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What’s on at Delapre Abbey this Christmas?

Candlelit tours, a Christmas fair, wreath making and a host of festive workshops – step back in time and experience the magic of Christmas through the ages at Delapré Abbey, writes Jess Pilkington.

The 900-year-old Northampton-based historic home has this week unveiled its packed programme of ‘Stories of Christmas’ festive activities, set to run from 3rd to 18th December and 28th to 31st December.

Within two days of launching its Santa’s Grotto last week all its Santa slots sold out. So, to avoid disappointment families are urged to act quickly and book their favourite festive activities at the Abbey quickly. Pre-bookings are essential.

Delapré Abbey is committed to giving back to the community so this year, for the first time, the entry fee for the Christmas Fair will not be monetary. All Christmas Fair visitors are asked to bring in one item of canned or packaged food. All donated items will then be distributed to homeless charity Northampton Hope Centre and other local community groups.

Richard Clinton said: “It would all too easy, considering the challenges of Covid, to ease off on our festivities – but we are not. Everyone needs some festive cheer, this year more than most, so we are delighted to be offering such a varied programme and cannot wait to welcome you all to the Abbey.

“Our giant Christmas tree now has pride of place at the bottom of our sweeping staircase and the entire house will be dressed for Christmas for the whole of the month. So, as well as all laying on a host of festive events for the whole family we will be opening the house up – and children will be absolutely free.”

The Stories of Christmas activities include:

  • Christmas Fair
  • Wreath making
  • Candlelit Tours
  • Workshops with The Wild Tribe – see PDF
  • Workshops with Florry x 4

Faye Morrissey, Visitor Services Manager at Delapré Abbey, said: “Storytelling is such a huge part of the way we tell the history of Delapré Abbey, so we thought what better way to continue this than at Christmas.

“Our ‘Stories of Christmas’ themed activities will take visitors on a journey. People will be able to understand how winter celebrations first became established, how different generations of people may have experienced the festivities at Delapré Abbey, and how the method of storytelling has always been important at Christmas time.

“With the fire aglow, music and smells emanating throughout the building, along with decorations galore, it will be a real feast for the senses. “

Find out more about all the events and how to book here: https://delapreabbey.org/events


Christmas Fair

Saturday 5th, Sunday 6th, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th December, 10am – 4pm

Pick up unique, handmade gifts from carefully curated stalls in the inspiring surroundings of the historic Abbey. With food, children’s activities, and the historic house dressed for Christmas, there will be something for all ages.

Instead of an entry fee the Abbey is asking the public to donate an item of food – for community groups and charities.

Wreath making

Thursday 3rd, Friday 4th, Thursday 10th & Friday 11th December. There are three slots to book each day: 10.30am, 1.30pm, 4pm

The cost £20 per 1.5-hour session / maximum of 8 participants per session. This price includes tea/coffee and a slice of Christmas cake.

Make your own wreath using natural materials foraged from the grounds of Delapré Abbey.

You will learn the art of making a wreath from scratch using the natural bark Buff Willow as your base, and decorated with foliage including pinecones, fern, holly, and berries.  Secateurs will be provided but we recommend that you bring your own gloves (and own secateurs if you wish).

Stories of Christmas Candlelit Tours

Thursday 3rd, Wednesday 9th, Thursday 10th, Wednesday 16th & Thursday 17th December

Tours start at both 6pm and 7pm

The cost £15 per person / maximum of 10 people per tour. This price includes mulled wine and stollen.

Step back in time and soak up the stories, sights, sounds, and smells of 900 years of festivities. Once you step through the doors of the Abbey, you will be taken on journey discovering medieval, Tudor and Victorian traditions. Hear about the Abbey’s history and its people on an informative tour whilst exploring the nooks and crannies of this spectacular building.

Please stick to your bubbles of no more than six people and maintain social distancing throughout.

Workshops with The Wild Tribe (a nature-based workshop company)

A host of creative workshops (a maximum of eight people per workshop) will take place, ranging from £10 to £12:

December 8th, 11th , 13th :

  • 10am: Air Dry Clay Decorations
  • 12noon: Air Dry Clay Decorations
  • 2pm: Eco Cracker Making
  • 4pm: Eco Cracker Making

December 15th , 18th , 20th:

  • 10am: Winter Soap and Hand Sanitiser
  • 12noon: Winter Soap and Hand Sanitiser
  • 2pm: Festive Letters
  • 4pm: Festive Letters

There will also be drop-in wrapping paper making sessions and takeaway craft packs.

Workshops with floral experts Florry

Choose from one of four workshops:

  • Christmas Table Arrangement: Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th December 10:30am. £30 for 1.5 hours.
  • Festive Mantelpiece Design: Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th December 2pm. £35 for two hours.
  • Christmas Hand-Tied Bouquet: Friday 18th and Saturday 19th December 10:30am. £50 for two hours.
  • Christmas Floral Centrepiece: Friday 18th and Saturday 19th December 2pm. £40 for two hours.

Step inside the house

See the giant Christmas tree, sat at the bottom of a sweeping staircase, and wander from room to room, with the entire house dressed for Christmas for the whole of the month. Children are free and admission is £8 for adults. Tuesdays to Fridays. Timed admission from 11am.

To book tickets please visit delapreabbey.org.

All events are Covid-safe. Delapré Abbey is an accredited member of Visit England’s Good to Go scheme, demonstrating the Abbey’s adherence to Government and public health guidance.

Delapré Abbey is a registered charity which relies upon income raised from activities to support its work in the community.


I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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