CHRISTMAS has landed at National Trust places across the Dorset. With festive markets, winter illuminations, enchanted houses, fairy tale stories, handmade garlands, seasonal food and gifts, here’s what Christmas looks, feels, sounds, smells and tastes like in and around Dorset this year.


Join the Lord of Misrule for storytelling of Christmas, spices and medieval festivities at Corfe Castle, made magical by contemporary lighting, lanterns, beacons and braziers. For little ones, there are crafts, a Spices of Christmas Castle Quest, and a wishing bridge where your own wish can be added.


From wintry walks through Thorncombe Woods, to carol singing by the roaring fire, you can experience the tastes, sights and sounds of a traditional Victorian Christmas at Hardy’s Cottage in Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester. The cottage is decked with natural decorations of evergreen collected from the garden and surrounding woodlands. There are treats for you to sample, prepared by volunteers using traditional recipes. On selected dates, music and storytelling bring added warmth to this festive visit.


The lavishly decorated house in Wimborne tells the story of Edwardian Christmas traditions, drawing on the memories of former owner, Henrietta Bankes and her children.

The house brims with traditional decorations and sparkling trees inspired by the Christmases of the Bankes family, including modern installations created by two local artists. In the Drawing Room, open for the first time, precious items that the family made and gifted to each are on display.

After darkness, the garden is bathed in light: the light display takes inspiration from the stories of several members of the Bankes family.


A festive welcome awaits you in the house in Dorchester, decked out for a Victorian Christmas with traditional decorations. Craft activities for children as well as Mummers plays and musical performances on selected dates bring the festivities to life.


Winter walking and wildlife watching is on the agenda at Studland Bay. Brent geese are a common sight swimming just offshore, where they spend winters feeding on eelgrass, and along the water’s edge look out for sanderling: long legged, silvery-grey birds.

n See for more information.