We were invited to the opening weekend of Christmas at Castle Howard this weekend.
It was actually the first time I’ve been with my girls (apart from when my eldest was in a sling aged 2 months old at their Christmas Market in 2012!) and I wasn’t sure what to expect. At aged 4 and 22 months, I was intrigued (and a little worried… my youngest is affectionately known as ‘The Thuglet’) to see if a grand house like this would hold their attention without the safety net of a children specific play zone or loads of activities for kids (there is an adventure playground near the Great Lake but the weather wasn’t playing ball for us this time)
Anyway – I need not have worried… the house is so spectacular that it would impress anyone aged 90 days to 90 years. As you all know, I live and breathe children focussed events in and around York but it was a reminder that many seemingly ‘grown up’ places are so fascinating to little eyes too. With the addition of the incredible Christmas trees decorating most rooms in the house from now until 23rd December, it was a sparkling, twinkling, festive feast for the senses!
We were given a ‘Gingerbread trail’ map on entering the house which was the perfect game to focus my eldest on finding the different items throughout the house, to complete the lyrics of famous Christmas Songs (It also led to a super cute moment where she recited ‘twinkle twinkle’ to a room full of kind strangers who gave a little applause and made her day… proud mum moment!)
There was a fantastically talented Pianist playing in the hall which really added to the special Festive feel (daily live music timetable can be found on the website) – the trees were all just phenomenal (the hanging garlands in the darker rooms were the girls favourites as they could chase each other in and out of them) and the other Christmassy instillations like the snowy gingerbread model Castle Howard and the idyllic giant ‘dolls house’ and gardens were just magical. We enjoyed a delicious lunch in the extended dining area (even with a cheeky glass of Prosecco… well it is Christmas right?) and we took the tractor trailer ride back to the entrance for my daughter to collect her gingerbread trail prize of a golden chocolate coin… winner every time!
I’d highly recommend a visit to the Castle Howard if you can – it really got us into the Christmas spirit. Unfortunately their ‘Audience with Father Christmas’ next weekend is already sold out but regardless, it is a grand day out whatever their age and whatever the weather. (And remember you can find other places to see Santa listed on York Mumbler here)
Tickets can be bought in advance (10% discounted) on line or on the day you visit.
Visit the website for further details, to see the music schedule or to download the Visitor Guide HERE