Running until 5 January, every public room in the historic house will be dressed in ornate and elaborate feathers, sequins, baubles and twinkling lights as visitors join the Howard family as they prepare for a Venetian-themed Christmas Carnival, complete with masquerade ball and entertainment from Harlequin, Pierrot, Colombine and Puchinello – part of the Commedia dell’arte troupe.

“Castle Howard is a house that was built with a sense of theatre and extravagance inspired by Venetian design – Vanbrugh was both an architect and a playwright – and at a time of year when glittering opulence makes its way into almost every home, we couldn’t think of a better opportunity to explore a tradition enjoyed by generations of the Howard family, the masquerade ball,” comments producer, Charlotte Lloyd Webber, who alongside theatrical designer Bretta Gerecke, has led the team of set dressers, florists, baublographers, artists and seamstresses to create the immersive masquerade experience.

Each weekend during the seven week Christmas opening, those visiting will be joined by members of the Commedia dell’arte troupe for live entertainment around the house, whilst soundscapes and music arranged by Hon. Nicholas Howard provide an additional sensory appeal to the proceedings.

“Christmas at Castle Howard is an experience never to be forgotten, with many people returning year after year to get their festive ‘fix’, whether to take inspiration back for their own home designs, or simply just to marvel at how an already beautiful property can be transformed into this magical place – a veritable festive film set that you can walk through and admire!” comments head of marketing, Abbigail Ollive.  “Each year’s designs are totally different, and the jewel-like sapphire blues, ruby reds and golden amber bring a whole new colour palette to this year’s displays.”

Alongside the stunning Christmas decorations, family traditions continue to be honoured with a host of opportunities to meet Father Christmas in the Courtyard Santa’s Grotto – for which time slots are booked on the day – is expected to be fantastically popular. 

 The excitement of the Christmas preparations are not just for children, with Christmas Afternoon Tea experiences – served by an open fire in the beautiful Grecian Hall – especially popular with couples and groups of friends.  An indulgent selection of exquisite savoury treats and sweet delights awaits.

Both the Castle Howard garden centre and farm shop are also gearing up for their busiest time of the year, preparing Christmas trees to grace homes around the country, and delicious fresh food for the Christmas dining table. 

Castle Howard: A Christmas Masquerade runs until Sunday 5 January 2020 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).  Tickets available online from £20 (Adult), £19 (Concession) £11.50 (Child) Family tickets available.  Prebooking is strongly recommended with 10% off tickets booked online in advance, visit www.castlehoward.co.uk

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