The Making of Christmas

Planning for Christmas at Doddington begins as early as February and fills a large part of the year. By November the Hall is completely transformed and we have the fantastic opportunity to welcome visitors to explore the magic of the decorations. Join us behind the scenes to find out all about the making of Christmas at Doddington and the wonderful people we have to thank.

This year's theme: Christmas on the riverbank

This year, Wilder Doddington has offered a new opportunity for our team, as the strong influence from our nature recovery project has inspired an artistic depiction of Christmas within nature. 

Stories such as The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter have lent themselves fantastically, as we follow the flow of stories, magic and life along the riverbank.

The gallery includes some of the photos taken across the estate that have helped inspire this year’s theme. 

Photos taken by our Doddington team as well as Lexy Foxley-Johnson, Mike Massey, John Davison, Claudia Coggan, Ian Birch. 


Each room throughout the Hall has its own story to follow, all within the theme of the riverbank. However, all rooms are connected in our ethos for our materials and decorations. 

It is within the sustainable aspirations of the estate that our creatives have made sure to use natural, recycled and upcycled resources wherever possible. This includes materials such as birch, willow, and bulrushes from our very own gardens and bike boxes from our Giant bike shop.

Not only does this help us to limit the use of single use plastic and imported materials, it also helps us to celebrate the beauty and value of the resources of the estate.

Our Creatives

Our creatives are the talented designers and makers behind each room, who spend countless hours painting, building and installing wonderful decorations each year.

There are many people involved and each room has a dedicated creative. This year our team includes Michelle Kelsey of Vintage Floral, Nadya Monfrinoli & Lou Jones of Lumo Workshop, Rachel Petheram of Catkin Flowers, local artist Emma Chippendale, Abbie Clarke & Pippa Wilson from Doddington Country Clothing, and Howell Thomas, Production Arts Lecturer at Lincoln College.

Find out more about each of our creatives below. 


Michelle Kelsey is a creator, florist and long-standing member of the Doddington Christmas installation team. Michelle has been drawn to the Great Hall this year, transformed by the presence of a majestic swan with cygnets appearing to glide downstream across the 20ft Doddington oak table. Michelle’s creative flair also flows through to the Great Staircase.

Lumo Workshop is the collaboration of Theatre Designer Maker Lou Jones and Visual Artist Nadya Monfrinoli. Based in Welbourn, they work primarily in 3D creations and light / digital effects. This year, their design for the Brown Parlour sets the scene of illuminated paper boats floating downstream as if dropped as Poohsticks. Listen out for the children playing with more boats in the distance. 

Rachel Petheram of Catkin Flowers is based in our very own walled Kitchen Garden. Rachel is an artisan florist and teacher specialising in seasonal, British grown flowers. This year, Rachel has collaborated with Lumo Workshop to create a riverbank in the Drawing Room with vibrant herons, dried floral installations and natural foliage sourced directly from the gardens.


Emma Chippendale, is an early career artist with a fine art degree from the University of Lincoln. Inspired by toy theatres created by Benjamin Pollack, childhood stories and Doddington’s late 17th century Flemish tapestries, Emma’s vision for this year features a 3D theatre for one installation and a large-scale open book for the second; where tales of the riverbank will spill from the pages.


Pippa and Abbie are part of our very own team on the estate, who throughout the year employ their creativity to seasonal displays in our Doddington Country Clothing store. This year, they have had the challenge of bringing their style and artistry towards a re-imagination of The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher in the Tiger Bedroom. Creating a fun room to spark the imagination.


Howell Thomas is a professional designer and Production Arts lecturer. Each year, Howell and his team of students from Lincoln College transform the Long Gallery – at 96 feet long and 22 feet wide it is the largest room in the Hall. This year a frosty river scene guided by lanterns and atmospheric soundscapes brings to life the sounds of wildlife and water which carry so distinctly in winter months.

the estate team

We are also grateful to have many more fantastic team members on the estate who help with our Christmas installations each year.

Our Garden team pull off extraordinary feats each Christmas. Responsible for all of the trees in the Hall, they freshly cut Christmas trees from our woodland and install them on each of the three floors of the Hall.

Our Maintenance team are invaluable with the installation, lighting, safety and more –  helping to bring ideas into reality.

Our housekeeping and conservation team assist with installations, finishing touches and the constant upkeep of the displays.

Hall volunteers also play a hugely important role not only with stewarding rooms and bringing our Christmas stories to life but also handcrafting stunning decorations such as our knitted Wind in the Willows characters, willow dragonflies and paper birds.


23 November – 23 December, Wednesday – Sunday

The Elizabethan Hall will once again be transformed for the festive period and decorated throughout for the theme ‘Christmas on the Riverbank’. We’ll be bringing the outdoors in to create spectacular scenes for a magical family day out.

Our previous creations

Delve into our Christmas archives…