If you’ve had your fill of winter wonderlands and Christmas lights, then fear not (as the angels would say). Living nativities up and down the country are on hand to offer a fresh approach to Christmas in the run-up to the 25th. From the dirt of the stable to the lowing of the cattle, re-live the first ever Christmas with the help of real animals and plenty of costumes. Here are three of the best living nativities on offer this year:
1. Wintershall Estate, Surrey
Each year since 1989 this serene lake-side estate has played host to an extremely popular live nativity play. This year’s production takes place in a straw-filled barn complete with donkeys, cows, sheep and hens to help bring to life the story of Jesus’s birth. The drama begins with the audience out in the open air and under the stars with the shepherds. The crowd then follows the action into the barn where the rest of the nativity unfolds. Magical.
. Performances run from 12th to the 16th December.
2. Chatsworth House
The 16th-century Derbyshire home of Bess of Hardwick famously played the role of Pemberley in Joe Wright’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. At Christmas time the house opens its grounds to actors of a very different sort. The Chatsworth December nativities invite children to participate in each performance by dressing up and joining in with the live animals. What better way to round off a day exploring one of Britain’s finest country estates?
3. Vauxhall City Farm & Christ Church London Stockwell
Londoners may not live within striking distance of sheep or a barn, but they need not miss out on the fun thanks to a special Christmas partnership between Christ Church London Stockwell and Vauxhall City Farm. Animals from the city farm will join children and other members of the church to act out a community nativity. There will be carols, Christingle-making, mince pies and hot chocolate for old and young alike, not to mention some new farmyard friends. Meaningful fun for all the family.
Wheatsheaf Community Centre, 16th December from 10:30 to 11:30 am