ‘Twixmas’ Post-Christmas Gentle Stroll | 29 December | 10.30am – 1.30pm | £3 per adult & £1.50 per child (under 5s go free)

Get ready to unwrap the magic of Christmas at Dunstable Downs! With rolling hills and breathtaking views, our landscape is the perfect winter escape from the pressures and stress of the season. Whether you’re a keen walker, a festive foodie, or simply need some sparkle, we are thrilled to bring you an enchanting array of festive experiences that will make this holiday special for all the family.

Families can take part in our outdoors Christmas-inspired ‘Mystery Mail with the Elves’ trail and help find all the missing pieces of the letter to Santa before delivering it to the sorting office. Our popular Breakfast with the Elves is back with more dates available for 2023, or maybe you fancy a festive family lunch with a view?

New for 2023 is our Festive Afternoon Tea which you can enjoy as part of a family and friends get together whilst taking in the spectacular view across the downs. Also a new walk especially for dogs and their owners with our festive gentle stroll complete a bonus competition for best dressed Christmas hound!

Get that Christmassy feeling at one of our Festive Evenings where you can soak up the atmosphere as we light up our courtyard, get crafty making your own wreath to take home and help the Elves deliver a letter to Santa on our family trail.

If you’re looking to blow away the cobwebs after Christmas Day then why not join us for our ‘Twixmas’ Gentle Stroll and explore the Downs with our knowledgeable guide.

Find out more:

Photo credit: Lisa Hopkins, National Trust