National Trust venue Hinton Ampner near Bramdean recently opened its doors for Christmas and welcomed more than 2,000 visitors over the first weeked to its re-telling of J M Barrie’s Peter Pan – but with a big festive twist, as each room featured a sparkling Christmas tree.

The entrance hall had become the nursery for the Darling family children, and the dining room was transformed into Captain Hook’s treasure trove.

Highlights included Peter Pan’s flying shadow flitting across a room and, especially for younger visitors, a life-size ticking crocodile. Outside there were more surprises, with mermaids in the pond and Nana the dog’s kennel where visiting pooches could have their picture taken.

Visitor experience manager Michaela Saunders-Hall said: “We sold nearly 800 tickets in our first four hours of box office opening, which has never happened before. I think this year more than ever people want to escape into something magical and joyful.

“It’s been a real thrill seeing the delight and surprise on people’s faces as they wander through the rooms and discover all sorts of fun things in the garden. Everyone is loving the moving Peter Pan shadow, and the mermaids relaxing in the pond.

“We’ve seen grandparents with memories of the story introducing it to their grandchildren.”