For the thousands of motorists driving home for Christmas this week, Lexus has curated a list of attractions where drivers of a battery or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, can recharge their car and enjoy a festive break en route. The locations include dazzling light displays, enchanting Christmas trails, and bustling markets, chosen for their focus on design and craftsmanship, which is a central feature of all Lexus cars. They are also strategically placed a few miles from major roads and motorway junctions, so journeys can be resumed quickly and easily.
The recently upgraded Lexus UX 300e all-electric, compact luxury SUV is the perfect car for driving home for Christmas, with a range of up to 279 miles on one charge, an open and spacious interior, and 367 litres of boot space, which is ideal for carrying Christmas presents and overnight bags. For those who over-indulge on turkey and mince pies, the UX 300e’s nanoe™ X air purification technology can neutralise bad odours, act against mould and inhibit viruses, bacteria, pollen and allergens.
Wimpole Estate, near Cambridge, eight miles from junction 12
Wimpole Estate has been beautifully decorated for Christmas with an after-dark illuminations trail, Christmas decorations in Wimpole Hall house, local choirs singing carols, and gifts on sale in the stable block. Festive food and drink are available at The Rectory, Stables Café and Farm Café, and a turkey or vegan roast is served on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 12:30 and 14:30.
Christmas Illuminations dates: 24 November 2023 to 31 December 2023. For information and evening tickets visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/cambridgeshire/wimpole-estate.
There are 12 7.4kw electric charge points in the main car park, available through Raw Charging.
RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey, three miles from junction 10 of the M25
Junction 10 of the M25 is a traffic jam hot-spot right now, so taking a break from the queues to recharge and refresh is recommended. RHS Garden Wisley’s magnificent Glow light display is a real show-stopper. A special illuminated trail through the garden and Glasshouse features dazzling wicker alliums, globes and arches and the Alpine Meadow field of fire, all accompanied by music, orchestrated fountains and special effects. Festive food chalets serve snacks and drinks, such as Bratwurst and hot chocolate, while the Terrace Restaurant and Wisley Café offer special Christmas menus. The Wisley Garden Centre sells gifts and Christmas decorations as well as homewares, books, plants and gardening tools.
RHS Garden Wisley is one of the UK’s most visited and best-loved gardens and is a hub of horticultural excellence, with some of the largest plant collections in the world.
Date: from now until 2 January 2024, 16:00 – 21:00. For info and tickets visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley.
There are eight standard 7.2 KWH 32 Amp sockets available in the car park for re-charging.
Charlecote Park, Warwickshire, two miles from the A429
This Christmas, Charlecote Park will be celebrating the traditional skills and techniques of crafts featured on the Red list – those which are in danger of dying out. The house will therefore be filled with heritage craft-themed decorations, such as globe making, flock wallpaper, illuminated books, and harp making. There will be a selection of eco-friendly and sustainable gifts on sale in the Servants Hall, which are perfect for last minute Christmas presents, while children will enjoy a heritage crafts puzzle trail.
Charlecote Park is a National Trust Victorian country house located in Charlecote, near Wellesbourne, Warwickshire. The house is situated along the banks of the River Avon and is known for its picturesque setting and 180-acre deer park.
Christmas activities run from now until Monday 8 January 2024; opening hours 9:00 – 16:00 (last entry 15:00).
There are 14 11.4kw electric vehicle charging points in the car park, available through Raw Charging.
Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, one mile from A41
Waddesdon Manor is a Grade I listed grand country house owned and managed by the National Trust.
The house and estate are transformed into a magical wonderland at Christmas, with themed exhibits within the mansion, spectacular light projections on the manor facade inspired by three classic tales and a Christmas lights trail. A Christmas food village runs until 1 January.
Dates: From now until 1 January; Christmas grounds open 12:00 – 19:00 (last entry 18:00); Christmas house open 12.30 – 19.30 (last entry 18:30). Visit Waddesdon.org.uk for more info.
There are four 16A EV Type 2 charging socket charging spaces available in the visitor car park.
Attingham Park, Shropshire, eight miles from A5
Christmas at the National Trust’s Georgian mansion, Attingham House, near Shrewsbury, runs from now until 1 January, featuring more than 50 decorated Christmas trees throughout the house and grounds, including a mile-long walk with festive trees inspired by classic fairy tales. Visitors can discover All That Glitters inside the house, and an eco-friendly synthetic ice-skating rink is making its debut in the park.
