Monday, 18 December 2017

Christmas at Chatsworth

Hello! I know it has been quite a long time since I updated this blog (nearly a year!) but I finally have the means to blog again (two broken laptops later) so I'm hoping to get back on track with a post about two of my favourite things - Chatsworth and Christmas.

Some of you may remember my post about Chatsworth House last year. Chatsworth is one of my favourite places to visit; I have memories of visiting as a child and it will always hold a certain level of nostalgia and joy for me. Despite this, I've never been able to visit at Christmas. It's always incredibly busy at Christmas (especially at the weekend) but this year my Dad, my sister and I were all able to book the same day off work so we thought it would be nice to take a family trip to see the house in its Christmas splendour and take Bree on a walk around the grounds and gardens. Chatsworth has a Christmas theme each year, and this year was Dickens, which I was very excited about!

I will warn you that this post is just full of Christmas trees!

We booked a slot for 12:15 (entrance to the house is timed at Christmas) and despite being Monday and during term-time, it was incredibly busy. Most of my photos are detail shots because it was very crowded and it was difficult to take photographs on a larger scale.

It actually took us 10 minutes to walk through the entrance hall as the decorations were so beautiful and I stopped to take photographs. All of the fires were lit which filled the house with a beautiful warm and cosy smell (I love the smell of a real fireplace in winter). I adored the book tree in this room! The ajoining room featured a row of Victorian shop fronts but I didn't take any photographs (other than the door shown below) as it was just too busy.

We then moved on to my favourite room in the house, which was decorated to represent the scene with the Ghost of Christmas Present, with garlands and wreaths everywhere. I can't quite describe just how spectacular this room was -it was stunning and the attention to detail was wonderful. The tree was the largest Christmas tree I've ever seen.

The next room on the route (the Christmas tour has a set route) was the hall with the stairway, which was beautifully decorated but easily the busiest of all the rooms (I rushed through here a little as it became a little claustrophobic).

We then went upstairs to the see the rest of the house. The first room upstairs was the space created for Fagin from Oliver Twist. The Christmas event includes live actors, but Fagin wasn't there for our time slot which was a little disappointing. The set was impressive though.

After visiting the Fagin set we entered my favourite part of the house - the library. The decorations in the library were lovely, and I adored the nod to Little Dorrit on the Christmas tree.

After visiting the library we went into the dining room, which was styled on Great Expectations. This was the room I was most looking forward to seeing when I booked the tickets and it did not disappoint. I just wish I had been able to get closer to the table to appreciate the detail but it was roped off. We did meet the live actor playing Miss Havisham though. I wasn't looking forward to the live actors at all (I hate being accosted or being forced to participate in public theatre) but it was done incredibly well - she told the visitors the story of her wedding and she was surprisingly funny. You could ignore her if you wanted to do so - we stayed until she finished her story. It actually made me sad that we missed seeing Fagin and Bill Sykes during our visit (we only saw Miss Havisham).

After visiting the house we took Bree on a walk through the gardens (she loved the rockery and the tunnel in particular) which was lovely. It was quite mild so it wasn't unbearably cold! We did see a woman climb into the cascade and walk across it though, which was a bit bizarre!

I really had a wonderful day. I highly recommend visiting Chatsworth at Christmas the displays are amazing. It was crowded, but definitely worth a visit. I will be braving the crowds again next year! I will say that a few of the scenes weren't suitable for children (a trembling Scrooge in one of the beds freaked out a few children near me) but you can miss those if you have children with you. I also wouldn't recommend visiting the Christmas event if it is your first time visiting as the decorations obscure the house, so if you are looking to see the history of the house I wouldn't recommend it. The Christmas displays are stunning though!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas to those of you who celebrate!

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