Family Travel Blog

Castle Howard Christmas 2018 – 12 Days of Christmas

Castle Howard Christmas 2018 – 12 Days of Christmas

Castle Howard Christmas 2018 – The 12 Days of Christmas at Castle Howard runs from 17 November to 31 December 2018.  Tickets go on sale at 9am on Tuesday 4 September 2018

It’s 112 days (from Tuesday 4 September) until the big day itself, but with the grand opening of Castle Howard’s 12 Days of Christmas opening just 75 days away, tickets have gone on sale for the most exclusive festive experiences, including the Enchanted Evening with Father Christmas which usually sells out in hours!  This year is set to be Castle Howard’s biggest festival celebration yet, with the house opening for even longer – until 31 December – so that visitors can enjoy the stunning Christmas displays and decorations by Charlotte Lloyd-Webber and Bretta Gerecke, this year themed around the 12 Days of Christmas.

“This is our longest ever Christmas opening, with just three days of closure – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day – before we re-open for those looking for something interesting to do in the lull between Christmas and New Year,” comments Head of Marketing, Abbigail Ollive. “After last year’s displays of Angels received such a warm reception from visitors, we are delighted to have the creative team back on board for this year’s decorations, and we’re very excited that our Father Christmas will return for a host of special events to add even more magic to the festive season.”

To mark the launch of this year’s Christmas programme, Castle Howard has revealed a specially-commissioned illustration by York-based artist Emily Sutton, featuring all of the characters from the famous Christmas ballad of true love, against a backdrop of Castle Howard’s South Front. The illustration is set to be used across all of Castle Howard’s festive marketing. Emily is no stranger to Christmas illustrations, having created Betty’s first ever TV advert last year with her endearing animated winter animals!

Tickets going on sale on Tuesday 4 September include the ultimate ‘Enchanted Evening with Father Christmas’, when children not only get a private audience with the great man, but also have a special party tea, magic show and get to explore the house after dark in the company of one of his helpers! The experience is customised to each child, with a letter sent to every participant inviting them along, and a unique gift based on suggestions from their family. Priced at £75 per child, the Enchanted Evening with Father Christmas has been described as the best Christmas experience for children this side of Lapland!

Other encounters with the great man are also available in the traditional Audience with Father Christmas, with children enjoying a magic show before Father Christmas comes to tell them a special festive story by a roaring fire, in the atmospheric setting of the Grecian Hall. Participants also receive an age-appropriate Christmas gift at the end of the magical session, priced at £25 per child.


Twixmas Magic Shows at Castle Howard


Looking for the perfect day out between Christmas and New Year?  Enjoy a high energy, interactive, fun-filled twixmas magic show with WonderPhil!  Shows will take place daily between the 27th December 2018 and 30th December 2018 at 11am and 1pm. The shows will be performed inside the Christmas Marquee, next to the House. 

Online ticket price £5.00 per child, on the day price £6.00*. This event is free for Gold Friends of Castle Howard. Silver Friends of Castle Howard will need to purchase a regular £5.00 ticket online or £6.00 on the day.   Please Note: accompanying adults will need to purchase grounds admission tickets.


Review of Castle Howard at Christmas 2017

Christmas at Castle Howard is always special.  They really go to town with Christmas trees and fairy lights, in a very tasteful but opulent way. We visited again this year and we weren’t disappointed!  I am very predictable and followed my normal path of taking the land train down to the adventure playground.  You can buy food and hot drinks here in the Boathouse Cafe to keep you going while the children are playing.

They were selling these very festive looking cakes there:

Also, I picked up a leaflet here to say that there was going to be a Santa’s Grotto in the Boathouse Cafe in addition to the normal Santa activities.  I have found the press release here:

“Visiting Santa is an annual tradition for so many people – our ‘Audiences with Father Christmas’ sold out before we’d opened the doors to this year’s festive displays – and we were keen that this could still be part of the Castle Howard at Christmas experience for visiting families,” explains Nicholas Howard. “The joy of our Boathouse Grotto is that timed slots are available every Saturday and Sunday, with no need to book weeks in advance – so whether you are visiting for the full decorated house experience, or as a regular visitor to the grounds, you can still get to see the great man himself.”

and here is the leaflet for more info:

and another leaflet you might be interested in:

When the children had got suitably tired, we took the land train back up to the house and began our tour.  The children were given a treasure hunt sheet with pictures of angels to find.  Once completed this can be posted in a postbox in the shop for a chance to win a year’s family pass.  

Do read below for the official press release and information about this year’s ‘Angels on High’ theme.  They can word it better than I can – but I can show you the pictures I took!

I love this miniature Castle Howard:

I also thought this huge door that you could knock on was marvellous! (and so did the kids!)

