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Things to do in December

1 December 2017
Posted By:
Jamie Bellinger
Things To Do

The festive season is here, and our historic places are coming to life with Christmas cheer. Experience Christmas festivities through the ages with events ranging from medieval times to the Second World War. Join us for a unique carol concert in the setting of an historic house or palace.

If you’re looking for something different his year, our new Enchanted events will be lighting up some of England’s most beautiful gardens with colour and sound this month. Limited tickets are still available.

Did you know?

  • Prince Albert died at Windsor Castle on 14 December 1861. As husband of Queen Victoria, he frequently visited Osborne on the Isle of Wight with her and their children.
  • The first German air attack against Britain took place on Christmas Eve 1914. A single bomb fell on the town of Dover, close to Dover Castle.
  • On Christmas Day 1066, following a year that changed the course of English history forever, William of Normandy was crowned King of England.
  • Charles Darwin set sail from Plymouth on a five-year expedition aboard the HMS Beagle on 27 December 1831. Discoveries that he made would contribute to his theory of evolution, published in 1859 as On the Origin of Species. The study where he worked on the book can be seen at his family home, Down House.

Explore an Enchanted garden

This December, see England’s most beautiful historic gardens sparkle with dazzling colour and light. Strings of lanterns laced through the boughs of trees, fairy lights twinkling behind leaves and special surprises will transport you into a dream-like version of the past.

Tickets are selling out fast so book your tickets today.

Enchanted events are taking place from 15 – 23 December at:

Our Enchanted events have proved very popular and there are limited tickets available. We recommend booking tickets now to avoid disappointment.

Discover something new every day

Need a hand organising your festive month? We’ve got ideas for something to do every day. Our interactive calendar is your day-by-day guide for the whole of December. From Christmas events to scenic winter walks (and ideas for last-minute presents!), you’ll find everything you need to learn, explore and enjoy great days out in December.

There’s also a local calendar for your region, giving you inspiration and ideas closer to home:

Make and bake for Christmas

Get ready for the festive season with our collection of historical crafts and recipes. Make your own 19th-century Christmas crackers, create an authentic Tudor Christmas wreath, or follow Mrs Crocombe’s recipe to bake delicious Victorian mince pies. The kids will particularly love our gingerbread tree decorations, but for something more grown-up, try our Victorian gin punch.

Explore more Christmas recipes

Find a perfect present in the past

Still on the hunt for something special to treat a friend or loved one? Our Christmas gift guide does the hard work for you, with great ideas for him and her, kids, grandparents, and even the office ‘Secret Santa’. Whether it’s the exclusive new Stonehenge Barbour jacket for somebody who loves the outdoors, or an English Heritage-themed board game to enjoy with family and friends, there are ideal gifts for everyone. All you need is a tree to put them under.

Escape to somewhere peaceful

Is the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle too much? We’ve put together a list of our top historical places to enjoy a more mindful escape. Spend an afternoon in the clifftop quiet of Whitby Abbey or the isolated solitude of Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island. England’s beautiful ruins are the perfect places to get away from it all and find some headspace.

Find your peaceful escape this month 

Somewhere to visit this month


Find more inspiration for days out, events and things to do on our website.

  • About the Author

    Jamie Bellinger
    Jamie is a writer and editor at English Heritage.


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