Although the Ribble Valley has some impressive stately homes, it is hard to resist the grandiose charms of Castle Howard in Yorkshire, which on 7th December gave guests the chance to live like aristocrats – with a Christmas party amid some of the grandest antique dining tables and cabinets in England.
The event began with champagne and canapés by the Christmas tree in the Great Hall, after which there was a candle-lit tour of the South Front rooms, the antique cabinets and bookcases aglow with seasonal decorations. Guests then took their places in the genteel Long Gallery to enjoy a delicious three-course home-cooked meal. Hungers and thirsts duly slaked, the visiting Cinderellas and their princes then trooped down to the magnificent Grecian Hall to enjoy a disco and bar until midnight.
People in the Ribble Valley will probably know the antique bookcases, antique desks and other fine furniture of Castle Howard from the TV and movie adaptations of Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited. However, those who want to see the fabulous 18th century furnishings in person can still do so, as the house is open daily until 16th December. Tour the state rooms to see the Grecian frescoes, open bookcases and antique desks brought alive with traditional Christmas décor, then be serenaded with live jazz and classical music while enjoying tasty home-cooked festive food in the café and restaurant.
Back home, continue the seasonal experience by visiting one of the antique dealers in Lancashire, where the antique dining tables and Victorian dining chairs will no doubt also be dressed in festive finery.
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