With only a few days left until Christmas knocks on the door, there are plenty of events around the county to get you in that festive spirit.
But if you are looking for something extra special to bring that seasonal sparkle to your children’s holidays, try travelling a little further afield to Waddesdon Manor, in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, and see the stately home and gardens transformed into a Winter Wonderland with a difference.
As well as the traditional market surrounding the house, selling food and gifts from local producers, the house itself has been filled with extraordinary decorations, bringing to life winter traditions from around the world - both factual and fictional. Each room has its own theme, from ancient pagan traditions, to Chinese new year, to Hans Christian Andersen’s much-loved Christmas tale, The Snow Queen.
After that, you can lose yourself in a trail of the gardens which have been lit up with an innovative display of lights by British installation artist Bruce Munro. In his Winter Light exhibition he has used lights of all shapes and colours - and sounds - to create a number of original pieces, including a field of moons, trees full of colourful ‘birds’, and a special tribute to this year’s centenary of the First World War.
Entry to the grounds, gardens and Winter Light is £8.00 for adults, £4.00 for children and £20.00 for families. Entry to the decorations display inside the house as well is £18.00 for adults, £9.00 for children and £45.00 for families. National Trust members go free.
Christmas events at Waddesdon Manor run until January 4 but will be closed from December 24-26. For more information, visit: www.waddesdon.org.uk.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a more quiet break before the Christmas chaos kicks off in full - or if you are looking for an extra special gift for someone who deserves some relaxation - the Day Spa at Whittlebury Hall, near Towcester, is now offering its latest Day Packages.
Disappear for a day in the Greco-Roman themed complex where everything is about you, whether you want to get your blood pumping in the gym, lounge in a jacuzzi, or treat yourself with a day of back-to-back treatments.
Available until March 31, the signature Day Spa Whittlebury Day is £109 per person and includes a two-course buffet lunch, full use of the Heat and Ice Experiences, Spa and Leisure Club facilities and, best of all, two treatments. As well as the sweet and spicy seasonal Day Spa Nectarine Burst & Sweet Honey Glaze exfoliation treatment, you can choose from Elemis facials, or the Spa’s exclusive Holistic Experience or Well-Being Massage.
The names might not give much away, but they each offer at least 50 minutes of personal TLC from professional therapists which promise to leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to face the last-minute Christmas shopping rush.
For more information on this and other packages and gifts from Whittlebury Hall, including Christmas parties and stays at the hotel, visit: www.whittleburyhall.co.uk.