CHRISTMAS is close and you can almost feel the atmosphere warming. It is a time when we count our blessings, celebrate our friendships, rekindle our family ties and indulge with fine food and drink.

Cheshire is fortunate to have a multitude of stately halls that provide a perfect backdrop for our yuletide gatherings.

All are committed to making the festive season as special as it should be by taking advantage of their traditional settings and modern facilities.

So whether you are after a winter wonderland, a hearty feast or a chance to see the man in red, it is all below as Limited Edition sets you on course for a merry Christmas and a very happy new year.

Dunham Massey
Dunham Massey starts its celebrations early on Saturday and Sunday, November 15 and 16, when you can come and experience the hustle and bustle of the Victorian kitchen.

Then on December 6, 7, 13 and 14, guests can enjoy a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie followed by traditional carols around the Christmas tree.

Creative people can have a go at creating Christmas wreaths on December 11 and 12 and children can talk to Santa on Saturday and Sunday, December 13 and 14, to let him know what is on their present list.

Little Moreton Hall
Little Moreton Hall has a great catalogue of events lined up for the weekends of December 6 and 7, 13 and 14 and 20 and 21.

Expect festive storytelling in the chapel, a children’s festive trail and seasonal music in the Great Hall, which will be decorated for a Tudor-style Christmas.

On December 6 and 7, the music will be performed courtesy of the Little Moreton Singers and Stone Choral Society then on December 13 and 14, the renowned music group Piva will bring a Tudor Christmas to life with their historical instruments and period costumes.

The whimsy continues on December 20 and 21 when Peter Bull will perform 16th and 17th century music in a traditional Tudor costume.

Capesthorne Hall
Christmas festivities are all under one roof from November 28 to 30 when Capesthorne Hall hosts its yuletide treat.

The event will include musical entertainment including school choirs and a street organ, craft and gift stalls, refreshments and Santa’s postbox all within the magically decorated hall.

Arley Hall
Arley Hall and Gardens is renowned for its annual Christmas Floral Extravaganza as enthusiasts take in new and exciting floral ideas – even in the middle of winter.

The hall will be in full bloom between Saturday November 29, and Sunday December 7 for the event, which is held in association with the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS).

Celebrity florists Carl Wilde and Derek Armstrong will also be there to pass on expert advice and spread the festive cheer.

Throughout the week, there will also be candlelight and carol evenings on December 1, 3 and 5 and youngsters can even get involved as on Saturday and Sunday, December 6 and 7, Father Christmas will be arriving by carriage.

The family fun continues in the hall with face painting and card making.

Tatton Park
Tatton will be illuminated from December 3 to 6 when the mansion, gift fair and gardens will be lit up with candles and enchanting music.

The Christmas atmosphere continues on December 3 to 5, 10 to 12 and 17 to 19 when the mansion will be open for all to see brought to life with handmade decorations and foliage from the parkland and gardens.

Or if you turn up at the weekends of December 6 and 7, 13 and 14 and 20 and 21, children and big kids alike can meet Santa and his farmyard friends as they gather near the nativity scene at the farm.

With a full range of music on offer, Tatton’s Christmas concert series promises something for every taste.

This includes Celebrate Christmas on December 10, Christmas Jazz on December 12, The Rat Pack Is Back on December 13 and a Hansel and Gretel concert on December 14.

The Tatton Christmas experience culminates with carol singing with the King Edward Musical Society Band and choir at the festive stableyard setting on December 21.

Walton Hall
Meet and greet some of Walton’s resident animals on a Christmas tour of the zoo on December 6. In the visitor centre, kids can even make a card to give to the animal of their choice.

On the weekends of December 6 and 7, 13 and 14 and 20 and 21, you can enjoy a Victorian-style festive celebration set in the traditionally decorated cobbled courtyard.

Step back in time and enjoy Christmas as it used to be with Victorian entertainers and music, crafts, yule log making, traditional carousel rides, a nativity scene and, of course, Santa in an enchanting workshop and grotto.

New for this year is a festive food and craft fair on December 7, 14 and 21, complete with a Christmas carvery in the hall.