I recently had quite a National Trust heavy weekend. I love having membership because it just means you can pop in whenever, without needing to spend a whole day. Upton House is 5 minutes drive away from us (really I should have cycled as it’s quite flat which makes a change), and when N wanted to go out on the farm all day, I decided to go and check out the Christmas displays and market at Upton.
After the splendour and amazing displays at Waddesdon Manor, I think I had got ahead of myself in my expectations. I’d not really thought about the fact that Upton House is currently set up in a 1940s war time way, as it would have been back then. So the displays were of the homemade variety – lots of newspaper paper chains amongst the tree and traditional baubles.
I did manage to get a quick ticket into the house because I’d seen the full display before and only wanted to whizz round. Despite how busy it was, there wasn’t a problem getting to see everything I wanted to.
It was lovely to see people there dressed in 1940s outfits. I thought they were volunteers, but a friend said they were a 1940s re-enactment group. So lots of people roaming around or sitting, just looking perfectly the part for the house and era.
The Christmas tree was beautiful…massive, and very glitzy with so many decorations and tinselly bits on. Less than minimal but great for the size of the room it was in.
This time, without young children with me, I found my way to the art gallery area. Upton House is well known for it’s important art collection which includes El Greco, lots of religious paintings, quite often with pieces being loaned to museums, such is the importance.
I didn’t take a walk around, remembering from last time that the gardens are almost bare over the winter months, with work being done on the mirror lake and the kitchen garden being pretty much empty. But there were Christmas stalls in the squash court and gallery – with some gorgeous vintage style hats, jewellery and more. The hats were too big for my head unfortunately because I spotted a couple that were gorgeous.
Heading back down the drive, there were also tents with stalls in. It was a shame they were all enclosed, presumably due to the wind, but I found a lovely wrap bracelet that actually went round my ‘fat’ wrist, and gazed longingly at these gorgeous feather corsages. I know I’d never wear one, but they were something a bit different.
It was a fleeting visit but just enough to get another hint of Christmas.
Do you go to National Trust properties for the Christmas events? Is your tree up already?
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