They also loved this elf house:

A visit to Castle Howard at Christmas is always worthwhile to see the decorations and really put you in the festive mood.  See Santa as well if you can for a really big Christmas day out in Yorkshire!

  Read all for all the official info!

Castle Howard Christmas 2017 – Angels on High

18 November 2017 – 23 December 2017

We love a Castle Howard Christmas trip and have visited the last few years.  I love the opulent Christmassy feel to the house, and the grounds are beautiful on a frosty day too.  They do a fabulous ‘Audience with Father Christmas’ here if you want to visit Santa himself – just make sure you book early!  This year they are decorating with ‘Angelic Imagery’.  We have reviewed a day out at Castle Howard with children here, but I am hoping to visit to review at Christmas.  Also have a look at my Ten Magical Christmas Events in Yorkshire post for other ideas.  It really is one of my favourite Castle Howard events.

In the meantime, have a look at the press release I was sent:

Angelic imagery found in historic artworks will provide heavenly inspiration for this year’s festive spectacular at Castle Howard. ‘Angels on High’ will watch over visitors experiencing the North Yorkshire stately home’s elaborate Christmas decorations.

Bringing the angelic theatre to Castle Howard are creative producer and co-director of Oxford Shakespeare Company and Lamplighter Drama, Charlotte Lloyd Webber, and award-winning Canadian theatre designer, Bretta Gerecke. They will join the Howard family and site team to transform the house into a remarkable Christmas experience that feels like a theatre performance – but without live performers.

“As a theatre practitioner, the idea of a house that’s built on theatre, as this was, by playwright and dramatist, Vanbrugh, is totally fascinating. It’s a bit like theatre made stone,” explains Charlotte, who has taken inspiration from paintings, architecture and stained glass on display within Castle Howard to create an angelic festive theme that reflects its surroundings. Indeed, the approach that she and Bretta have taken treats the 26 discrete spaces they are decorating as theatrical sets – mini or maxi operas depending on the size of the room.

“We want visitors to walk through the spaces and feel that they are familiar and beautiful and respectful of the house, but also a bit magical, infused with our own new offerings for Christmas.
We want them to leave feeling an uplifting sense of thrill, even more engaged with this beautiful, beautiful house, and seeing it anew,” explains Bretta.

Each of the rooms will have its own angelic detailing, some with subtle references to angels, and others filled with a host of seraphs – including a stunning centrepiece in the Long Gallery. Inspired by the intricate designs of 18th century Baroque and created using the contemporary art of laser cutting, Gallery of Angels will be populated with a host of golden heavenly angels flying the 45 metre length of the impressive space.

“Castle Howard has a long reputation for having the most elaborate and extensive Christmas decorations in Yorkshire, and dressing a property of this size is a huge undertaking, so we are delighted to have Charlotte and Bretta leading the team this year. Their understanding of the architectural drama within the house has enabled them to develop this unique theme that will connect every room in such a beautiful way,” comments the Hon Nicholas Howard.

The elaborate Christmas decorations are part of a packed programme of seasonal activity at Castle Howard, the planning for which started 12 months ago. Highlights will include:
• A brand new Christmas afternoon tea, served by a roaring fire in the Grecian Hall, with savoury treats created by head chef David Haynes, and stunning scones and patisserie created by head pastry chef Vanessa Wade.
• A new cosy indoor Christmas market in the Courtyard in the recently renovated Old Stables to operate alongside the farm shop, Courtyard Café, Carriage House gift shop and garden centre. Accessible daily from 21 October, free of charge.
• Father Christmas experiences, including the Enchanted Evening with Father Christmas, which includes a fireside tea party and a candlelit trail into the house before meeting the great man himself in the Great Hall (limited spaces available).
• The return of the gingerbread Castle Howard, created in 2016 by Bompas & Parr. This elaborate illuminated biscuit model of the house and grounds is displayed complete with a working gingerbread train in the darkened setting of the Cabinet Room.
• Father Christmas’s Magical Garden, a new family-friendly sequence of rooms, with cabins for Castle Howard’s younger visitors to explore.

Castle Howard will once again be opening late for twilight visits on the weekend of 16 and 17 December, when the thousands of twinkling lights will be joined by hundreds of candles, reindeer and live music for a uniquely atmospheric festive experience.

Tickets for Christmas at Castle Howard are now available to book online, priced at £18.95 for adults, £17.50 for concessions and £9.95 for children. A family ticket (two adults and up to three children) is £47.85, and under 4s get in free. Early bird tickets for visits between Saturday 18 and Friday 24 November are available with discounts online of up to 20%.

Yorkshire Wonders

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