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Sunday, 7 December 2014

A Victorian Christmas at Charlecote Park

The build up to the Victorian Christmas at Charlecote Park has been lovely to watch this year. I was very excited to see how it would all look and I just happened to be there when the trees arrived so I was able to photograph this happening.
We all know what it's like to get our Christmas Tree home and then decorate it. Imagine doing that several times over! You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

The picture below shows the garden team carrying the biggest tree of this years collection into the house, which now stands inside the Grand Hall........ With Christmas hats of course :)

The amazing house staff and volunteers have turned this view below...

Into this and doesn't it look great?

This beautiful view did not happen overnight or on its own. I have seen all the staff and volunteers at Charlecote work very hard over the last few weeks to bring this all together. They have been very kind in allowing me to tag along with them and record it all. There is so much behind-the-scenes planning and preparation, before the decorating even starts and they have all done an amazing job and it doesn't stop there. I felt I had to include them in this blog.
Here are some of the photos that were taken of staff and volunteers preparing the house for Christmas.

 Now the celebrations start during the Christmas weekends leading up to  Christmas with beautiful walks around the house and grounds, listening to festive music outside the Orangery while sipping warm drinks and eating yummy cakes and delicious scones, or choosing something else from their lovely fresh selection. Don't you just love this time of year?

If you pop into the Orangery, take a little time to check out the beautiful paintings hanging on the walls. They have been painted by the 'Coventry Watercolour Society' The display is on until March so plenty of time to view them. Also check out the new revamped serving area in the Orangery. It looks so much better.

Walking around Charlecote Park yesterday really did put me into the Christmas spirit. The last couple of  months have been really stressful with my daughter not being well at all but as usual, Charlecote came to the rescue. For those who don't know, Charlecote Park is my very much needed 'time out' from day to day life and always a welcome break. As soon as I walk through those gates to the park, I leave all my troubles behind. OK so I have to walk back out of them but for the time spent there, it is my own.
Walking around the park yesterday was a real joy with music playing from the 'Bedworth Concert Band'. I stopped to listen to them for a while. Music and Christmas just really go together.

I had heard there was to be some story telling in the entrance to the Woodland Garden which I had to check out. It was lovely to see not only the children but adults too, enjoying the stories told. There was even a little singing going on :)

There was also art and crafts in the Gatehouse which I joined in for a little while. Children (and adults) could make decorations and then hang them on the trees. Lots of visitors stopped by to see what was going on. I think all the children did a lovely job. Pop in and have a look. This,like  everything else I have mentioned, will be going on every weekend until Christmas.

Next I moved on to the Brewery where there was something for the adults. A little beer and mulled wine tasting and I have to say that the mulled wine was one of the best I have tried. It was very yummy and on a frost day, perfect as a cosy winter warmer. 

I wasn't the only one enjoying the tasting yesterday, Lots of agreeable smiles going around :)
Next stop had to be the Victorian Kitchen with cooking over the fire and roasting chestnuts. The kitchen is always a popular place and one of my favourite rooms when looking around old houses. The smells coming from this kitchen are enough to bring anyone in to see what is cooking. This lady in the pictures below is not one of the normal volunteers who work in the kitchen but one of the staff members who stood in to help when the kitchen became really busy. A lady with many talents. Roast chestnuts anyone?

I was really looking forward to seeing Father Christmas this year as I knew he would be wearing his traditional British green outfit this year. The entrance to his grotto this year, was through the Turret which also leads to the holiday flat. Welcoming children at the entrance, was Father Christmas' helpers. Lots of smiles yesterday from staff, volunteers and visitors. :)

Father Christmas was kind enough to allow me a quick visit to see him and take a photo which I though was lovely considering he is so busy at this time of year! I loved the traditional clothes.

Look out for odd characters from the past as you walk around Charlecote. You never know who you might see.

I have to admit I did not go into the house properly yesterday as I had been able to get a sneak preview the day before and I have to say, it looks beautiful! My pictures do not show off its true beauty, for that you will have to come and see for yourself.

The Grand Hall as always looks amazing. This year, it was decided that the house would be decorated in the Victorian theme and they have done it beautifully.

There is also a game to keep the children amused as they walk around the house. See how many little pigs they can find. Here is a clue to where one is but in which tree is it?

The real pigs are not looking amused that their cuddly toys are being used!

Another one of my favourite rooms in any house has to be the dining room and this year Charlecote's dining room looks so cosy.

                                    I love the gingerbread men on this tree.

The table is dressed beautifully. I always walk around these old houses dreaming a little of what it must have been like to live there in the old days but I have to admit, I dream a little more at this time of year.

The Drawing room which is doubling as Father Christmas's Grotto at the moment, looked very festive and was set as the morning of Christmas day with unwrapped traditional toys all over the floor.

 You can actually imagine the children playing there.

Everywhere I went looked lovely and so festive. I walked away feeling very much in the spirit of Christmas and look forward to coming back again. Next weekend I will be back in Norfolk but I will be back at Charlecote for the last weekend before Christmas and I am really looking forward to it.
Before leaving, even though light was fading, I was able to have a quick look inside the Summer House. It wasn't the best light to show off the inside of the house but this lovely little house is a future project of mine to cover in another blog.

From within the Summer House, I could imagine the children playing inside it and being called back to the main house as light faded. What a beautiful view out of the window they would have had.

Watching the sunset through the windows.

If you haven't got all your Christmas presents yet, the shop at Charlecote Park has lots of festive treats. Here are just a few of them.

This time of year is also a lovely time to go to Charlecote to see the deer and if we are lucky, we might get some snow this year. I do hope so as I am longing to get out and take some snowy pictures with the deer again.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog. Thank you for reading it.

I would like to dedicate this blog to all staff and volunteers at Charlecote Park who have made Christmas feel like Christmas this year. You have done an amazing job and I have truly loved viewing and photographing it all. Thank You so much.

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