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Captivating festive sights at stately home

The Telegraph and Argus logo The Telegraph and Argus 03/12/2022 Helen Mead

The Long Gallery at Castle Howard. Picture: Charlotte Graham © Provided by The Telegraph and Argus The Long Gallery at Castle Howard. Picture: Charlotte Graham

EVERY visit to Castle Howard is a treat, and at Christmas especially so.

For a number of years the stately home, set in the beautiful Howardian Hills, North Yorkshire, has hosted its Christmas experience - a colourful, imaginative, festive makeover that enthrals and delights visitors of all ages.

Every year sees a different theme. Last year’s Christmas in Narnia, based on the popular series of children’s books, was a sell-out success. More than 77,000 visitors flocked to Castle Howard across its seven-week festive period.

This year’s Into The Woods: A Fairytale Christmas promises to be equally captivating. The creative team which, year after year, have transformed the elegant halls and grand rooms of the house are back with another captivating wonderland. For 2022, they have created magical forests and far away kingdoms.

Favourites from the storybook world feature along the main visitor route, including, Cinderella complete with her pumpkin carriage, Rapunzel, and her imposing tower, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and a rather large beanstalk growing in the Garden Hall before a final display in the Long Gallery where the who’s who of the fairy-tale world convene for a Met Gala-style ball. Visitors are expected to be enchanted as the sounds of slippers on ballroom floors and horse-drawn pumpkins echoing through the great halls via state-of-the-art soundscapes.

At the helm of the creative vision lies Charlotte Lloyd Webber Events, responsible for the house transformation from concept through to the installations room by room. Soundscapes and lighting are managed by The Projection Studio who will be creating an immersive fairy-tale experience. Children will marvel, seeing their storybook heroes and heroines in this very special setting.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Charlotte Lloyd Webber in one of the decorated rooms. Picture: Charlotte Graham © Provided by The Telegraph and Argus Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Charlotte Lloyd Webber in one of the decorated rooms. Picture: Charlotte Graham Charlotte Lloyd Webber in one of the decorated rooms. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Castle Howard announced their theme for this year in July, with tickets on sale a week later. The demand has been phenomenal with capacity set to beat 2021’s record figures.

The stately home was commissioned by the 3rd Earl of Carlisle in 1699 and took more than 100 years to complete. It has been home of the Carlisle branch of the Howard family for more than 300 years.

Successive generations have welcomed visitors to the house and it was first opened to the public by George Howard in 1952. Today it is run by George’s son Nick and his wife Victoria.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Long Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham © Provided by The Telegraph and Argus Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Long Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham The Long Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham

The attraction will hold two Father Christmas experiences, with an immersive theatrical experience in the main house and a Storytelling Grotto in the Courtyard.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Into the Woods is a magical experience. Picture: Charlotte Graham © Provided by The Telegraph and Argus Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Into the Woods is a magical experience. Picture: Charlotte Graham Into the Woods is a magical experience. Picture: Charlotte Graham

During the festive period, visitors can indulge in Christmas shopping at the stately home, which has a number of shops on site. Visitors can buy uniq Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Great Hall. Picture: Charlotte Graham © Provided by The Telegraph and Argus Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Great Hall. Picture: Charlotte Graham The Great Hall. Picture: Charlotte Graham ue gifts for family and friends and delicious locally produced food for Christmas dinner.

If you want to treat yourself before the full-on activity of Christmas, Castle Howard offers a festive afternoon tea which can be preceded by a walk in the grounds where points of interest include the Atlas Fountain, the lakes and the Temple of the Four Winds, from where the views across the surrounding countryside are stunning.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Castle Howard. Picture; Lisa Salmon/PA © Provided by The Telegraph and Argus Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Castle Howard. Picture; Lisa Salmon/PA Castle Howard. Picture; Lisa Salmon/PA

And for anyone who fancies a walk in a real live wood, head to Ray Wood, set beside the stately home, where you will see collections of plants and trees from around the globe. With many evergreen plants, it’s an atmospheric wood to walk in throughout all seasons. After so much rain, if you’re heading out into the estate it is wise to take a pair of wellies or walking boots.

After-dark experiences are always a hit at the stately home. Visitors can take in the magical surroundings with a mulled wine, while enjoying winter light displays and twinkling Christmas trees. It will definitely put you in the mood for Christmas.

You can even buy British-grown Christmas trees from the Garden Centre, which sits beside the house and can be visited separately. This also contains many gift ideas, not only for keen gardeners.

For children seeking adventure Skelf Island, beside the Great Lake at Castle Howard is a wondrous place.

For centuries the mythical Skelves have inhabited a secret world, over the water from Castle Howard, causing mischief and mayhem high up in the trees, interacting with birds and protecting wildlife.

Now children can join them in the treetops where ingenious treetop nest structures connected by rope bridges, slides, nets, and climbing equipment. It’s exciting to explore – and lots of fun.

*Castle Howard lies 15 miles north of York and is clearly signposted on the A64 between York and Malton. For more information on the attraction and opening times visit castlehoward.co.uk

Visitors can book tickets at castlehoward.co.uk/whats-on/christmas-at-castle-howard

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