Christmas celebrations 500 years in the making at historic Temple Newsam

Leeds, Leeds Star

Putting up the tree and decking the halls can be a daunting task for even the biggest festive fanatic.

But when you’re charged with getting a magnificent Tudor mansion ready for Christmas, it really does mean pulling out all the stops.

So this week, the team at Temple Newsam House have been pitching as they prepare the iconic attraction to welcome guests for their spectacular celebration of 500 years of Christmas.

The hugely-popular annual event takes place on Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11 and will see the stunning country house hosting a Tudor banquet display, storytellers, music from Jane Austen’s time, Victorian craft making and carol singers as well as a visit from Father Christmas.

Bobbie Robertson, keeper at Temple Newsam has been helping to get the house ready over the past week, including putting up the spectacular 18 foot tree.

She said: “Temple Newsam is a place where magnificent Christmas celebrations have been hosted for hundreds of years and the festive season is always a very special time here.

“It’s aa huge job for us all putting up the tree and decorations but seeing the house look so amazing and watching visitors get a taste of what a traditional Tudor Christmas was like makes it all worthwhile.”

The estate’s Home Farm will also be hosting a living nativity, a 1940s Farm house and wreath making.

Tickets for the event are valid across the house and farm and cost £17 for families and £7.40 for adults.

There is an additional £4 charge for visits to Father Christmas, which can be booked in advance by calling 0113 336 7460.

From Tuesday, December 13 until Sat, December 17, visitors can also meet Father Christmas by the fire for £5 with no additional house admission charge.

Local people are invited to come and make traditional garlands that will hang in the house, using fresh foliage from the estate on December 8 from 10am until 3.30pm.

Other museums and galleries sites across Leeds will also be joining in the festive fun, with Kirkstall’s Abbey House Museum hosting a Santa’s Grotto for the first three weekends in December.

A visit to Santa costs £4.50, which includes a present, and is not included in general admission.

The museum’s Victorian streets will also be filled with the sound of carols on Saturday, December 10 at 2.30pm followed by crafts and music from December 20-23.

Visitors to Leeds Discovery Centre can also find out some of the winter stories linked to the centre’s huge collection on Wednesday, December 21 from 10am until 12pm as well as making their own artwork and cards. Call 0113 378 2100 to book.

Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills will be holding Victorian Christmas crafts throughout December where guests can make decorations and cards.

And Lotherton Hall’s new Christmas Experience will see the estate transformed into a festive wonderland until December 23, including a magical Twelve Days of Christmas walk, an Elf Village and Santa. For more details, visit thechristmasexperience.co.uk

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “Our museums and galleries sites undergo quite a remarkable transformation over the festive season, which brings centuries of Christmas history to life.

“It’s always very exciting to see families getting into the Christmas spirit at some of our city’s most beautiful and iconic places and this year we have more for visitors to enjoy than ever before.”

 Opening times at Temple Newsam House:

Tuesday1 November 2016 – Friday 10 February 2017

The House: Pre-booked visits and tours

Saturday 11 February 2017 – Sunday 29 October 2017

The House: Tues to Sun 10:30 to 17:00