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Deck the hall! The magical mansion with a Christmas tree in all 52 rooms

The Hall at Abbey-Cwm-Hir. Photo:

Lovers of all things Christmas no longer need to go as far as the North pole for their festive fix - instead, they can head to Mid Wales.

In the picturesque village of Abbey-Cwm-Hir, near Llandrindod Wells, you will find a country house where Santa stops early.

At the beginning of October every year, owners Paul and Victoria Humpherston begin decorating the whole place. All 52 rooms have a tree and theme.

There is a crystal tree, a knitted tree and even a tree adorned with hundreds of pieces of fine china. If you look forward to the Downton Abbey Christmas special, this will be right up your alley - or long gravelled driveway!

Built in 1834 by Thomas Wilson, the house was doubled in size by the Philips family in 1869, who added an impressive snooker room in 1894.

The drawing room and a bone china tree.
The crystal tree in the dining room.

Paul and Victoria bought the Hall in 1997 and spent years restoring it. To help pay for the upkeep, they open the house to the public during the winter and thousands of people come through the front door - albeit without their footwear.

Victoria asks all guests to leave their shoes in the vaulted porch and you can hardly blame her. It's not easy keeping a mansion clean - especially with all the trimmings up. And when your feet hit the deep carpets you feel very much at home - especially with the sound of crackling fires and smell of cinnamon. Victoria says regular visitors now turn up ready with their slippers!

The tree in the bathroom!

The villagers are also very welcome here - a team of them volunteer to host the guided tours and help put up all the decorations.

I can't help but wonder what it must be like to pack all this away and where it is all stored. Apparently these are the most common questions they get asked. The answer is that 40 fake trees squash up neatly under the billiard table - a table currently showcasing hundreds of beautifully wrapped gifts.

There is no doubt Victoria is a creative genius when it comes to decorating rooms and trees, but she claims her husband is now pretty talented with tinsel. I tell her I could imagine her decorating the windows in the fine department stores of London and she reacts very modestly.

No room for snooker at this time of year!
Santa's squeeze!

There is nothing stuffy or snobby about this place, or the people who live and volunteer here. They are in grand surroundings but manage to inject humor and festive spirit. I particularly liked the sight of Santa stuck up the chimney in one of the attic bedrooms. And how could I forget the tree next to the toilet? Baubles in the bathroom are not something many of us are used to!

And aside from Christmas, another interesting tale about this place (and a wagging 'tale', no less!)

If you lived in the local mansion in a village called Abbey-Cwm-Hir, what would you call your dog?

You guessed it - and yes, I did enjoy calling her over for a stroke - "Abbie... come here!"

Abbie the dog!