Walking through the gardens and alongside the lakes before taking a step into the glamour of Venice this festive season.
These typical English grounds in Yorkshire are probably best enjoyed at other times of the year when the ground is drier and crisper and the lake side facilities are open, but for those that enjoy embracing the wintry weather, these days are still very enjoyable.
The walled gardens are neatly kept and if you’re lucky enough to find a decent fallen apple on the ground they taste sweet and fresh. A variety of statues can be found around the grounds with views of the house from afar and across to the mausoleum and other out buildings. There are small wooded areas to explore, lake areas to lay back and walking paths to enjoy.
After the long driveway leading to the property entrance of Castle Howard the old stables are now the home of the ticket office, food outlets and shops. To the south of the main house are the gardens, Lime walk, Atlas Fountain, South Lake with the Prince of Wales Fountain, Temple Hole, the Temple of Four Winds and the Temple Terrace walk amongst other features.
At the near side to the entrance is Boar Garden and a festive marquee. To the far side is the Ray Wood walk through the woodland, the site of the Temple of Venus and Polar Bear walk.
To the north of the main house is the Great Lake offering boat trips at other times of the year. The Lakeside Holiday Park and Skelf Island Adventure Playground. The Kelly Car road train runs frequently, picking up passengers from the main entrance, taking them to the house for the Christmas Emporium or the boathouse and adventure playground.
A Christmas Masquerade is the theme for the property across this festive period. Running from 16th November 2019 until 5th January 2020 it is to pay tribute to the stately home’s original designers who had been inspired by the Italian Baroque and would frequently make references to the splendour of Venice.
The Creative Producer behind the displays is Charlotte Lloyd Webber, the depth of intricacy shown throughout is spectacular.
Enticed in the preparations for a Venetian carnival blended with the festive traditions of a Christmas Pantomime, we, the visitors are the guests of this ball. We are taken to meet the characters of Colombine, Pierrot, Pulchinello and Harlequin. Welcomed into the main hall with one of the countries largest indoor trees, reaching over 25 foot.
Each step is colourful, glittery and vibrant.
Introduced to the entertainment, the costumes, the masks, the history that revolves around this splendour. We sense the emotion, feel the festivity and engage in the excitement.
We see the pantomime and the library. We are invited to the music room and the dinner table, remembering also the magnificence of this stately home with the chance to admire the paintings that cover the walls. After dinner, we pass through to the drawing room.
And then we arrive as we find ourselves passing through the Grand Canal of Venice, passing through the masked guests and over the bridges before stopping to take a look back and seeing the shimmering of the water as it reflects the gaiety we have just experienced.