During December, experience the wonderful splendour of Ham House lit by candle light. We're re-creating the 17th century atmosphere with candles and natural greenery filling the house over the festive season.

A Candlelit Christmas

Did you know Ham was always designed to be seen in the dark? We’re re-creating the atmosphere of the 17th Century and saving our collection from light damage at the same time.

Candles will guide your way through Ham House, providing soft light and a wonderful atmosphere. Though of course to keep the collection safe the candles will be battery operated- though you might need to take a second look to realise that.

A Christmas tree at Ham House
A Candlelit Christmas at Ham House

©National Trust/Chris Davies

A Christmas tree at Ham House

While today electric lights allow us to view a whole room at once, in the 17th Century people were much more at ease with darkness, and used it to their advantage. Candlelight could only spread so far, so rooms were designed to be seen step by step. At Ham that meant that each step would reveal something even more beautiful, rare, or precious to reflect the wealth of its owners.

The staircase at Ham House adorned with greenery for Christmas
A Candlelit Christmas at Ham House

©National Trust/Chris Davies

The staircase at Ham House adorned with greenery for Christmas

Shining lacquered tables, cabinets and expensive mirrors reflected the light so that visitors would marvel at the glitter that surrounded them. As they moved through the house, the dark walls, particularly in the long gallery would highlight the gilding that covered surfaces and danced in the candlelight. Adding to the opulent beauty of Ham House will be abundance of natural green wreaths, swags and garlands, draped over banisters, mantelpieces and windowsills, glowing with lights and sparkle. There will of course be a sparkling Christmas tree adorning the house, bursting with presents beneath it.

See sparkling Christmas trees adorning the house bursting with presents beneath it.
A Candlelit Christmas at Ham House

©National Trust/Chris Davies

See sparkling Christmas trees adorning the house bursting with presents beneath it.

The magic continues in the gardens, where trees and hedges twinkle, creating magical spaces and great photo opportunities. So make sure you share your photos with us on twitter or Instagram @HamHouseNT. Christmas trees, as well as our own beautifully shaped  formal gardens lit up to add to the festive atmosphere and spread light in the darkest part of the year.

Decorations will stay up until the 5th January so why not get the family out to enjoy them when everyone is still gathered together. 

Meet Father Christmas

Between 7 - 8 and 14 - 23 December, Father Christmas will be in residence at Ham House. Don't miss your chance to meet him and recieve your special Christmas gift.