IT’S THE time of year when the house starts to wind down and is closed on weekdays for maintenance and repairs.

From November to the beginning of February the conservation team are hard at work squeezing behind furniture, climbing up ladders and reaching under beds to remove dust from all the nooks and crannies.

The floors get a fresh coat of wax, and every object in the collection gets its condition checked against our care plan records.

It’s a good time for us to make repairs.

Last winter we commissioned a special report on two of the ornate Jacobean plaster ceilings to assess cracks that had appeared due to movement.

This year Skillingtons, one of the UK’s leading building conservation, repair, and restoration companies will be spending four to five weeks completing the necessary repairs.

Floorboards from the room above will be lifted so that the work can be carried out without risk to the delicate ceiling decorations.

Stainless steel straps will be attached between the rear of the plaster and the joist above to help prevent further cracking.

If you’d like to find out more about our conservation work, there’ll be a 45-minute behind-the-scenes tour every weekend in November at 11am, 1pm and 2pm.

As well as seeing the house in its winter conservation phase, you’ll learn about the house’s history, and see some of the equipment and tool that we use. The tours are included with general admission - free for National Trust members.

With Christmas just around the corner, we’re starting to get excited about creating memories and enjoying the best of winter.

On December 1, 2, 8 and 9 (while stock lasts) between 9am and 3.30pm we’ll be selling 4ft-9ft Nordmann and Fraser Fir Christmas trees from £30.

There’s that excitement when you find just the right tree, and family fun and laughter to be had getting it home and decorating it together.

Whether you prefer to dress your tree traditionally or fill it with handmade decorations from years-gone-by, your home will be filled with the fresh scent of Christmas until the New Year arrives.

On December 8 and 9 you can enjoy the indoor Christmas market in the warm, rustic Airedale Barn and be surrounded by fairy lights that trace the majestic oak beams.

There’ll be lots of local stalls selling everything from scented gifts, handmade crafts, jewellery, local gins and lots more. Be tempted by the home-baked goodies, and enjoy a taste of Christmas with a heart-warming glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate.

Elsewhere, tie your wish to the giant Christmas tree in the Great Hall and crunch your way through the frosty grounds as you follow the garden trail.

The Great Barn will be dressed with fresh holly and ivy and filled with seasonal music. Find a straw bale and blanket, and enjoy a peaceful moment as you sit back and soak up the atmosphere.

Tickets are £3 per person, or £10 for 2 adults and 3 children. Please see online for full details by visiting