words Claire Lomax
We’d been to Castle Howard twice before but had messed up the timings and missed visiting the main house itself. So when we discovered they were producing an ‘Into The Woods’ Christmas experience that would transform the grand rooms into magical forests and faraway kingdoms it seemed the perfect opportunity to rectify past misdemeanors.
Created by Charlotte Lloyd Webber Event Design and The Projection Studio, who created the sell-out successful Christmas in Narnia experience last year, ‘Into The Woods’ is a fantastic way to see the main house for the first time, or indeed, the perfect excuse for a festive return visit. The design of the house is incredible in itself and lends itself so well to this particular fairytale transformation. There’s lots of bare stone, marble, dark mysterious hallways, grander chambers and a magnificent main hallway. In the alcoves are actual Roman and Greek statues alongside Victorian recreations. The house itself becomes part of the experience.
These grand rooms are transformed so that you’re transported into magical woods and faraway lands. Layered onto this are sounds and projections that bring the fairy tales to life. You will find yourself attending the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party before stumbling into Cinderella’s ball complete with magical carriage. Pause for a dance amongst the guests as you glide between the ballrooms.
We were lucky as our kids had an inset day and so it was quieter than usual. We also went later in the day as well which turned out to add to the magic of the experience. As dusk dawned the projections and the lighting took on an otherworldly character.
If you’re lucky you might get to see the great man himself as Father Christmas is due to be making visits throughout December. The lane between the house and the entrance building is lined with Christmas trees which were lit up as we were leaving. A nice final touch for our visit.
You can combine your visit with a walk to the lake and enjoy the adventure playground over the rope bridge. The shops back at the entrance sell some amazing treats perfect for the indulgence of the Christmas season. All in all it’s a great place for a magical yuletide experience.
To find out more visit the Castle Howard website