Make Memories at the National Memorial Arboretum this December
Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 09:19
The National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire, is the perfect place for families to gather during the festive season. In addition to exploring the frost covered landscape of the 150-acre site, visitors can enjoy a host of seasonal activities, guaranteed to instil the festive spirit, including a Christmas Food and Gift Fair, traditional carol concert and a series of free memorial talks.
The free to enter Christmas Food and Gift Fair on Saturday 30 November and Sunday 1 December will feature dozens of stalls offering an array of artisan products, ensuring visitors can find the perfect handmade Christmas gifts and tasty festive treats. A selection of free themed children’s craft activities will also be available. Doors are open 9am to 4pm.
Between 11 and 20 December, Illuminated Arboretum returns to the Arboretum offering families the opportunity to explore a meandering mile long route at night to marvel at this majestic winter light experience. Following a successful debut in 2018, this year’s incarnation features a new selection of artistic installations using light and sound to explore the art of conversation, bathing the woodlands, gardens and memorials in colour. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 01283 245 100 – tickets booked in advance of the event are available at a discount.
Heroes’ Square, at the heart of the Remembrance Centre, will host a traditional Christmas Carol Concert on 21 December at 6pm. The Burton on Trent Salvation Army Band will play a selection of festive favourites from a stage set among hundreds of glowing candles. The service, also featuring the Lichfield Cathedral Chamber Choir, is appropriate for all ages and entry is free of charge. Early arrival is recommended due to expected large numbers.
The Arboretum’s memory tree will be installed in the Remembrance Centre on 1 December and as part of the Empty Chair Christmas Campaign, visitors are encouraged to write a memory or message to someone no longer able to join them at their table and entrust it to the embrace of the memory tree’s branches. There is a suggested donation of £2 per tribute and the tree will be on display until the New Year.
The Arboretum’s 12 Days of Christmas Memorial Talks are also set to return, kicking off on 25 December with a Facebook broadcast delving into the story of the Second World War evacuees. Between 26 December and 5 January there will be a different talk each day at 10.30am and 2.30pm, discussing one of the 380 memorials at the Arboretum, exploring the fascinating personal stories that led to their dedication and the symbolism incorporated in their design. Each of the talks will be free to attend.
Between the 24 December 2019 and 1 January 2020, the Arboretum will operate the following opening hours:
Christmas Eve – 9am – 3pm
Christmas Day – Closed
Boxing Day – 10am – 4pm
27 - 30 December - 9am - 5pm
New Year’s Eve – 9am – 3pm
New Year’s Day – 10am – 4pm
Sarah Oakden, Head of Marketing at the National Memorial Arboretum, said: “As Christmas approaches many people are looking for the perfect place for family to gather and share in the festive spirit. Positioned in the heart of the country and with easy access to all Midlands’ motorways, we’re an ideal meeting spot for families travelling from all corners of the UK. Our programme of festive and seasonal activities means that whether you’re looking to learn, pick up a beautiful hand-crafted gift, or simply take a stroll among the trees there is something here for everyone.”