Things to Do
Father Christmas holds up a gift

Top 5 Things To Do in December

As 2021 draws to a close, we've brought together our top ideas for things to do with us this month. 

Join us at sites across the country for our family-friendly Adventure Quests, finding hidden clues to unlock stories of the past. You can also discover a world of magical illumination, or start preparing for your cheeseboard courtesy of some Victorian inspiration.

This Month In History

  • On Christmas Day in 1066 William of Normandy, also known as William the Conqueror, marched into London and was crowned King of England after defeating King Harold II, at the Battle of Hastings
  • Charles Darwin embarked on his five-year long expedition aboard the HMS beagle on December 27th 1831. This journey and the discoveries made upon it would go on to contribute to Darwin’s theory evolution, much of which was written at Down House.
  • The results of the first General Election in Britain in which women had the right to vote confirmed David Lloyd George as Prime Minister on December 28th 1918. A blue plaque commemorating the former Prime Minister can be found at his home in Wandsworth.
  • The first German aerial bombardment of Britain took place on Christmas Eve of 1914 in Dover, close to Dover Castle.  

1. Have a festive family adventure

Explore our historic places with a family-friendly adventure quest. Follow the trail, find the clues and discover our amazing stories and secrets.

Join the quest from 27 Nov - 2 Jan 2022:

South of England
Dover Castle1066 Battle of Hastings Abbey & Battlefield, Osborne, Pendennis Castle, Stonehenge

London and the East of England
Framlingham CastleWrest Park,

The Midlands
Bolsover CastleKenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden

North of England
Whitby AbbeyBrodsworth Hall and GardensBelsay Hall, Castle and GardensBeeston Castle and Woodland Park

2. Experience the magic of Enchanted Events

Experience  Eltham Palace and Audley End House and Gardens in a spectacular new light.

Discover a magical world of illumination, sound and colour. Warm up with a glass of mulled wine, toast a marshmallow under the night sky or hop on a traditional fairground ride. Our shops will be open for you to stock up on Christmas gifts, from traditional toys to award-winning food and drink.

These events sell out quickly, so book now to avoid disappointment.

Book now

3. Create a new Christmas tradition at Kenwood

New for 2021, the grounds of Kenwood come alive with a spectacular burst of Christmas magic featuring a mix of light, fire and sound.

From 26 November 2021 to 9 January 2022, the much loved grounds of Kenwood will become home to an illuminated trail that invites you to see the historical landscape in a new light, as you step into a dazzling winter wonderland. With a Christmas market featuring festive refreshments, street food and a fully licensed bar, Christmas at Kenwood promises to be a new seasonal classic.

An illustration depicting Christmas with Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and family at Windsor Castle, printed in the ‘Illustrated London News’, 1848. Such pictures helped popularise the use of Christmas trees in English homes from the mid 1840s
An illustration depicting Christmas with Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and family at Windsor Castle, printed in the ‘Illustrated London News’, 1848. Such pictures helped popularise the use of Christmas trees in English homes from the mid 1840s
© Time Life Pictures/Mansell/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

4. Experience Christmas with Queen Victoria at Osborne

Experience Christmas with Victoria and Albert at Osborne as Osborne curator Michael Hunter to reveals how the royal couple celebrated Christmas. Unearth how the royal couple popularised a new way of seeing in the festive season, how Prince Albert was instrumental in bringing German traditions to Britain and what Christmas was like for the servants working at Osborne.

Discover these and many more Christmas stories with the English Heritage Podcast.

Listen Here

5. Try Mrs Crocombe's tasty 'chutnee'

Start preparing your Christmas cheeseboard now, with a batch of Mrs Crocombe's delicious English Chutnee. 

This preserve was adapted from the Indian 'chatni', a pickle of mixed fruits and vegetables with sweetening agents, spice and vinegar. In the Victorian period, English cooks significantly modified the Asian original and this particular version uses apples, available in abundance at Audley End House.

Watch on YouTube

More To Explore

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