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Chronicle Live
Barbara Hodgson

National Trust festive opening times at Christmas and New Year in the North East

After the full-on blitz of Christmas, the lull of the few days before New Year can be a welcome respite, giving worn-out shoppers and festive chefs a chance to recharge their batteries and enjoy some calmer family time.

But often that doesn't last long as young ones are always on the go and eager to make the most of their time off school. So parents can find themselves taxed with thinking up new ideas to fill the day once the initial novelty of new gifts has worn off.

A day out with a winter walk in a lovely location is often top of the list for families and groups of friends and, while there are plenty of those to be had around the North East, National Trust locations across the region have the added attraction of festive displays and activities to enjoy too. We've pulled together a round-up of what popular sites currently have to offer with website links to check out details and costs.

Read more: Guide to North East pantos which continue into January

After closing for Christmas Day and Boxing Day - save for Gibside's annual festive trail which is open on December 26 and December 31 too - most reopen immediately after that and stay that way through the New Year, including on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day if you're looking for somewhere to while away a few hours.

Remember, it's always best to check with individual sites before planning a visit as opening times might differ for their various on-site attractions, such as the gardens - usually open even if the main property is closed - and cafe facilities. Last entry to a property tends to be half an hour earlier than the closing time.


Christmas at Gibside, Rowlands Gill near Gateshead, open up to January 1 (closed Christmas Day).

The after-dark light trail runs on selected dates - including Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year's Eve - with New Year's Day being its last. Featuring new installations such as a Snowflake Park alongside tunnels of light, giant baubles and illuminated trees, the trail is accompanied by seasonal music. For tickets see here and for more about visiting times to the rest of the Gibside site, including the gardens, see here.


Cambo, near Morpeth, in Northumberland, house open 11.30am-3.30pm (estate from 10am until 5pm) (closed Christmas Eve to Boxing Day then reopens December 27 through New Year).

The house is all dressed for Christmas and families can see how the season was celebrated throughout its history with themed displays featuring decorations from across the decades. Other attractions include thousands of twinkling icicle lights in the courtyard and a winter trail in the east woods, running until January 8, with Olly Owl and woodland friends. As well as there being reindeer in the north woods in the run-up to the big day, there is an illuminated giant reindeer, Magnificence, with a sleigh which visitors can sit in for photographs.

Between Christmas and New Year there will be live music in the house with a range of different musicians playing from December 27-30. On January 1, visitors will be able to welcome in the New Year with a professional pianist in action from 12noon to 3pm and prosecco will be on sale from the kitchen in the house. On January 8, a live band will play in the Central Hall. See here.

Seaton Delaval Hall

Seaton Sluice, Northumberland - open 11am-3pm (closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day and then closed Monday and Tuesdays from January 9).

Seasonal sparkle is included in the admission price of this popular site, which has under gone so much restoration work, and the simple pleasures of the festive season here include decorations and - in January - a free Christmas trail called Follow The Star. This will take place from January 3-8 around the gardens where families can follow the stars to find the next clue. See here.


Rothbury, near Morpeth, Northumberland, open 11am to 3pm (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

A festive Photo Station, open until January 2, offers a perfect opportunity for a seasonal snap. Families can explore the decorations around the ground floor of the house and there's also a Wish Tree in The Stables, where visitors can add their hopes and dreams for 2023 by writing them on one of the tags provided and hanging them on a branch. That's also there until January 2. See here.

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