Kentwell's Magical Christmas

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A Magical, Festive Day for the Whole Family

Kentwell's Magical Christmas is a day of activities for the whole family. Enjoy our insights into Victorian Life. Parents (and grandparents) find it a stimulating place to take children at Christmas-time to enjoy the festive spirit. There is a whole range of activities, topped off by perhaps the best Father Christmas in the region, in a suitable Christmas Cottage setting.

  • Victorian Household - the family and the Staff
  • Victorian Villagers - how the 'other half' lived!
  • Music Hall
  • Magic Show
  • Mr Dickens presents: A Christmas Carol
  • Family Crafts
  • Father Christmas
  • Victorian Tavern
  • Tearoom
  • Carols by Lantern at 4pm

"Even though we thought the tickets were quite expensive, it was very good value. It really was a whole day's worth of entertainment and activities."

Spend A Day in the Age of Dickens

Charles Dickens was much responsible for creating our modern idea of Christmas.

Enter the event during a chosen time band and thereafter spend the rest of your day 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 do, you may be occupied for the whole day.

See how the House is set up for Christmas in Victorian style, with traditional Victorian decorations - no fairy-lights here! Meet the Victorian family as it portrays life at a great country house then. Different activities happen at different times of day. Experience the Upstairs/Downstairs life of those in service to a Victorian family.

Kentwell's Stableyard Tearoom will be open all day, serving refreshments throughout the day. Lunches will also be available.

Learn to make Victorian style Christmas Decorations which you can take away to decorate your own house.

Visit perhaps the best Father Christmas in the region - in his romantic and atmospheric Cottage.

I visited the Dickensian event yesterday with my family and just wanted to say how very much we enjoyed the Victorian Christmas. Very authentic and lots of fun. The lunch was excellent, Christmas Carol was amazing, Father Christmas was just lovely, and his little cottage. The house looked so beautiful and to end our visit the Christmas Carols.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas Crafts, the children (and I) were so pleased with our decorations and we have put them on our tree.  Amazing!

I do hope everyone enjoys their visit as much as we did. I am sure it took an enormous amount of hard work and effort to put it on and get everything ready.  A truly wonderful start to Christmas.

with good wishes, Christine

A Kentwell Dickensian Christmas set in 1869

The Family

In 1869, Capt. and Mrs Bence lived at the Hall with their five children.

The 'family' and their guests will be enjoying the festive season. See the huge tree in the Great Hall, decorated in Victorian-style and join in with traditional games and activities there.

The Household

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, Housekeeper and Cook, each with lesser staff below each of them.

We hear that the Housekeeper is looking to engage some new staff members - girls to be housemaids and boys to be hall boys. Come for an interview and try your hand at some work!

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 will also be preparing all kinds of suitable and traditional 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 an abridgement of 'A Christmas Carol', narrated by Mr Dickens himself. He is assisted by Scrooge and other characters to produce a performance using clever Victorian illusions which bring the story of the ghosts and spirits to life, and which confound and entertain the audience.

Music Hall and Tavern

Music Hall became the entertainment of the Victorian era. Here in the the House's little Overcroft theatre, Capt Bence has invited local amateur performers to create Music Hall performances for his friends, staff and villagers. The show will include popular music hall songs, interspersed with readings and recitations and 'The Great Edmundo' will amaze children with his conjuring.

Why not visit the Rose and Crown Tavern before or after your visit to the Music Hall? Enjoy a tankard of beer or a glass of mulled wine while you play some authentic table games.

Making Christmas Items

In those days, most families made their own decorations. Under skilled guidance, visitors and their children will be able to make a whole range of traditional and simple Christmas items to take home and hang on their own tree.

The Christmas Courtyard

The Tudor Stables becomes a magical Christmas Courtyard, with a large, lit Christmas Tree as the focal point. This is the romantic location for the Carols by Lanternlight, at 4pm, as well as home to family activities during the daytime.

Visit Mother Christmas to write your letters to Father Christmas, or put your Christmas wishes on a label to add to the wishing tree. Father Christmas has lost his keys - can you help to find them in the mirror maze?

Among the various room sets, you will even find a sledge to sit in to use the new-fangled medium of photography to picture your family in a festive setting!

Father Christmas

Visitors may visit our genuine Finnish Father Christmas in his atmospheric ancient Cottage to tell him their wishes and for young children to receive a present.

Our family visited Kentwell on Sunday. What a superb time we had. Everything was just beautifully done - and so delightful to find something that had not been homogenised for the commercial market. I'd like to thank and congratulate your volunteers - a truly lovely glimpse of an olde Christmas.  And as for Father Christmas... he is the best FC ever (even if my 4 year old went shy)!

Thank you for a great day - Ursula


Please do not think that Kentwell is just a fair weather visit - we carry on whatever the weather.

How long to spend?

Most people arrive early in their time-band and aim to spend most of the day here - there is so much to do and see.


We shall be be serving Refreshments throughout the day.

Please do not attend in Costume!

We ask that visitors to any Kentwell event do not attend in any sort of costume.

Tickets and Prices

Special Prices apply for this weekend - please see below. HHA visitors do not enjoy free entry during this weekend. Buy your tickets on-line at discounted prices in advance of your visit.

Some tickets may be available on the day at the door but check before travelling. However, we recommend that you book in advance to avoid disappointment.

No dogs are allowed within the grounds. Free parking.

Please note: on-line tickets must be booked before the day of your visit.

The ticket price is all-inclusive; it includes all activities listed above - except for catering.

Choose your arrival time-band - this is the time at which you will enter the event. You are then welcome to stay until we close at 5pm.

Ticket Prices

TicketOn-the-Day Price (if available)Online Price
Adult - from£25.00£22.50
Senior - from£24.00£21.50
Older Child (4-15yrs) - from£18.00£15.50
Younger Child (18mths- 3yrs) - from£9.95£7.95
Child under 18 monthsfreefree
Open on: 
Sat 10 December - Sun 11 December
Sat 17 December - Sun 18 December
Open times: 
See tickets
Number of Re-Creation Folk: 
50+ 'Victorians'
Amount of House open: 
  • Candlelit Carol procession
    The Candlelit Carols Procession
  • A Dickensian Christmas at Kentwell Hall
  • 'The Great Edmundo'
  • Table set for Dickensian Christmas
    Table set for Dickensian Christmas
  • The Rose and Crown Tavern
Anglian Business Green 100

All images and text © Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, Suffolk CO10 9BA