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Celebrate Christmas at the official royal residences

Release date: Wednesday, 1 November 2017

A Christmas tree at Windsor Castle


This December, visitors to the official royal residences will see the State Apartments transformed with glittering Christmas trees, twinkling lights and dining tables laid for royal feasts to celebrate the festive season.


Windsor Castle

24 November 2017 – 5 January 2018

The Christmas display at Windsor Castle will mark the 20th anniversary of the restoration of the Castle following the fire of November 1992. The State Apartments will be decked with glistening gold decorations inspired by the highly skilled gilding work that was undertaken to restore the Castle's interiors. The highlight of the display will be the magnificent 20-foot-high Nordmann Fir Christmas tree in St George's Hall, taken from Windsor Great Park and covered in gold decorations. In the State Dining Room, the table will be laid with silver-gilt pieces from the spectacular Grand Service, commissioned by George IV and still used today by The Queen and her guests at State Banquets.

For the first time, a series of immersive performances will be staged in the State Apartments during the festive period, transporting audiences into a Victorian Christmas. Twelve evening performances of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol will be presented in the Castle's two largest rooms, St George's Hall and the Waterloo Chamber, where the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret performed Christmas pantomimes during the Second World War.

On Saturday, 9 and Sunday, 10 December, a Festive Weekend will offer a range of Christmas activities for families, including a pop-up pantomime, storytelling, festive music, a floral display, decoration-making workshops and the ever popular Bach to Baby concerts for under-fives. In addition, families can enjoy festive arts-and-crafts workshops in the Castle's Moat Room every Saturday in December.


Palace of Holyroodhouse

1 December 2017 – 5 January 2018

The festive decorations at the Palace of Holyroodhouse will draw on the baroque architecture of the Palace itself, echoing the ornate garlands of fruits and flowers that can be seen on the famous 17th-century plasterwork ceilings. The Great Stair leading to the historic State Apartments will be draped with twinkling garlands and wreaths, while in the Great Gallery a 15-foot high Christmas tree will be adorned with white and silver decorations. In the Royal Dining Room, the table will be laid with pieces from a silver service presented to King George V and Queen Mary in 1935 to mark their Silver Jubilee.

On Sunday, 10 December, a Festive Family Day will include a Christmas present trail, a family ceilidh, fancy-dress and face-painting, decoration-making workshops and storytelling around the fireplace in the Palace's Great Gallery. On Monday, 11 and Tuesday, 12 December, the Scottish Vocal Ensemble will provide an evening of Christmas carols and seasonal music in the splendour of the Great Gallery. Tickets include a glass of wine, a mince pie and a 20% discount in the Palace shop.

Visitors to the Palace of Holyroodhouse can end their visit at the Café at the Palace and enjoy homemade mince pies, Christmas cake and mulled wine, or treat themselves to a Christmas-themed afternoon tea.


Exclusive Evening Tours of the royal residences

On selected dates in December, visitors can enjoy a Private Evening Tour of the official royal residences. The tours, available at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, are led by an expert guide and offer a special behind-the-ropes experience. All tickets include a glass of champagne, a copy of the Official Souvenir Guide and a 20% discount at Royal Collection Trust shops.



Browse for Christmas gift inspiration at Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in the Royal Collection Trust shops or online, where ranges of handmade limited edition and commemorative chinaware, cuddly Corgis and festive food and drink make perfect presents. 

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