A Dickens Christmas in England

If you’re lucky enough to get to London or its environs this Christmas season, you might harbor a secret wish to step into 19th Century London, that magical and, well, rustic place portrayed in the pages of Charles’ classic “A Christmas Carol.”

Well, what’s stopping you?  These days England abounds with a variety of venues where Dickens’ classic period comes to life, complete with costumed characters, storefronts, and all of the Christmas trimmings.  Here are just a few.  (and thinking of booking a flight that direction?  Check out our post about Wow Airline’s amazing European airfares)

At the stunning Chatsworth Estate, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire dress up the old mansion in real style.  Each room is dedicated to one of his novels set in the 19th century, and allows the ardent Dickens fan to experience Scrooge in his bed, Victorian store fronts, and some really spectacularly decorated Christmas Trees.

At the Grassington Festival, the village of Grassington in Yorkshire transforms itself during the first two weekends of December into a Christmas wonderland.  Shopkeepers and villagers dress in period costume and the town is filled with Christmas market stalls.  It is truly Victorian Christmas with all of the trimmings.  You can sample roasted chestnuts, listen to carolers and roving bands, and take in performances drawn from the pages of Dickens’ novels.  Grassington is proud of their festival, and rightfully so!

If you want a classic old English scene, complete with moated castle (yes, that’s a term) and Victorian trimmings galore, head out of London to Kentwell Hall in the Suffolk countryside, where the grand old mansion and its denizens are decked out as they would have been (and, actually were) in the year 1869.  Yes, that means the downstairs crew fixing sumptuous meals for the great family upstairs, and a general bustle of the holiday season in the days of yore.  The Dickensian Christmas at Kentwell includes tea and munchies in the stableyard tearoom, and a crafts area where you can fashion, and take home, a Victorian style Christmas decoration for your own, somewhat more modest, home.  And, don’t miss the daily readings from “A Christmas Carol” put on in one of the spectacularly decorated rooms of this grand Tudor house.

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