Stately home is planning a Dickens of a festive fair

Beekeepers and Charles Dickens are among characters helping guests at top Hertfordshire stately home Knebworth House to celebrate the festive season this year.

Events begin on Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3, with the Knebworth Christmas Craft Fair, giving visitors an ideal opportunity to find special gifts and enjoy a great family day out.

Held in heated, wooden-floored, temporary exhibition halls, the event brings together some of Britain’s top craftsmen and women, artists and designers. There will also be Christmas music, food and drink to keep up the spirits and plenty for children to enjoy, including free puppet shows.

Other highlights will include specialist demonstration areas featuring such pursuits as bodging, bee keeping, fabric painting, blacksmithing, wood turning, caricatures and leather working. The fair is open from 10am-6pm on both days. Admission is £.4.50 for adults, £4 senior citizens and £2 for children.

The spirit of former visitor Charles Dickens will be abroad at Knebworth on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, December 15-17, for the stately home’s version of A Christmas Carol. Guests are invited to enjoy the true spirit of a traditional Victorian Christmas as actor Colin Greenslade reads an adaptation of the writer’s most popular work.

The event, now in its eighth year, runs from 7.30pm-10pm and is held in the Jacobean-panelled banqueting hall, specially decked with festive swags and a large decorated Christmas tree to create a magical atmosphere. Guests are welcomed with a glass of Dickens’ own-recipe punch and a mince pie, after which they take their seats in front of a roaring log fire for the performance.

For details contact 01438 812661, fax 01438 811908, or e-mail