WINTER finery and fragrant spices capture the atmosphere of a 19th Century Christmas at the former home of Benjamin Disraeli.

Ornate flower displays in the traditional Victorian festive colours of green, red and gold adorn the rooms and have been specially put together by long-time volunteer Primrose and her “flower ladies”.

Below stairs in the servants’ quarters, visitors can make a wish as they mix the Christmas pudding ingredients, while outside hand-bell ringers, carol singers and a brass band help create a really traditional Christmas experience.

A Christmas at Hughenden runs from December 6 to 8, 13-15, 20-21, 12pm to 3pm. By timed ticket only. Details: 01494 755573 or


THIS year’s theme of Music and Celebration comes alive in Waddesdon’s East Wing, which has been sumptuously decorated for the festive season.

Classic carols can be heard in each of the rooms, with decorations inspired by favourites such as The Holly and the Ivy and In The Bleak Midwinter.

Visitors can also marvel at the 3,340 little gold bells hanging from the ceiling in the Kitchen Corridor and the 12ft trees, decorated with no less than 17,000 lights and 4,000 baubles!

East Wing open until December 23 (and including Monday, December 22 and Tuesday, December 23), Wednesdays to Fridays, 12pm to 4pm, and weekends 11am to 4pm. Details:


INSPIRED by the much-loved Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol, Blenheim this year features decorations from Christmas past, present and future.

The Great Hall has been decorated with a Victorian theme, while the Saloon grand table has been set for a Christmas feast as it would for the present Duke of Marlborough. Meanwhile, the Long Library features a special take on Christmas future, with sparkling silver trees.

Blenheim Palace and gardens open daily except Mondays and Tuesdays to Sunday, December 14. Palace reopens February 14, 2009. Park remains open daily except Christmas Day. Details: 08700 60 20 80 or


GET in the festive spirit at Windsor Castle, which this year boasts Victorian-themed decorations.

From Monday, December 8, visitors can marvel at the castle’s Christmas tree from Windsor Great Park, which will go on display in St George’s Hall.

Then from Tuesday, December 9 until Tuesday, January 6, Queen Victoria’s sumptuous winter sleigh will be exhibited for the first time. Families visiting on Saturday, December 20 and Sunday, December 21 can also enjoy a special activity trail and learn about how Queen Victoria and Prince Albert celebrated Christmas at Windsor.

Windsor Castle is open daily except December 12, 25 and 26. Details: 020 7766 7304 or