Autumn and winter will bring a splash of autumnal colour, some spellbinding spooky fun, and a sprinkling of Christmas sparkle to Lincolnshire’s Burghley House and Gardens this year.
As autumn arrives, Burghley – on the edge of the Georgian stone town of Stamford – becomes a stately spectacle with a blaze of golden leaves around the free-to-enter parkland surrounding one of England’s greatest Elizabethan houses.
Rich in ancient trees, including Queen Elizabeth’s Lime – said to have been planted by Elizabeth I – as well as an oak and a lime planted by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the estate also boasts sweet chestnut and sycamore maple, the leaves of which turn intense in autumn, from gold-yellow to red.
Visitors can also enjoy nature’s seasonal display – and discover contemporary sculpture in an historic setting – at the lakeside Sculpture Garden, fringed by trees in their autumnal foliage.
New for 2022 will be the Autumn Wonders In The Garden (24 September and 2 October), when visitors can pull on their walking boots and join Head Gardener, Joe Whitehead, and Senior Gardener, James Knight, for an autumnal-themed tour, talk and demonstration in the private South Gardens and the Sculpture Garden. Full details and ticket cost will be revealed soon.
Fiendish family fun comes to the House and the Gardens in October, as torch lit tours return with more scary stories and haunting hidden history. Burghley’s Spooky Tours (19-29 October) are led by ghostly expert Martin Tempest and take visitors on a guided tour through creepy cellars and centuries-old cloisters, revealing ghostly goings-on. The tours are designed to be scary but fun, although not advised for under 12s. Tickets, which must be pre booked, cost £24 per person.
For fewer scares – and more daylight – head to the Sculpture Garden and tackle the Burghley Halloween Trail (15-30 October) to find the hidden spooks and receive a treat (free with House or Gardens ticket). Youngsters can also magic up their own own creations at Children’s Halloween Craft Workshops (24–28 October), included with a valid House or Gardens ticket.
While the House and Gardens close for the season on 30 October, festive favourites return with the annual seasonal shopping spectacular, the Christmas Fair (24-27 November) – and this year there will be a new ticket available for late-night shopping on Friday 25, from 5.30pm to 9pm.
Burghley’s courtyards and grounds will house traditional chalets and heated marquees, along with an avenue of pagodas bedecked in sparkling Christmas decorations and lights, as the region’s largest Christmas Fair brings 130 stalls offering everything from luxury gifts to artisan food and drink and festive treats to winter clothing. There will also be a large Victorian carousel, lit up for the season, and tractional music from local carol singers. Advance tickets cost £6 adults, £3 children, or £8 and £4 on the gate.
More musical merriment, in truly majestic settings, is on offer at Burghley’s Christmas Carol Concerts. On 11 Decemberthe House’s intimate family Chapel is the venue for traditional festive pieces performed by the Cantus Choir and string orchestra, with mulled wine and mince pies served in Burghley’s Tudor kitchen, while on 14 December, the concert venue is the oak-panelled Great Hall, with arrival drinks in The Orangery. Tickets for each event cost £30 per person, and numbers are limited, so must be pre-booked.
For full details and to book event tickets, visit www.burghley.co.uk or telephone 01780 752451.
House and Garden tickets cost £20 for adults and £9 for children, while Gardens only tickets cost £13.50 for adults and £8 per child.