As our thoughts turn to Christmas, both girls have asked what was Christmas like in the Twenties? The Thirties, Forties or the Fifties? So inspired in part by the excellent TV series ' Back in Time for....' we decided to visit Nunnington Hall's excellent 'Christmas over the Decades' exhibition.
If you haven't seen the TV series, it focuses on the Robshaw family stepping back in time to experience life across the 20th Century and offers a great way to help bring history to life (see clips here) just like visiting Nunnington Hall proved this week.....
Visitors to Nunnington between now and Christmas will discover just how it may have felt over time. As you step into the impressive entrance, you’ll be welcomed into the 1920s by the Butler with a tot of sherry to enjoy by a roaring fire, before stepping back to an indulgent feast of the 18th century or be staggered by the memorable rationed years of the war. Each 'Christmas' display is visually appealing and helped by fantastic information boards that support the 'Christmas Toys' theme that continues throughout the decades.
In terms of location, you'll find the idyllic Nunnington Hall nestled between the North York Moors National Park, the Yorkshire Wolds and the Vale of York and close to the picture perfect village of Helmsley. Making it the perfect location to explore the beautiful Howardian Hills or another fantastic place to get festive at the nearby Castle Howard.
There's plenty more to enjoy on a visit to Nunnington Hall including the excellent restaurant / tea room!!! There's the sumptuous grounds with their 'ribbon tree' where children are encouraged to leave a lasting memory.... or the beautiful gardens to explore (including a wonderfully interactive kitchen garden)
Inside this National Trust property are a series of well presented rooms that offer a useful narrative to the lives of it's owners Colonel Fife & his family.... Each room from drawing room to bedroom is faithfully restored and presents a wonderfully evocative view of life from yesteryear.
Nunnington Hall is located within 60mins of York's City Centre and costs £24.50 (family of 4). Special offers are available online or just use your York Pass.
You can even discover the fascinating stories behind certain festive traditions, from Christmas food and carols to greetings cards and crackers (find more here)
Fortunately, this visit to Yorkshire has been full of these 'steps back in time' just like the Jorvik Viking Centre to the excellent Georgian Fairfax House... or the chance to get a snapshot of medieval monastic life at Fountains Abbey or the medieval history on show in the Richard III / Henry VII Experiences.... Each bringing a different period of history to life for our girls, much like we've discovered across Europe.
Taking our girls across Europe on this once in a lifetime 'road schooling journey' has uncovered plenty of questions about both UK & European History. Some can be answered by (un)conventional lessons in the motorhome during our morning 'road schooling lessons'. Whilst others are better answered by 'seeing & doing's like the WW1 Trenches in France, the iconic Berlin Wall in Germany or Viking/Roman/Medieval Life in York.
However, Christmas itself, is a wonderfully evocative subject and it's been interesting to see how other countries celebrate it like Obidos in Portugal or the Christmas Markets of France. But nothing beats seeing it in the past... so our favourite room at Nunnington Hall was the 'Post War' Christmas themed display which kept us entertained for at least half an hour alone. Reading the boards and discussing what it must have been like for the girl's grandparents who were children in this period.
Nunnington Hall also houses the impressive 'Carlisle Collection of Miniature Rooms' which is an amazingly collection of rooms over different periods of history.... proving itself to be very popular and another of the girl's favourite rooms from the visit!!
As too was the opportunity to browse the shop and the second hand book room for some more reading material..... for the price of a coffee they picked up 6 new books which should keep them busy for a few days at least!!!
From the chance to play pooh sticks at the entrance bridge (kindly broken and provided for you - a simple but effective gesture!) to the excellent treasure trail leaflets and plentiful grounds to burn off some energy... it's the kind of place you could happily spend a Sunday afternoon with everyone finding something they enjoyed!!!
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