From Castle Howard to Chatsworth House – what some of our great country houses are doing this Christmas

For many people, a day at one of our historic mansions is as much a Christmas tradition as it is going to panto and watching reruns of the Morecambe and Wise specials on TV. Here are six eye-catching exhibits that you can enjoy across the region …

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Following the success of the 2019 award-winning A Night at the Mansion, created by acclaimed multimedia artists Davy and Kristin McGuire, the estate near Leeds returns with another awe-inspiring spectacle.

Caitlin Wall helps set up the toys for the Upon a Christmas Wish exhibit at Harewood House near Leeds. (Tony Johnson).

This year’s festive and striking visual display in Harewood is called Upon a Christmas Wish, created by so-called ‘pretend connoisseurs’ Lord Whitney.

The Leeds-based art studio specializes in immersive stories and experiences, and the show created for Harewood centers around the story of a young girl whose festive wish for a Christmas like no other is fulfilled.

It features festively themed theater sets, starlit rooms, dancing and moving shadow sets, as well as poetry and a cinematic soundtrack.

This weekend will see the final Festive Gift Fair, as well as a winter walk and chat with the Head Gardener of Harewood (December 9), calligraphy workshops (December 11) and a winter birding event. (December 15) to watch.

Two children explore a Christmas exhibit in Castle Howard, near York. (Jonathan Gawthorpe).

Upon a Christmas Wish runs until January 3. Tickets can be pre-booked at

Sir William Constable’s majestic old stack, between Bridlington and Beverley, reopened last month in time for the holiday season.

The Elizabethan Mansion offers visitors the opportunity to stroll through 30 rooms filled with artwork and furniture that have been transformed with seasonal flower arrangements, decorations, and garlands.

Retro Christmas at Kiplin Hall, Richmond, takes you back to the 70s (Simon Hulme).

The popular Cobwebs & Cream Teas behind-the-scenes tour, where expert guides also give you access to cellars, attics, rooftops and various nooks and crannies, is also a welcome return. afternoon tea in the kitchen of the stables.

Cobwebs & Cream Teas is available until December 19. For ticket prices, opening times and booking details, visit

Christmas is always big business at Castle Howard and this year the estate near Malton isn’t holding back with its festive display which includes a real 28-foot-tall Christmas tree – considered the tallest decorated indoor tree in the world. country.

An estimated 1,500 meters of fairy lights wrap around the giant spruce tree, which stands in the Great Hall (apparently it’s too tall for its usual spot near the stairs).

“We believe this is the largest true indoor Christmas tree in the country, measuring around eight feet taller than the impressive tree normally housed at Buckingham Palace,” said Nicholas Howard, the current caretaker. from Castle Howard. “It’s definitely the biggest we’ve had.”

The tree is one of the centerpieces of the Christmas exhibit in Narnia. The Long Gallery has been transformed into a winter wonderland inspired by CS Lewis’ classic book series The Narnia Chronicles, which reimagines some of the places Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy encountered.

“For our exhibits, visitors don’t just enter the world of Narnia, they retrace the footsteps of the Pevensie children from their familiar surroundings at Professor Digory Kirke’s home in the world of perpetual winter ruled by the white witch.” , says artistic director Charlotte Lloyd Webber.

As well as being visually stunning, there is an accompanying soundscape, created by Karen Monid, that evokes both the 1940s and the magic of Narnia.

Christmas in Narnia runs through January 2. For more information and to book, visit

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If, like me, you grew up in the 1970s or have a soft spot for the decade that fashion is supposed to have forgotten, then this show just might be the party show for you.

Kiplin Hall, near Richmond, got kitsch this year with A Retro Christmas! which includes everything from foil decorations and macrame balls to popular toys of the time, which are all used to decorate the historic halls of the hall.

It’s also possible to experience some of the day’s fashions on the Long Gallery’s catwalk, while the tearoom menu features nostalgic flavors.

Curator Alice Rose hopes the exhibits will trigger happy memories for people.

“Described as the decade that made modern life, the 1970s were a really interesting time. This event is truly a celebration, meant as a tonic after some very weird years. The toys and decorations on display are meant to bring back fond memories to people in their own lives, ”she says.

“By exploring a more recent and recognizable time, we are able to stimulate people’s own memories, initiating conversations about days gone by and how life has changed.”

It’s not just a hazy gaze through rose-tinted glasses, with issues like the winter of discontent, blackouts, and the three-day week all explored.

But there are plenty of things to cheer up, like the disco ball course in the gardens and a raffle to win items from the exhibits, including a reproduction of a Chopper bike and space hopper. Happy Days….

The exhibition runs until December 12, when the hall and gardens close for the winter. For more information and ticket prices go to

For many people, when the festive decorations are put up at Chatsworth House, it is a sure sign that Christmas is approaching.

This year the Derbyshire Estate celebrates its 20th anniversary since opening for the holiday season.

In 2001, the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in February of the same year had a devastating impact on the countryside and rural communities.

At the time, Chatsworth normally closed from October to Easter, but the 11th Duke of Devonshire decided to keep the house open in the hopes that it would help the local economy. What was initially conceived as a one-off event drew thousands of visitors and has grown into the largest event on the estate’s calendar.

This year’s highlight is a snow installation in the inner courtyard, while the rooms on the Christmas route for visitors evoke the past seasons of Victorian-era traditions and the world of Charles Dickens.

Meanwhile, the chapel features the sound of festive music and, in a nod to contemporary Christmas ideas, there is an inventive use of recycled materials to illustrate the potential of sustainable decorating.

Christmas in Chatsworth runs through January 9. For more details, visit

This year’s festive theme at this Palladian treasure on the Doncaster Road near Wakefield is simple – namely ‘celebrating nature’.

Natural materials have been used to beautify the house and yard, and from this weekend until Christmas Eve, families will be able to join the Winter Wander Trail from Park Ranger Percy.

Meanwhile, in the house itself, a Christmas dinner comes to life, with decorated trees, festive greenery in the fireplaces, and seasonal flower arrangements.

The house is open seven days a week during the holiday season.

Christmas at Nostell runs until December 24. For more details visit

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