For Adults & Children Alike
Kentwell's Dickensian Christmas is just the place for everyone. Adults enjoy our insights into Victorian Life. Parents (and grandparents) find it the ideal place to take children at Christmas-time. No commercialism here - just a stimulating and enjoyable festive spirit. Here you'll find not only many elements of Victorian life but perhaps the best Father Christmas in the region in a suitable Cottage setting.
Spend A Day in the Age of Dickens
Charles Dickens was much responsible for creating our modern idea of Christmas. Kentwell's Dickensian Christmas takes you back to the Dickens era. Enter during a chosen time band and thereafter spend hours in Victorian England. Best to come early so as not to miss any of it. You don't have to do or see everything but if you may be occupied for several hours.
See how the House is set up for Christmas in Victorian style: meet the Victorian family as it portrays life at a great country house then - different things happen at different times of day. See how the Victorians prepared & decorated their House for Christmas. Experience the Upstairs/Downstairs life of those in service to a Victorian family.
Take Luncheon or Afternoon Tea in the Victorian Tearooms - pre-book a two or three course lunch, or afternoon tea.
Learn to make Victorian style Christmas Decorations & Wreaths.
Visit perhaps the best Father Christmas in the region - in his romantic and atmospheric Cottage.
Victorians & Christmas
The Victorians invented what we think of as the 'traditional' Christmas of today.
The Puritans in the 17th C. had tried (with some success) to abolish it altogether. We owe its revival and modern mode principally to Prince Albert and Charles Dickens. Prince Albert made much of Christmas and introduced several traditions from his native Germany including Christmas Trees and their decoration.
Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol helped to create the goodwill spirit of Christmas.
Other Victorians gave us Christmas Cards, Christmas Crackers and many of our best known Carols.
A Kentwell Dickesian Christmas
Setting up the House
Kentwell is a Tudor House but its interior was improved in the 1820s in the then popular part Tudor part Jacobean style which became very popular later in the century.
So in that sense the interior is both Tudor and Victorian. Other areas still retain their Georgian embellishments. That forms a good basis for us to set up the whole House Victorian Style.
Capt. and Mrs Bence lived at the Hall with their five children.
They and a few cousins and visitors make our Gentry family. Gentlemen then tended to keep very much to themselves except at mealtimes, spending much time out of the house on business, estate matters or hunting & shooting.
The ladies domain was the Drawing Room where they entertained especially with the recently introduced custom of afternoon tea.
Younger children were occasionally seen but not much heard, spending time in the School Room or Nursery with their Governess or Nursemaid. Older children were tutored in a number of skills. Boys went away to boarding school while girls were educated at home.
The Bence family was very typical of an upper class family in having about twice as many staff to look after the family as there were in the family. Superior servants were the Butler, House-keeper and Cook with lesser staff below each of them.
The family and staff inter-action illustrate the differences between upstairs and downstairs and some of the tensions this created. Though staff in a great house had much better lives than one or two staff in lesser houses.
The Victorian Kitchen
Here the Cook rules! As well as preparing meals for the Family, the Nursery and both Upper & Lesser Staff every day, at this time of year the cooks have also to think about preparing all kinds of suitable dishes for Christmas.
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens gave public readings of many of his works, of which A Christmas Carol was especially popular, particularly at this season of the year. Kentwell presents its own Mr Dickens reading an abridgement of that tale assisted by our Scrooge and a tableaux using clever Victorian illusions to bring the story of the ghosts and spirits to life and to confound viewers.
Music Hall became the entertainment of the Victorian era.
Here in the the House's little private theatre, Capt Bence has invited local amateur performers to create Music Hall performances for his friends, staff and villagers. Visitors are welcome and can spend half an hour there being entertained by speciality acts including songs made famous by the likes of Marie Lloyd and George Leybourne, all under the watchful direction of our Chairman.
The Great Edmundo will amaze children with his conjuring.
Making Christmas Items
In Victorian times, although it was becoming possible to buy Christmas decorations, most families made what they needed for themselves. Under skilled guidance visitors and their children will be able to make a whole range of traditional and simple Christmas items that they can hang on their own tree. At extra cost can learn how to make their own wreath to hang on their door.
Nowadays people think Father Christmas and Santa Claus are one and the same. Not so; they were two different characters who have now become mixed up into one. Father Christmas is an ancient English character. Santa Claus, a rendering of Saint Nicholas, was the continental, particularly Dutch, version.
Visitors may visit our genuine Finnish Father Christmas in his atmospheric ancient Cottage to tell him their wishes and for children to receive a present.
|Tickets available later in the year|