This review about Christmas at Castle Howard is by Mammy Flynn who writes a blog called Fun with the Family which you can read by clicking here.
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A couple of years ago, it was recommended to me by a good friend that we pay a visit to Castle Howard near York at Christmastime. We have been to Castle Howard numerous times, it is a wonderful place and the gardens are superb, we have enjoyed many a visit including taking our dogs which are allowed in the grounds which cover 1000 acres.
The first time we went my daughter at the time was 3 and Luca only 7 months and we booked up for An Audience with Father Christmas
as soon as the tickets were released. The Christmas celebrations at Castle Howard usually start the 3rd week in November and the Father Christmas audiences are on every weekend until the last weekend before Christmas.
We received our invitations through the post about a fortnight before we went and they were beautiful. Each child got one personally addressed to them and it really added to the excitement. You just need to book for the children in advance, adults pay standard admission on the door on the day.
As soon as we arrived there was a festive atmosphere, there were Christmas trees all lit up everywhere you looked and the courtyard was beautifully decorated.
We headed to the Grecian Hall to await Father Christmas. Whilst we waited, Geoffrey the Lion
was present to keep the kids occupied with plenty of hugs and high fives.
The whole event ran like clockwork, a well oiled machine! Bang on our allotted time we were shown through to the Grecian Room to take our seats. There were smaller seats at the front of the room for the children and plenty of room at the back for us and all our paraphernalia.
The Festive Wizard appears first to amaze the children with magic and after his show the children are called upon to summon Father Christmas. We then heard the unmistakable sound of jingle bells and there he was, jolly old St Nick and what a gorgeous Father Christmas he was.
There followed a magical time full of stories and fun, with plenty of audience participation and the kids just loved it, he is an amazing Father Christmas, definitely one of the best I have seen (and I have seen many now!). He kept the crowd, young and old, entertained and some of the children’s answers to his questions were hilarious. As if by magic, Father Christmas knows each childs name and age and all the gifts are age appropriate and of very high quality. The Festive Wizard helps Sant by calling out the children’s names and they come forward to collect their gift and a hug. Afterwards there is plenty of time for photographs and a chat with Father Christmas but then he must be on his way back to his workshop.
It was a lovely, cosy, old fashioned festive experience and I was actually moved to tears watching the delight on my children’s and goddaughter’s faces.
Entrance to the house is included in the price and there was trail for the children to follow which when they completed they were awarded with a chocolate treat.
We spent a wonderful few hours wandering around the house, the christmas decorations are amazing and each room is decorated in a different style, fabulous. The show stopper has to be the Christmas tree in the Long Gallery complete with live festive music, absolutely beautiful.
You can enjoy some Christmas shopping in the various gift shops or in the Stable Courtyard, we got some yummy chocolate gifts for family members from there. There is also the option of festive dining throughout the Castle
. It is the perfect place to spend a wonderful family festive day, you will not be disappointed. The Audience with Father Christmas tickets are pretty much sold out for December but at the time of writing there was some availability in November.
We have been twice in a row now, the photographs used are from both visits to show you as much as I can without spoiling the surprises. I would not hesitate to go back and would definitely recommend a visit to see the decorations, it is worthwhile.
Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.