Dickensian Christmas

For Adults & Children Alike

A whole day of activities for the whole family, 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. 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 Christmas Cottage setting.

"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. 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.

Learn to make Victorian style Christmas Decorations & Wreaths.

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 Dickesian Christmas

The Family

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 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, House-keeper and Cook with lesser staff below each of them.

The family and staff interaction 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

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.

Father Christmas

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.

Our family visited KH 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. There will be indoor activities and some of our outdoor activities can be moved inside if the weather fails us.

House, Garden & Farm

House, Gardens & Farm will all be fully open this weekend.

How long to spend?

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


We shall be be serving homemade lunches and teas in the Stableyard Restaurant.

There is a picnic site by the Main Gates, with a marvellous view of the house, for the really brave and hardy, however we do not allow picnics inside the grounds.

Tickets and Prices

Special Prices apply for this weekend - please see below. HHA visitors do not enjoy free entry during this weekend. On-line Tickets for this event are available for use on any one day of the event.
You don't have to buy tickets in advance and can usually be sure of buying tickets on entry.

No dogs are allowed within the grounds.

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.

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.

Your ticket price includes all activities listed above. The only extras will be anything you choose to buy from the tearoom or the gift shop!


Ticket Prices

TicketPriceOnline Price
Open on: 
Sat 12 December - Sun 13 December
Sat 19 December - Sun 20 December
Open times: 
See tickets
Number of Re-Creation Folk: 
20+ 'Victorians'
Amount of House open: 
  • A Dickensian Christmas at Kentwell Hall
  • Table set for Dickensian Christmas
    Table set for Dickensian Christmas
  • Family in the Great Hall at Dickensian Christmas
Anglian Business Green 100

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