Hestercombe has announced its plans for Christmas 2021, with a sparkling programme of festive events, in addition to its first-ever Christmas light spectacle - ILLUMINATE - a brand-new, colourful illuminated winter trail, which will see its gardens transformed into a winter paradise.

Highlights include:

  • ILLUMINATE - Hestercombe’s first-ever light display will see its famous gardens illuminated by a charming light spectacle, leading visitors along a beautiful trail full of colour and joy.

  • A series of warming Yuletide events, from its established Christmas Market, working with independent artisans and producers, to wreath-making workshops, festive suppers and listening to the dulcet tones of singers at Christmas carol concerts.

  • Magical family events, including the return of Hestercombe’s beloved Father Christmas, who will be welcoming children into his enchanting grotto, as well as festive garden trails taking place across Hestercombe’s historic landscapes.

Hestercombe’s famous Christmas Market will kick off the festivities from 19 - 21 November. Local, independent, artisanal craft makers and producers will be back at Hestercombe with quality, unique gifts, delicious treats and beautiful hand-crafted items.

Launching this November in time for the holiday season, ILLUMINATE will light up the entirety of Rook Wood and Victorian Shrubbery with a beautiful multicoloured display from 27 November - 2 January. Visitors will journey through the enchanting terrain, into a light-studded Yew Tunnel, culminating with a fascinating, dynamic pixel display on the turning circle by Hestercombe House.

To complement this exciting new addition to Hestercombe’s seasonal offer, a variety of events will bring a festive glow, including Christmas wreath-making led by an artisanal flower grower and willow angel making workshops, which sold out in record time last year. All sessions are to be accompanied by festive refreshments to relax you into the creative Christmas spirit.

The Taunton Military Wives Choir will be returning to the Bampfylde Hall, warming visitors with the sweet melodies of their favourite Christmas carols, with charming new arrangements from the Taunton Concert Band. There will also be the chance to wine and dine alongside some holly-jolly musicians at a festive suppers. Meet with friends and family to enjoy a sumptuous menu from Head Chef Mathew Taylor and his experienced team, with music, drinks and canapes on arrival to be enjoyed underneath the twinkling lights in the glass-covered Courtyard, as the fire pit crackles away.

Hestercombe is giving the gift of Father Christmas to families this year, who will bring a sprinkle of magic to the festivities by welcoming children into his grotto at the Octagon Summerhouse, where a log fire will be slowly crackling away, surrounded by fairy lights, gifts, holly and friendly cheer (NB Father Christmas visits taking place after 4pm will include tickets to ILLUMINATE). There will be a series of fun Christmas trails taking place around all corners of Hestercombe’s gardens. Each trail will have a distinctly festive theme, linking together to give a special Christmas prize when all are completed.

For many people, the highlight of Christmas is the food - something the team at Hestercombe is keenly aware of. Every day from 22 November, visitors will be able to enjoy a fabulously festive afternoon tea or lunch in the sumptuous surroundings of the Stables and Courtyard. Those enjoying the ILLUMINATE light experience trail will be able to finish up with a rich hot chocolate or homemade sausage roll from Caffe + Gelato.

For those who want to purchase some high-quality, unique presents for loved ones, late-night shopping in Hestercombe’s inviting gift and book shop will be available in Hestercombe House every evening during which ILLUMINATE is running. Explore the exclusive ranges in the gift shop with a wide variety of home and fashion gifts and lots of lovely stocking fillers. As part of this year's Christmas Market, Hestercombe will also be holding a giant book sale in the old House, giving avid readers the chance to discover a treasure trove of bargains for book-lovers.

Chris White, Marketing and Communications Manager at Hestercombe says:

“The festive season will be a busy and exciting one at Hestercombe. We’re thrilled to announce the launch of ILLUMINATE this Christmas. Last year’s festive season looked very different and so we can’t wait to help get visitors into the holiday spirit.

“We’re also encouraging people to give the gift of a Membership at Hestercombe this year. Membership, whether single, joint or family, is the perfect way to enjoy our holiday events. An annual membership costs as little as £41.50 and will mean that you can share a year of discovery, visiting the beautiful gardens at Hestercombe together at Christmas and throughout the year. Membership gift packs come with the option to include a special message, and can be posted directly to the recipient.

“Every visit and membership helps Hestercombe protect its future for many Christmases to come”.

Make it a Christmas to remember with these festive events:



Christmas Market | 19 - 21 November

Wreath Making Workshop: 27, 28 November & 6 December

Willow Angel Making Workshop: 12 December


Christmas Carol Concerts | 8 & 16 December

ILLUMINATE Christmas Illuminations | selected dates, 27 November - 2 January

Festive Family Garden Trails | daily, 27 November - 2 January

Father Christmas | 4, 5, 11, 12 & 18 - 24 December

Food & Drink

Festive Suppers | 10 & 17 December

Festive Afternoon Teas & Lunches | 22 November - 23 December

For more information on dates, times and ticket prices for each event, please visit hestercombe.com/christmas



To contact the Press Office or for further information about the exclusive press preview taking place on Friday 26 November, please email heatherchristian@hestercombe.com

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Download a Word Document and download PDF version of the Press Release.




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Hestercombe Gardens

Cheddon Fitzpaine





Notes to editors

Hestercombe Gardens

The Hestercombe Gardens Trust is an independent charitable trust, famous for its unique collection of gardens which span three centuries of garden history and design. The Formal Garden is hailed as one of the finest examples of the world renowned partnership between garden designer Gertrude Jekyll and architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. Hestercombe House and Gardens has undergone acclaimed restoration works and continues to develop and grow giving visitors a stunning setting to explore, learn and relax.


Christmas at Hestercombe 2021 Credit Photographer Chris Lacey 8

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