Christmas in Wonderland at Doddington Hall

Doddington Hall is a large mansion or ‘prodigy house’ built between 1593 and 1600 by Robert  Smythson, one of England’s most renowned Elizabethan architects. It is situated in the village of Doddington in Lincolnshire, just outside the historic city of Lincoln. The hall is complete with a gate house and lovely gardens, including a walled garden, and has remained in the same family for 400 years. The Hall itself is surrounded by the extensive Doddington Estate, part of which is devoted to the sustainable growing of several species of Christmas trees which are sold on the site every year.

This year, Doddington Hall is once more open to the public for the festive season, decorated with another Christmassy theme. It is open from November 25 – December 22 and, for the first time, it will also be open on December 28 and 29. Last year the theme was A Fairytale Christmas (which I wrote about here) and the 2017 theme is Christmas in Wonderland – meaning the Wonderland from the Lewis Carroll story of Alice in Wonderland.

Alice Falling Down the Rabbit Hole. Image from Shutterstock

On our approach to the hall was an unusual sleigh pulled by unicorns.

This is not as strange as it may seem, considering that unicorns are on the family crest, and there are topiary unicorns to welcome visitors at the front entrance. On the front door was a Christmas wreath, in keeping with this year’s theme, in which TIME plays a dominant part, thanks to the White Rabbit’s obsession with it.

Once through the door, we were straight into the Great Hall, which this year is devoted to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Image courtesy of Pixabay

The long table in the middle was set out with colourful foods, and sleeping in a teapot we found the Dormouse. Side tables displayed a variety of decorative objects associated with the tea party, some of them created from newspaper:

The next room we entered on the ground floor was decorated with all things pertaining to the White Rabbit. Watches and clocks seemed to dominate the room, not to mention the wonderful  papier maché version of the White Rabbit himself:

From there we headed out to the ground floor hall, where a table invited us to eat and drink…

Naturally, we declined the kind offers of refreshment and headed for the stairs, all aptly decked out with roses and playing cards, all the way up to the top floor:

The first room we entered on the first floor was the Queen of Hearts’ bedroom, complete with the necessary jam tarts:

Also on this floor was  what we called the Roses Room. Painting the Roses Red is a song featured in the 1951 Disney film of Alice in Wonderland.

We carried on up the stairs to the top (second) floor, where we found a dodo waiting for us. The photo is a bit ‘glary’ but it’s the only one we took.

One room on this floor was dedicated to the hookah-smoking Caterpillar, known for repeating the question Whooo Are Youuu?

Alice in Wonderland by Arthur Rackham: Advice From a Caterpillar. Public Domain

Lastly, we had a look in the Long Gallery which is also on the top floor. Last year this room was dedicated to the Ice Queen. The snowy woodland scene was similar this year, minus the purple lights, but instead of the Ice Queen’s throne was a display of flamingos. Small flamingos also hung on the trees in place of Christmas baubles. (Flamingos are the birds used by the Queen of Hearts in a croquet game).

One room wasn’t open when we were there as some of the ‘elf helpers’ hadn’t arrived. Perhaps some of the characters from the story that we couldn’t find were in there – including the Cheshire Cat. But as we were going on to see the pantomime, Aladdin, later on, we hadn’t time to wait and see.


26 thoughts on “Christmas in Wonderland at Doddington Hall

    1. It’s amazing to see the way these stately homes are decorated for Christmas. We particularly like Doddington Hall because the decorations are always based on a fun theme. Have a lovely Christmas, Irina. I hope to be on my blog a little more often soon. 😀

      1. Yes, we had a lovely Christmas, too, thank you, Irina, and 2018 is not so far away now. Let’s hope it’s a good one for us all and the world becomes a more peaceful place. Happy New Year! ❤

    1. Hi Michael. It’s lovely to ‘see’ you again and, yes, Doddington Hall is a great place to visit. In summer the gardens are beautiful. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, too. 😀

    1. Thanks Derrick. We’ve been to Doddington Hall may times now and have bought our Christmas tree from there you years! The themed Christmas displays are always so well done and involve many groups and individuals from around Lincoln. 😀

    1. I remember you commenting on my post about Doddington Hall last year, Ali. You seemed quite drawn to a pretty elf. Unfortunately, we got there this year just as the Hall opened, and the elves hadn’t arrived. It would be interesting to know whether that particular little elf was there again. Anyway, thank you for the nice comment. I’m not sure whether Lou will post any more of her photos, but she has some lovely ones.
      Have a wonderful Christmas with your family. 😀

    1. Hi Annika. Doddington Hall is popular with people from around the country, in both summer and winter. The Christmas trees are excellent and we’ve bought ours from there for many years. Yes, unfortunately, these kind of posts do take time to do, especially with all the photos to edit and resize. I really ought to cut down on the number of photos I include! Have an amazing Christmas, too, Annika, and a very successful 2018 with you book. 😀

    1. Hi Lorraine. Yes, I think Alice in Wonderland is very popular with many of us. The sheer fantasy of the story draws us in and the characters are all so memorable. Merry Christmas to you and your family. 😀

  1. Oh Millie, what an absolutely enchanting post and a fairytale place to visit. The work involved setting the place up like you showed in your photographs is simply ‘mind boggling’. Thank you from my heart for taken this trouble of doing this splendid post again this time.
    Across the oceans I am sending you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas, full of joy, happiness and peace. – Carina

    1. Thank you, Carina. Doddington Hall is always a lovely place to visit but at Christmas, the owners really ‘go to town’ on the decorations. The work involves many skilled groups and individuals and the themes are always seasonal and wonderful for children and adults alike. Alice in Wonderland is one of those amazing stories that so many people love. I’m glad you liked my post, Carina, and wish you and your family a truly lovely Christmas, however you spend it all those miles away. ❤

  2. Such a magnificent and stately mansion amazingly decorated for this festive Season,dear Millie.Thank you for showing us around and for sharing all those storytelling photos and the splendid mosaics.Enjoy all the Joys of the Season.Wishing you & your family a Wonderful Christmas & a Prosperous New Year filled with Love,Peace,Happiness & Health 🙂 ❤ xxx

  3. Many thanks for your kind wishes, Doda, and I wish you the same. What more could each of us ask for than love, peace, happiness and health? I hope to be on my blog a little more next year. This year has not been a happy one for us as we’ve had so many family illnesses to deal with. We’re all being very positive and hoping the new year will be a joyful one. Sending my love and greetings to you over the miles. I hope to read your latest post as soon as I have some peace and quiet from my noisy family. 😀 ❤

  4. They always make a big effort at Doddington and a visit there transports us into Fairyland for a while. The snow room was impressive, but it wasn’t as ‘magical’ as last year, when the Ice Queen hovered and purple lights made the room amazing. Have a truly fabulous New Year, Inese. We’re hoping to get across to Ireland at some stage next year, so fingers crossed nothing else happens to stop us! ❤

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