What's the best Christmas experience you've ever had at the National Trust? I've decided to do a festive retrospective because, frankly, I can't face doing a Sconepals' Poll Winners Party this year.
Below are my favourites but it's yours I'm interested in - please add them in the comments below or tweet them to me.
Flatford Bridge Cottage, 2013
I went to Flatford in November, but it still counts as a festive experience because they let me bake Mince Pie Scones. I remember getting the email inviting me along and thinking that the properties allowing me behind the scenes to do baking/meet the chefs was going to potentially compromise the integrity of the blog. I needn't have worried as I remain untroubled by any similar invitations, which is hilarious. Actually, Greys Court did invite me to do baking but that was a bit different. Anyway. One of my best days ever.
Polesden Lacey, 2013
It was the first year of the blog and the Scone Sidekick and I arrived at Polesden Lacey completely unprepared for what we found: it was absolutely mobbed. They had gone all out for the festive season; a choir, Christmas lunches, mulled wine and a sleigh ride pulled by these two magnificent reindeer (ahem):
We'd been to Hughenden the year before and they - steady me, someone - didn't have any scones. So we went back at Christmas time because I'd been told that they decked the place out in true Victorian style. It was beautiful and well worth the return visit (and they did have scones the second time round).
Treasurers House, 2014
I've told this story so many times: I'd heard that Treasurers House in York was doing Christmas Pudding Scones, so I schlepped up there in the fog on a cold late November day wondering what on earth I was doing. The rest is history: the sublime scone with brandy butter will probably never be surpassed. I even went back in 2019 and recorded a podcast with the wonderful team AND I created a full York Christmas Pudding Scone Itinerary (and I don't do that for every scone).
Please send me your Christmas National Trust memories - if you have any photos to go with them, even better. I'll add them to this blog.
In the meantime, what will 2021 bring?
I set out so full of bravado back in January. I was sure I was going to finish this National Trust Scone Odyssey in 2020. I made it to Lavenham Guildhall and Wentworth Castle Gardens before the world closed down. I later managed to escape my house and make it to Stackpole before the world closed down again.
Rest assured that the very day my vaccine 'sets' (or whatever vaccines do when you have to wait for them to kick in), I will be getting in my Fiat 500 and roaring off down the motorway to Castle Drogo, Dolaucothi, Ilam...all of the places below.