This Christmas, visitors to Speke Hall are being given a unique opportunity to take a festive journey back in time as the National Trust property is transformed by the sights, sounds and scents of a traditional Victorian Christmas.
Between 29 November and 15 December, the 500-year-old house will open its doors on weekends for a festive family experience with plenty of fun and activities taking place both inside and out. Families can explore a winter wonderland in the grounds, including a wildlife trail, carol-singing choirs outside Home Farm restaurant and sugar mice making in the Education Room.
photo by Samantha Brown
Inside the house, visitors will be enchanted by traditional handmade garlands displayed across the entire ground floor and a glittering Christmas tree in the Great Hall. Kids will be entertained by a fun indoor trail to spot Speke Hall’s mice preparing for their own festivities too. For those who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the family weekends, the house will also be opened for Festive Fridays on 29 November and 6 & 13 December. This is a quieter version of the property’s Christmas celebrations, with special events to enjoy including William Morris-inspired paper decoration workshops and a harpist playing festive music in the Great Hall.
“Speke Hall is always so magical at Christmas,” says Catherine Jackman, Visitor Experience Manager. “This year’s traditional Victorian Christmas is going to be an unforgettable experience for both adults and children alike. Our group of dedicated volunteers have spent the last two weeks creating metres and metres of joyful fresh garlands, and we can’t wait to show them off and take our visitors back in time to experience how Speke’s Victorian family and servants would have prepared for Christmas.”
photo by Alexandra Muir
This year, because the decorated house is always such a popular sight, Speke Hall have introduced a new timed ticket entry to the house to avoid long queues and give as many people as possible the chance to enter. They are encouraging visitors to arrive early to guarantee entry and make the most of their day out. Speke Hall’s Home Farm restaurant will be open every day serving up delicious Christmas-time specials including traditional Christmas dinners at weekends, while the property’s shop will be selling unique and thoughtful gifts not found on the high street to buy just in time for Christmas Day.
Speke Hall is open every day of the week for winter walks in the garden and grounds, eating and shopping at Home Farm and outdoor family adventures in the play areas. The property is fully closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Normal property admission prices apply. Entry is free for National Trust members and under 5s. Visit Speke Hall’s website for more information.
What’s on listings
Festive Fridays – 29 November and 6 & 13 December
William Morris paper decoration workshops
Indulge in your creative side in a William Morris-inspired paper decoration workshop to make a festive ornament to take home. 10.30am-3.30pm
Harpist in the Great Hall
Listen to festive sounds performed by a harpist under the glittering Christmas tree in the Great Hall. 12-3.30pm.
Brisk Bund Walk
Join a friendly member of the Speke Hall team for a winter walk along the Bund to catch unbeatable views of the River Mersey and spot local wildlife. Meet at Home Farm restaurant at 11am.
photo by Arnhel de Serra
Family Christmas weekends – 30 November and 1, 7, 8, 14, 15 December
Sugar mice making
Try your hand at creating a sugar mouse, a delightful Victorian Christmas tradition, to take home for your own tree or enjoy as a festive treat. 10.30am-3.30pm.
Hear your favourite Christmas carols sung by local choirs outside Home Farm restaurant. 10.30am-4pm.
Merry Mice indoor trail
Explore the house to find eight merry mice preparing for their own version of Christmas at Speke Hall. Find them all and collect your sticker reward. 12pm-3.30pm.
Winter Wildlife trail
Grab a trail map from Reception to follow a fun trail through the grounds to spot bustling birds and bugs preparing for winter. 10.30am-4pm.
Solve mysteries with Sherlock Holmes on Sundays 1 and 8 December at 1.30pm & 2.30pm or meet Dickens’ most miserable character Scrooge on Sunday 1, Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 December at 11am & 12pm for a fun tour experience.