With a theme of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, you might expect Castle Howard’s 2018 festive opening to be shorter than usual, but this year will see the historic house open for longer than ever – 42 days, right up to New Year’s Eve, to enjoy the stunning displays created by theatrical designers, Charlotte Lloyd-Weber and Bretta Gerecke.
Here, are just 12 of the many reasons why you should visit Castle Howard this Christmas…
1. Drop-in Courtyard Santa’s Grotto– new for 2018, every weekend in December in the Courtyard Grotto, book a timed slot and beat the queues. Children choose a gift from the workshop at the end of their visit. Just £8 per child with standard admission.
2. An Enchanted Evening with Father Christmas – without doubt, one of the best Father Christmas experiences in the country, which includes a festive tea party in the Grecian Hall with WonderPhil – our Christmas wizard – a candle-lit trail around the house to find Father Christmas, and a personalised gift. The last few tickets are available priced £75 for children, and £15 per accompanying adult.
3. Festive afternoon teas – an award-winning festive indulgence, putting a seasonal twist on a traditional afternoon tea, with the option of adding a glass of bubbly, and served by an open fire in the Grecian Hall. Perfect for a pre-Christmas get-together with friends, or just because you want to! £46.95 per person, which includes admission to the House & Gardens.
4. Twixmas magic shows – don’t get the post-Christmas blues, as the House & Gardens are re-opening for the first time between Christmas and New Year (27 – 31 December). Join WonderPhil for high-energy, interactive shows from 27 to 30 December at 11am and 1pm. Tickets are £5 in advance or £6 on the day.
5. Twilight evening opening – the falling of dusk makes the thousands of lights on trees and around the House seem even brighter! For two nights only – Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 December – enjoy the house as it is bathed in candlelight and the flickering flames from the open fires. The house remains open until 7pm throughout the weekend, with the restaurant, gift shop and market stalls open until 8pm, performances from the New York Brass Band each evening, and appearances from WonderPhil the Christmas Wizard and Father Christmas. Normal admission prices apply.
6. 25ft Christmas tree in the Great Hall – we believe that this is the largest Christmas tree inside any stately home in England – certainly dwarfing the 18ft tree in Buckingham Palace!
7. Augmented reality displays –New for 2018, activate the special app on your smartphone, and elves, a virtual Christmas tree and even Santa and his reindeer will be revealed!
8. Christmas market in the courtyard – handcrafted items and unusual products, find inspiration for your Christmas shopping in the Boar Garden Christmas market open daily.
9. Fresh Christmas trees in the Garden Centre – make Castle Howard your one-stop shop this Christmas, by following up a visit to the house with the purchase of your own Christmas tree to continue the festive celebrations at home. You can even buy all your baubles from the Garden Centre or bauble shop.
10. Locally-grown and sourced fresh produce from the farm shop– the tastiest turkeys, geese and pheasants are prepared ready to cook by the butchers in Castle Howard’s farm shop, with many more treats available from the deli, and fresh fruit and veg. Shoppers ordering before 25 November save 10%.
11. Exquisite gifts from the gift shops – our retail team have scoured the country to find the a host of beautiful and unusual Christmas gifts to suit every pocket, from body lotions to jewellery, end your visit to Castle Howard with a browse around these stunning retail displays.
12. Christmas dinner – enjoy turkey and all the trimmings in the Fitzroy Restaurant or the Courtyard Café, or enjoy a lighter snack in the Boar Garden marquee.