A Celebration of Christmas Trees at Doddington Hall

Doddington Hall is situated in the Lincolnshire village of Doddington, about seven miles from the city of Lincoln. It was built between 1593 and 1600 by Robert Smythson, one of England’s most renowned architects.  The Hall has a large estate on which Christmas trees are grown and a careful programme of planting/replanting is carried out. We have bought our tree from here for many years now.


For the past six or seven years Doddington Hall has opened its doors for the Christmas season, this year from November 25 to December 23. The rooms are decorated to a particular festive theme each year, this year ‘s being simply, Christmas at Doddington. Last year the theme was Christmas in Wonderland, which can be seen here  and the previous year’s was A Fairytale Christmas, here. Both were a delight to see.
Christmas trees were first planted at Doddington 60 years ago and this year’s theme in is celebration of that, with decorations inspired by the carol O Christmas Tree. A great selection of Christmas trees adorn the rooms and hallways, all different in size and shape, and each decorated differently by using an incredible array of objects and materials. Some of the ‘trees’ are actual trees, others are created from either natural vegetation or seasonal/festive items such as drinking glasses and wine bottles. It’s all very colourful and in keeping with the Georgian ‘feel’ of the hall – the period in which Doddington was refurbished in the style it still looks today. And once through the front door, passing a tiny ‘tree’ decorated with good old Brussels Sprouts!. . .

. . . we’re straight into the large dining room.Here are some photos of how it looks this year. Most of the small ‘trees’ are along the dining table, others:

By the entrance to the hall from the dining room is a little room in which we found another ‘tree’ made of bottles, these containing varying amounts of liquids – presumably of the original wine, spirit or liqueur:

Also on the ground floor was the parlour, an interesting room, in keeping with Victorian  entertainments and parlour games, as played following the popularising of the Christmas tree by Prince Albert in 1840.

Waiting in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs was a very smiley and welcoming ‘Head Elf’. . .

. . . who we had a little chat with before heading up the impressive staircase. . .

. . . to reach the first and second floors – with Christmas trees hanging on the landings between:

On the first floor landing itself was… yes!… another tree! A real spruce this time:

 On this floor there were three rooms open to the public, although we took no photos in one because it was too dark, and we assumed flash photography wasn’t allowed. One room was a small child’s bedroom, in which was a Scots Pine Christmas tree:

The other room on this floor served is the drawing room (or, withdrawing room) – to which genteel ladies would retreat after dinner, leaving the men to talk politics – or whatever! This room was very unusual, in that a number of ladies’ dresses had been created out of… yes, again!… Christmas trees (real ones), along with other bird-inspired decorations:

Eventually we got to the second/top floor, passing on the landing en-route a Christmas tree hanging from the ceiling to display its roots!

There are two rooms on view at the ‘ top’. One was decorated to show the inside of an Egyptian tent – a real one, too. The tree was lovely, displaying colourful roses, made of  thin card, as far as we could tell. We wondered whether the ‘roses’ were to represent  ‘sand roses’ found in desert environments:

This is a little bit about the actual tent (not the roses) from a much longer piece in the room:

The tent was made around 1880 in Cairo, where similar tents are still used today for weddings, festivals and fairs. It was given to Doddington by Viscount Harry Crookshank, who was MP for (nearby) Gainsborough for over 31 years, until 1961. He was born in Cairo, where his father was Surgeon General and the tent was part of his father’s ‘Eastern Curiosities’.

Lastly is the largest upstairs room, This year it displayed models of a village and nearby railway on a Christmas Eve.

Doddington  Hall at Christmas is a delight for people of all ages to soak up the historic, Christmassy atmosphere. At £11 per adult and £5.50 per child (under 3 years free and  family entry £29) it isn’t particularly cheap. But for the time and energy that the staff put into these displays, it’s well worth a visit. Bookings can also be made for children to visit Father Christmas in his grotto on certain days.

**********

About milliethom

I am a reader and writer of historical fiction with a keen interest in the Earth's history and all it involves, both physically and socially. I like nothing better than to be outdoors, especially in faraway places, and baking is something I do when my eyes need respite from my computer screen.
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31 Responses to A Celebration of Christmas Trees at Doddington Hall

  1. Thank you for taking us on this incredible tour, Millie. Doddington Hall looks like a magical place. Your photos are fantastic!

