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8 pretty Somerset stately homes and gardens to visit this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 11:45 17 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:45 17 November 2017

Dunster by Candlelight (c) Craig Stone

Dunster by Candlelight (c) Craig Stone

Craig Stone

Magnificent architecture, rich in history and truly stunning, stately homes and gardens provide a delightful day out for visitors. Somerset boasts plenty, and we bring you 8 of the most special locations to visit this Christmas

Montacute House

With its towering walls of glass, ham stone and surrounding scenic gardens, Montacute House is a place of beauty and wonder. Sir Edward Phelips was behind the impressive architecture of the building, while William Arnold was responsible for building a house that expressed wealth, ambition and showmanship.

There’s plenty to explore at Montacute House; marvel at over 60 Tudor and Elizabethan portraits in the Long Gallery or explore the beautiful gardens against a misty winter backdrop. On winter weekends, every Saturday and Sunday from December 2 and 31 except for December 24, expect the House to be lit with glowing colour and the Courtyard Café to offer plenty of tasty seasonal treats.

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Dunster Castle

Sat upon a steep hill, among a forest of ash and fir trees, rests Dunster Castle, an imposing structure with a medieval gatehouse and ruined tower. The castle that stands today became a lavish country home during the 19th century for the Luttrell family, who lived there for over 600 years.

Soak in the history of Dunster Castle and the beauty of its gardens this Christmas, with plenty of festive events taking place in December. Enjoy Dunster by Candlelight on Friday and Saturday December 1 and 2 where the Castle will be decorated for Christmas with live music performances and delicious festive food. Or partake in an illuminated winter walk round the castle and grounds, and admire the architecture in a breathtaking glow.

Forde Abbey

Dating back almost 900 years, Forde Abbey and its surrounding 30 acres of landscaped gardens, is a truly mesmerising spot to explore, with interesting transformations captured throughout its long time in existence. Although located in Dorset, the Abbey and Gardens holds a postal address in Chard.

Forde Abbey is preparing to get festive with an enchanting illluminated trail around the gardens from Thursday December 7 to Thursday December 21. The long borders and champion trees will bask in beautiful colour, and create a magical glow around the Abbey and Gardens.

Tyntesfield

Just a short drive from Bristol lies the stunning Victorian landmark of Tyntesfield House, nestled among gorgeous gardens and parkland. Built to simply serve as a family home for the Gibbs family, there’s plenty to unearth about the four generations of the family whilst you admire the location.

Marvel at the intricate Gothic carvings that adorn the house, and embrace the spectacular winter atmosphere as the mist lingers in the air against the flora, the empty lake, woodland and still in use kitchen garden. Over the festive period, experience Christmas past as you join the Gibbs family and their servants for events including wreath making, carriage rides to meet Father Christmas or music from the Christmas choirs in Tyntesfield’s beautiful chapel.

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Barrington Court

Barrington Court, a Tudor manor with breathtaking gardens and working orchards, has been in the Lyle family since the 1920s where it was saved from ruin and renovated to the structure standing today. The estate is unlike many; it’s free from collections and furniture allowing visitors to let their imaginations run wild with what may have gone on over the years there. The famous garden designer Getrude Jekyll was consulted on the garden’s layout, and her inspiration can still be admired today.

From Friday December 1, embrace the festivities as Barrington Court will be full of festive decorations, twinkling white lights and the gorgeous aroma of mulled cider. Father Christmas will even be making an appearance on the weekends to hand out gifts to little ones.

Prior Park Landscape Garden

Renowned for its impressive views over the beautiful Bath skyline, a stroll round the 18th century Prior Park Landscape Garden is a perfect way to while away a winter afternoon. Gather your loved ones, wrap up warm and soak in the beauty of the gardens, and cross the stunning Palladian Bridge, one of four of that design in the world.

This year the team at Prior Park Landscape Garden will be working with Sound UK to bring an after-dark trail of light and sound from Friday December 15 to Sunday December 17. Wrap up warm, enjoy a mince pie and mulled wine, and enjoy the stunning illuminations that will fill the gorgeous garden.

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Combe Sydenham Hall

Boasting a deer park and opportunity for woodland rambles in its 500 acre estate, buried in an Exmoor valley, Combe Sydenham Hall is a beautiful Tudor manor house that is a wonder to explore.

Lose yourself in the glorious countryside that surrounds the property, and book a tour of the Hall to learn of its rich history and see mementos of Francis Drake’s marriage to Sir George Sydenham’s daughter that reside there.

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Kings Weston House

For a fun-filled evening, set in a stunning location, look no further than a Christmas in style party at Kings Weston House, Bristol. Designed by Sir John Vanburgh, who also designed Blenheim Palace near Oxford, Kings Weston House is a treasure of 18th century features including marble fireplaces, high ceilings and a suspended central staircase.

The granduer of Kings Weston House would make for the ultimate Christmas party - see more details here.

Looking for the perfect gift idea this Christmas? Click here to treat yourself or a loved one to a subscription to Somerset Life from just £11.50!

There’s plenty more to see and do in the county this Christmas...

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