Flint Cottage illuminated as part of Enlightened 2020

Hylands Estate is getting ready for its most magical Christmas season yet with everything from an expanded outdoor light trail and an artisan shopping evening, to yuletide afternoon teas and festive productions at Hylands House. It all starts later this month, so keep reading to find out what’s on.

Enlightened light trail returns

Enlightened came to Hylands last year and the imaginative light show was a big hit with visitors. It brings its sparkle back to Hylands Estate later this month with a new longer route and even more dazzling installations, transforming the historic parkland and elegant gardens of Hylands House into a twinkling Christmas trail.

Enlightened starts on 26 November and runs until 2 January and tickets must be pre-booked via Enlightened Moments. First entry is at 4.30pm and ticketholders won’t have to pay for parking at the estate. This year the trail starts from the Writtle entrance to the park (Greenbury Way, CM2 8FS).

Christmas shopping at The Stables

If you like to make an event of Christmas shopping, this could be the evening for you. On Wednesday 1 December The Stables will be hosting homegrown local businesses selling beautiful gifts and artisan food and drink. So whether you’re looking for a unique present or simply updating your decorations, Christmas at The Stables will have everything you need to make your December extra special.

Pick up your real Christmas tree from Chelmsford Roundtable, buy a beautiful wreath for your door from Chelmer Florists, and stock up on Christmas food and drink from vendors such as Chelmsford Brew Company, Sticky Pickle and Kelly Bronze turkeys to name just a few.

The Stables’ community of artists, designers, and makers will also be opening the doors to their studios and there’ll be live music and refreshments available from The Stables café and a range of other stallholders. The evening runs from 6pm until 10pm with free parking after 6. Keep an eye on the Hylands Estate Facebook page for the latest on what’s planned.

Christmas glass workshops

If you’d like to try your own hand at making decorations, acclaimed Hylands artist Mona Marnell’s Christmas glass workshops will get you making beautiful heirlooms to treasure in no time. Classes run during November and December at Mona’s studio in The Stables and there are different techniques like stained glass and warm glass to try. All the details can be found on Mona’s website along with booking links and a chance to see some of her work.

Christmas Open Estate Day

The last Open Estate Day of 2021, which takes place on 19 December, will have a very festive feel and Santa has promised to take a break from his workshop to stop by and say hello. The farmers’ market will have Christmas wreaths, mulled wine and a wide range of local produce, and live entertainment is planned for The Stables where the resident artists and makers will open their studios for the day.

Hylands House also opens its doors free of charge and December’s exhibition of Hylands history will be ‘Weddings and Royalty’. Walk through the neoclassical villa at your leisure or join a free guided tour at 10.30am.

The last Hylands House vintage afternoon tea of the year also takes place during Open Estate Day, with a Christmas twist to the menu and a musician playing a selection of seasonal tunes to get you in the mood for the holidays. There are vegetarian and vegan options too; fill in the reservation form on the Hylands Estate website if you’d like to book. Parking is included in the ticket price.

Shows at Hylands House

It wouldn’t be a Hylands Christmas without a performance or two and the Cameo Players are back with their popular Christmas Soirée between 6 and 8 December. This year audiences will be transported back to the Edwardian period as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson visit the Banqueting Room for ‘An Elementary Christmas’. Tickets can be pre-booked on Eventbrite and mulled wine and refreshments will be available in the interval.

For those of you for whom Christmas isn’t complete without at least one trip to see a panto, The Pantaloons Theatre Company cordially invites you to Prince Charming’s annual ball for their version of Cinderella on 28 and 29 of December. There are four performances of this traditional story with a twist set in the Grand Pavilion. Tickets start at £8 and can be booked on the Hylands Eventbrite page and free parking is included.

Stay up to date with the latest on events at Hylands Estate by signing up to their mailing list.

By Julie Weight

Julie writes stories and creates videos for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at julie.weight@chelmsford.gov.uk or on 01245 606984.

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