Find out what's on offer in Bucks this festive season and get booking some seasonal fun.
Where better to start that Christmas shopping and get in a festive mood, than at a Christmas market? Aylesbury will of course have its traditional offering in the market square with all sorts of gifty items, food and entertainment on December 3rd. At Waddesdon, their Christmas Fair in wooden chalets returns from 22nd November to 17th December. Food lovers can also delight in their Food Village offering a fabulous selection of takeaway food and drink to enjoy whilst exploring the grounds which will be lit up with spectacular light trails and displays. Danesfield House Hotel is hosting its annual Christmas market with quirky and traditional stalls selling their handmade treasures and festive delights on Sat 2nd December. A cash bar, mulled wine and festive treats will be available and Father Christmas will be there too! Chiltern Open Air Museum will be hosting, as part of their Christmas Weekend, a small artisan Christmas market 2nd-3rd December and the Museum’s shop will be full of handmade products made by local crafts people including jewellery, candles, preserves and gin. You can also find out about how Christmas was celebrated in the past and see some of the Museum’s historic buildings traditionally decorated for Christmas. On 25th and 26th November, there's a Christmas Market at Hogshaw Farm to launch their Father Christmas at Hogshaw Farm event. Come and browse the hand-crafted products from local makers and producers. Stallholders have been selected for their nature-inspired and eco-friendly products wherever possible. At The Hearing Dogs for Deaf People Centre in Saunderton, adults and children alike are invited to enjoy a Christmas market on Nov 25th and 26th with unique, good-quality gifts, food, mulled wine and entertainment. A visit to Father Christmas in his grotto is included in the entry price (although donations on the day will be gratefully received and will help to change the lives of more deaf people)! Join the fun at Missenden Abbey Christmas Market on Sunday the 3rd of December from 12-4pm. You can enjoy a range of craft and gift stalls, children’s entertainment, food stalls, including fish & chips and Greek cuisine, and much more. On Saturday 2nd December, Discover Bucks Museum is hosting a Christmas family fun day which includes a Christmas market, crafts, traditional games and a visit from the man himself!
Our Historic Estates
As well as the market and trail, Waddesdon Manor will once again be illuminated with spellbinding animated projections, all new for 2023, with the house decorated with themes of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. At Hughenden, there's a 12 Days of Christmas extravaganza from 20th November to 1st January with enchanting scenes from the classic song brought to life in the house, stableyard and gardens. Musical Saturdays will bring choirs, silver bands and jazz singers to get everyone in the Christmas spirit. There are separate festive creative workshops for adults to create a watercolour Christmas card and for families to make their own Christmas cracker too. Children won’t know which way to turn with a festive trail to find the 12 presents of Hughenden in the garden and storytelling in the second-hand bookshop.
Bletchley Park is holding its vintage Christmas with activities for children and families. Throughout the season, you can visit Father Christmas in his grotto in the mansion decorated in 1940s style, with every child receiving a gift to take home (booking essential). There'll also be drop-in Christmas craft activities, including making simple decorations and gifts, as they would have done during the War. Those looking to really test their brain power over the festive season can try Bletchley Park’s Christmas Challenge, a new, free booklet with codes, puzzles and cryptic clues to solve, available to pick up at Admissions.
At National Trust Stowe, The Garden Undressed walk highlights the winter wonders of Stowe and you can pick up a map in the porch at New Inn where you can step back into the Victorian era with a traditional Christmas tree and all the trimmings, hand-made decorations and the scent of orange and cinnamon. The courtyard plays host to the giant Christmas tree and singing choirs on selected dates in December and there's a Christmas market on selected days (see above).Spot giant willow-woven bird sculptures on the seasonal wildlife trail around the gardens. Match tails to their owners, find clues, solve puzzles and keep an eye out for the elusive fox tail. Don’t miss out on the annual Boxing Day pilgrimage to Stowe Gardens! Dogs welcome.
Candlelight Christmas tours are taking place at Claydon House on Saturdays and Sundays from 25 November to 17 December, tours at 11am and 1.30pm
Book on an exclusive candlelight tour and discover intriguing stories from 400 years of Verney family fortunes including associations with a swindling stonemason and ‘The lady with the lamp.’ Once you have completed your tour, there will be an opportunity to browse the beautifully decorated second-hand bookshop.
Hughenden’s 12 days of Christmas is back from 20th November to 1st January, with enchanting scenes from the famous carol brought to life with giant gold rings and swans a-swimming on a sea of baubles. Musical Saturdays will bring choirs, silver bands and jazz singers to get everyone in the Christmas spirit. There are separate festive creative workshops for adults to create a watercolour Christmas card and for families to make their own Christmas cracker. Children won’t know which way to turn with a festive trail to find the 12 presents of Hughenden in the garden and storytelling in the second-hand bookshop. Don’t forget to head to the tea room first to grab hot chocolates and shortbread.
Wreath Making Workshops
At Danesfield House Hotel, Lucie and Zoe from Foxglove Studio Marlow will help and guide you on how to build a beautiful wreath to take home and hang with pride using a variety of locally grown seasonal colours and foliage. All materials, arrival glass of mulled wine, plus tea & coffee served with warm mince pies are included in the ticket price. At Howe Farm Flowers, enjoy 2 hours of luxury wreath making in their barn. Using the finest materials, owner Amber will show you how to create a luxurious wreath with all the trimmings. Using British foliage, flowers grown and dried on the farm and other materials foraged from nature, your wreath will be seasonal, British and absolutely gorgeous. All materials will be provided, and there will be hot drinks and festive snacks too. Be sure to dress up warm!
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the panto. The Wycombe Swan hosts Beauty and the Beast, a brand-new pantomime with a dazzling digital set using LED screens with animated scenes and mesmerising effects plus all of the usual ingredients you would expect to see for a truly memorable pantomime - hilarious slapstick, plenty of audience interaction and marvellous musical numbers that you will be singing for days afterwards. Aylesbury Waterside Theatre’s enchanting family pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs promises all the trademark fun of panto. This year, it's starring EastEnders and Strictly Come Dancing star, James Bye, alongside family favourite, Andy Collins (BBC Three Counties Breakfast Show), who is returning due to popular demand. On the other end of the spectrum, there's a Christmas Opera Extravaganza at Danesfield House Hotel on Dec 9th and 10th. Beautiful arias and songs will be performed by Kensington Opera in the stunning setting of this luxurious hotel, followed by a two course festive supper with wine.
Festive Afternoon Teas
The Phoenix Kitchen at Claydon Courtyard is offering delicious festive afternoon teas with tea, coffee, mulled wine or prosecco. At Villiers Hotel in Buckingham you can enjoy their indulgent tea in their charming Laura Ashley Tearoom where their chefs have created an irresistible menu, blending traditional favourites with seasonal flair. As part of Waddesdon's Christmas extravaganza, you can book a festive afternoon tea in the Manor Restaurant with treats including brie and cranberry tarts, mince pie macarons and more. Luxurious Danesfield House Hotel is renowned for its year-round afternoon teas and the champagne option is understandably popular at Christmas so hurry, it books up fast. The stunning Horwood House Hotel is a sure bet for a luxury festive afternoon tea with Christmas crackers, mulled wine or fizz available throughout December.