All the trimmings of Christmas past

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An historic and festive treat awaits visitors to the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum this Christmas from 26 December to 1 January 2014.

Traditionally-decorated houses will reflect the spirit of Christmas throughout the ages – from Medieval to Edwardian times. Period music, historical demonstrations, traditional food and drink, plus crackling open log fires will bring history to life so visitors can discover how our rural ancestors celebrated Christmas.

Decorated houses include the hall of the 15th century Bayleaf farmhouse (as featured on the current BBC TV’s Tudor Monastery Farm) which will be dressed with evergreens and boast a table laid for a yeoman farmer’s Christmas. In Winkhurst Tudor kitchen there will be cooks demonstrating a variety of seasonal food and drink including Christmas mincemeat pies and enriched bread.

Tasters will be on offer, but subject to availability as individually prepared. Pendean farmhouse, built in 1609, will reflect Christmas in early Stuart England with warming yule log, traditional greenery decorations and indoor games.

In Poplar Cottage visitors can learn about the time when the Puritans cancelled Christmas during Cromwell’s Commonwealth.

Richard Pailthorpe, Director of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, says: “Following the successful broadcasting of Tudor Monastery Farm at the Museum, this will be an opportunity for our visitors to view some of the houses and buildings featured in the programme, as well as other houses which have been decorated to reflect how Christmas has been celebrated over the centuries. This is always a good time to visit us and enjoy a seasonal walk around the Museum which has a magical atmosphere of its own at Christmas.”

The Museum is home to nearly 50 historic buildings which have been rescued from destruction, moved and carefully reconstructed on the site.

For many years visitors have enjoyed the opportunity to bring friends and family to the Museum’s idyllic location which is set in the heart of the South Downs National Park near Chichester, West 
Sussex. It is the perfect opportunity to walk off the Christmas pudding!

Report contributed by Weald & Downland Open Air Museum.