With Christmas just around the corner, Gilbert White’s House and Gardens is set to lift the community’s Yuletide spirits with a range of festive events.
White’s Eco Christmas Fair, on December 3, brings together the finest selection of local hand-crafted gifts, all displayed in the rustic 16th-century barn.
Stallholders include the Blue Leaf Soap Ministry bringing their natural hand-made soaps infused with herbs and essential oils, Candles of Chawton providing fragrant hand-poured soy blend candles and wax melts, and Fordingbridge Fudge with traditional hand-made fudge to taste, alongside many more stalls offering a variety of eco items.
The historic house will also be decking the halls with boughs of holly, both in its festive winter appearance and through song. Yuletide performances will be given by the Prize Old Mummers and Alton Community Choir in the atmospheric Great Parlour.
Traditional mulled wine and mince pies will be available from the old kitchen, visitors can try a sip of Gilbert White’s gin and luxury hot chocolates will be poured out in the barn.
Visitors will also be able to find Gilbert White’s brewers for a tasting session. During this time of year the brewery produces a wass-ale, which is based on a traditional Scottish strong ale recipe and includes hints of Christmas pudding flavour.
The garden will also be presenting its winter wonder. The great windy trees cast intricate shadows across the ground against the low winter sun, while the mistletoe berries sparkle from their branches.
There will be a wassail led in traditional costume, where visitors can help to promote a good harvest for the coming year by singing to the orchard trees.
White’s Eco Christmas Fair will be open between 10.30am and 4pm and entry costs £3, which includes admission to the house and gardens.
The rustic barn, nestled beneath the Selborne Hanger, will also host a Christmas concert on December 8 from 7.30pm to 9pm, including an interval. The Otterbourne Brass band will fill the night air with carols.
The band has provided music to Winchester and beyond since 1923, regularly taking part in national and regional competitions and performing to crowds throughout the county. In 2017 Otterbourne Brass qualified for the National Brass Band Championships in Harrogate.
Admission to the concert costs £15, which includes a warming glass of mulled wine or spiced apple juice to accompany a classic mince pie.
Tickets for either event can be bought by calling 01420 511275.