Picture a country house on a winter’s day. A silence fills the air as snowflakes fall, swaddling the surrounding parkland as if it is wrapped in candy floss. The front door of the house opens and inside all is merry and bright. A gaily decorated tree fills the entrance hall, flanked by staircases, reaching up, up to the ornate ceiling.
If this sounds like the stuff of storybooks, that’s exactly what the National Trust for Scotland’s Pollok House is aiming for. Each Christmas there’s a different theme.
This year it’s Cinderella, and as you move through the house the tale unfolds. Music and lighting add to the atmosphere, along with the permanent collection of family portraits, oriental porcelain and period furniture.
Time for gifts
Festivities here are almost legendary and attract visitors of all ages. Mrs Claus, in mop cap and red cape, has been coming for 20 years to dispense good cheer and presents to little ones, and adults who came as youngsters now bring children of their own. There are ghost stories, crafting events and pantomime performances too (booking required). home of old
Pollok House sits in 361 acres of grounds (plenty of waterside and woodland walks) less than five miles from Glasgow Central Station. Built in the mid-18th century for the Maxwells, it was at a meeting here in 1931 that the National Trust for Scotland was formed.
The family continues to use the upper apartments and the house is home to several items of note, including what is believed to be Raeburn’s last (unfinished) portrait, a scholarly collection of Spanish art and several works by Guthrie. There’s also a fantastical grandfather clock, which does far more than just tell the time!
Downstairs, a long central corridor with glazed brick walls gives access to a warren of servants’ quarters. You can almost hear the echo of housemaids past. The Edwardian kitchen, now the café, is splendid, with a soaring, sky-lit rotunda, a bank of cast-iron ovens and ranks of gleaming copper pans and skillets. Pop in for mince pies and delicious seasonal treats.