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you, Jill, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Doddington Hall is impressive anyway, but at Christmas the owners, staff and volunteers really “go to town” to make it so atmospheric. 😀

  2. A truly magical place, thank you Millie!

  3. Jeanne says:

    Magical indeed…simply marvelous…my favorite is the tree and roots suspended from the ceiling…how delightful. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I can only imagine the hours to set up such a wonderful display. I love the paper roses, they are a work of art unto themselves. Thank you for the tour.

    • milliethom says:

      Yes, I know from what s been said in past years that the planning starts months before, as does the recruitment of volunteers from places like Lincoln University and other colleges, or just known local creatives. Some of the artwork is very impressive. I agree, the roses are wonderful! Thanks, Jo.

  5. Great tour Millie. Thank you.

  6. Joy Pixley says:

    So many trees, how fun! Thanks for letting us tag along on such an interesting tour. I loved the food trees the most (naturally) — carrots on a tree? Who would ever have thought? And having grown up in walnut country, I especially liked the walnut tree. My first thought on seeing all those trees on the dining table was that you couldn’t possible actually *dine* with those huge centerpieces blocking your view! Of course, it’s all for show, I realized, which is abundantly clear when we get to the “skirts” made out of trees. Can you imagine walking in something like that? Sitting down? And heaven forbid if you have to use the facilities, my goodness! 😀

  7. milliethom says:

    Hi, Joy, I thought the carrot decorations were hilarious when I first saw them but, considering the variety of decorations around the hall, I suppose they aren’t out of place. Walnuts won’t be anything special to you, then? We do see walnut trees in England, but they aren’t that common. And yes, it’s all for show. The Christmas tree dresses were an incredible idea from some imaginative person. There were also 3 ‘skirts’ in that room (to ‘fit’ a man, woman and child) that people could dress up in and have photos take – complete with supplied period wig. I didn’t put them on my post although I do have photos of them. All in the name of fun! 😀

  8. leggypeggy says:

    Wonderful tour of this magical place. Also liked seeing the Egyptian tent. The Tentmakers of Cairo are making a huge comeback. Here’s a link. http://www.tentmakersofcairo.com/

  9. Astonishing. What an incredible amount of inspired thought and effort went into that. Doddington has to be on the ‘visit list’ at any time, I would have thought, but they certainly seem to know how to do ‘the Christmas look’. Nice one, Millie; I bet you had fun!

    • milliethom says:

      Hi Mike. Yes, it’s sometimes good to experience a little bit of magic, and you’re right, the owners of the hall, the staff, volunteers and uni and college students, spend months designing and constructing these displays every year. ‘A Fairytale Christmas’ of 2016 was our favourite so far – but that could simply be because it was the first Christmas event at Doddington we’d visited. Their Christmas tree are the best in this area, too, and they sell hundreds every year – several different species, too.

  10. Wonderful post and the pictures are beautiful. Thank you for the tour!

  11. draliman says:

    Very traditional-looking. Apart from the elf, perhaps 🙂

  12. milliethom says:

    Hi Ali. Yes, it’s all very Georgian and almost like some old-style Christmas card images. The ‘head’ elf was very friendly and a little older than the usual ‘6th-former-elves’ we’ve seen at other times. Most of the elves stay in Santa’s Grotto to help him with his may visitors. All great fun. 😀

  13. How lovely! I enjoyed reading it! Christmas is on the way!

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you, Ann. I hope all is well with you and you are looking forward to Christmas. I also hope your book is doing well!

      • Thank you so much, dear Millie! I appreciate your review on my book, it’s perfect, hope I deserve for it! I do not know hot to thank you for everything you did to help me with my book. In fact, you were the person who gave me a reason to believe that I might be able to write a book! I owe you a huge hug! I wish you many wonderful fans for your lovely books! I am well and hope you too. Wish you happy forthcoming holidays and happy readers of your books!

      • milliethom says:

        I’m glad you noticed the review, Ann. I wasn’t sure whether you’d got my email. I loved your book and learnt so much about Ukraine by reading it. Did you also see it on Goodreads?
        Have a lovely Christmas, enjoying all the things I read about in your book. ❤

  14. inesephoto says:

    What a delightful exposition, Millie. Thank you for inviting the Christmas spirit! 🙂 I hope the tree with the bare roots can be replanted 🙂

  15. milliethom says:

    Thank you, Inese. I’m just about starting to feel ready for Christmas. As for the roots of that suspended tree, I agree, it would be great if it could be replanted after Christmas. 😀

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