The Victorians knew how to celebrate Christmas. It was with their advent that “the most wonderful time of the year” really took shape as we know it, with the introduction of the Christmas card, the decorated tree and that overriding narrative supplied by that most sentimental of festive storytellers: Mr Charles Dickens.
To tap into the Victorian spirit of Yuletide, do make a beeline for Kensington Palace throughout December. On selected dates (see below for details) from next month, the halls of the childhood home of Queen Victoria herself will be decked with period-style decorations, with the very tables upon which Victoria and Albert would have exchanged gifts on display.
Gastronomes will rejoice in a series of “Tasty Talks” via which food historians will recount the origins of the roast goose and Christmas pudding, and impart appetising advice from the era of Mrs Beeton. (After which, do sample Kensington Palace café’s Victorian gingerbread, gluhwein (mulled wine) and mince pies.)
Meanwhile, during Twixtmas (between Christmas and New Year) children will be able to get interactive with Victorian Christmas memorabilia, from musical instruments to pantomime props.
Follow it with a stroll around a frosty Kensington gardens and a mulled wine or hot chocolate by the fire, ideally with a copy of A Christmas Carol in hand, at the Milestone Hotel on Kensington High Street.
See below for dates:
Tasty Talks: Christmas Dinner Delights
2, 5, 9, 12, 16 and 19 December
Have you ever wondered where our Christmas dinner traditions come from? Hear about the origins of the Christmas pud, discover the history of roast goose and more. Enjoy a warming spiced drink from the Wassail bowl (mulled cider).
Free, ticketed on the day.
8, 11 and 15 December
Join us for a fun, festive evening of singing Victorian inspired carols as you explore the sumptuous State Apartments. Experience the bold and bright sounds of a brass ensemble whilst one of our expert Explainers guides you through the palace and reveals stories of Christmas past along the way.
Tickets: £15/£13.50 HRP members
For more on Kensington Palace, look out for our special feature in the Feb/March 2016 issue of Discover Britain, which is on sale on 8 January.