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A Victorian Christmas at the Castle

about this session

Key stage 1 & 2 | Areas of learning: The World Around Us, The Arts, Language & Literacy | Topic: Christmas, Victorian, Celebration | Session type: Route-based

Welcome to Christmas at the Castle! It is very busy at Hillsborough Castle at this time of year as the family and servants prepare for a very exciting and fashionable Christmas.

Pupils will meet a costumed presenter portraying a member of Hillsborough Castle staff readying the house for the Christmas celebrations, including the grand Twelfth Night ball and the Earl of Hillsborough’s fifth birthday! 

Pupils will explore the house and draw comparisons between a Victorian Christmas and today, as they uncover the origins of some of our favoured traditions. They’ll stir up a wish in the family’s Christmas pudding, have a go at some parlour games, explore the origins of pantomime with the story of Tom Thumb and find out about toys in the past. 

Before they go, they’ll meet a very special guest, Father Christmas!

Learning objectives

Children will:

  • Learn that many of today’s Christmas traditions were also enjoyed in Victorian times.
  • Learn about the first Christmas card designed by Henry Cole and sent in 1843.
  • Compare toys today with toys in the past.
  • Learn about the origins of pantomime and act out short sections of a traditional fairy story.
  • Learn that the first Christmas tree was introduced by Queen Charlotte in 1800.
  • Use their discoveries to draw comparisons between their own lives and the lives of people in the past.

National Curriculum links

This session supports:

  • Pupils to explore how people and places have changed over time.
  • Exploring a historical building.
  • Development of historical enquiry skills.
  • Development of speaking and listening skills and asking perceptive questions.
  • Pupils to develop their drama skills appropriate to the context, in this instance pantomime.

Booking Information

20 November 2023 – 18 December 2023 

Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday 

10:30, 11:45, & 13:00 

60 minutes

Up to 32 children


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