Every Saturday morning in December, 09:30 – 10:15 the mansion will be open for SEN (Special Educational Needs) relaxed sessions, when the house will be quieter and more relaxed, especially for those on the Autism Spectrum who may find the environment overwhelming during busy times.
Dates: Christmas at Attingham is open from now until 1 January 2024. Visit National Trust website for info on tickets and opening hours.
There are two 7kw Vend electric charging points, each with two connectors, available in the main car park.
Trentham Estate, Staffordshire, one mile from J15 of the M6 and A500
Trentham is home to 725 acres of spectacular natural beauty, with award-winning gardens, ancient woodland and an outdoor shopping village, so there are plenty of walks and attractions to enjoy during a break from driving.
There is a shopping village filled with a range of independent and high street brands housed in more than 80 wooden lodges – perfect for last-minute gifts. There are also plenty of cafés, restaurants and bars to choose from.
Car parking is free, and there are four electric car charging points available, next to the Shopping Village.
Chester Zoo, five miles from the M53
Chester Zoo has an expansive landscape of 130 acres and is one of the United Kingdom’s most famous zoological establishments. In the spirit of the holiday season, Chester Zoo and Sony Music present the world premiere of Lanterns and Light, where the park is transformed into a festive wonderland trail where you can meet giant illuminated model creatures and puppets, such as lions, dolphins and elephants, along the way.
Opening dates: from now until 31 December, 16:15 – 21:15 (last entry for Lights and Lanterns: 20:15)
There are 13 EV charging devices with 26 connectors available.
Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, 10 miles from the M4
Hardwick Hall is a stunning Elizabethan house filled with beautiful furniture and tapestries, carefully preserved by the Devonshire family for generations. This Christmas, Hardwick Hall presents Wintertide, a lantern light tour, in which visitors can explore the rich tapestries, friezes, and portraits on the 400-year-old walls and uncover the fascinating stories they hold as they walk through with a lantern. Artist Pedro Sanchez Carvera has created contemporary displays playing with light and shadow that highlight the best of Elizabethan winter celebrations.
Opening dates: from now until 7 January 2024, (gardens open 09:30 – 15:30, house open 11:00 – 15:00). Click here for more info.
There is one device and one connector available in the lower car park. There are also two EV chargers, each with both 50kw and 120kw connectors, available at the nearby Starbucks on the A617, S44 5LY (12-minute drive).
Erddig, Wales, five miles from the A483
Erddig house and yards have been transformed into a festive wonderland with enchanting decorations, where visitors can enjoy Christmas-inspired craft activities, visit Father Christmas in the grotto and listen to live music on selected dates. There is also a seasonal menu with hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows in the restaurant.
Erddig Hall is a National Trust property, built in 1684-1687with a mix of architectural styles. The property’s extensive gardens and parkland are well-known for their beauty and variety and the walled garden is particularly famous for its formal layout and historic plants.
Opening dates: from now until 7 January 2024 (gardens open from 10:00 – 16:00, house from 11:30 – 14:30). Visit National Trust website for more info.
There are three EV charging devices, with four connectors, provided by the ZeroNet network.
Stirling Castle, Scotland
Stirling Castle is among Scotland’s largest and most impressive castles, located on top of an imposing crag with cliffs on three sides.
The ever-popular Christmas Shopping Fayre filled with local crafts, fine foods and drinks, is located on the Stirling Castle esplanade. The castle is serving a festive lunch in the castle Green Room every day until Saturday 23 December. It is also staging a special adaptation of Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 December.
Although there are no EV chargers at the castle itself, there are 33 EV chargers with 98 connectors available at nearby Castleview Low Carbon Hub, FK9 4TW, which is part of the ChargePlace Scotland network. This is just a six-minute drive from the castle.
For info on the location and status of EV chargers around the country, Lexus provides a handy map and guide to public EV chargers: https://www.lexus.co.uk/electric-cars/public-charging. For those with a Lexus car, the Lexus Public Charging Network is a new subscription-based model that provides access to more than 500,000 charging points across Europe. It also works with the Lexus Link+ app, so drivers can manage all their EV information in one place.