Castle Howard: a stately home that looks good enough to eat

    The Bompas & Parr gingerbread replica of Castle Howard. Credit: Anthony Chappel-Ross
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    “As anyone who has visited knows, scale is something that Castle Howard knows a thing or two about,” says Victoria Howard of the glorious John Vanbrugh-designed stately home which found global fame in 1981 after it was used as the eponymous Brideshead in the Granada Television adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. 

    This year, to mark Christmas at Castle Howard, the magnificent house has been scaled down into an extraordinary gingerbread model, which be revealed to the public on Saturday 19 November when the house opens for Christmas.

    Castle Howard
    Castle Howard at winter. Credit: Anthony Chappel-Ross

    Depicting Castle Howard as it was originally designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, the model will include buildings by Nicholas Hawksmoor, as well as the much later Castle Howard railway station, famously used by Queen Victoria for her visit, created from spiced biscuit, with a gingerbread train wending its way along tracks laid through the confectionery estate.

    Christmas in the Great Hall at Castle Howard
    Christmas in the Great Hall at Castle Howard. Credit: Anthony Chappel-Ross

    The model, created by Bompas & Parr, will be on display for a limited period during Castle Howard’s Christmas opening.  “We change and update our festive experience each year so that it never becomes too familiar to those who come year after year,” says Victoria. “There is always something new to discover for visitors young and old.”

    Also new for 2016 will be a festive ticket, which not only includes a visit to the house and gardens, but also an exclusive Christmas afternoon tea, inspired by traditional Christmas dishes and served by a warming fire in the Grecian Hall.  

    Full gingerbread model Castle Howard
    Sam Bompas and the Hon Nicholas Howard with the gingerbread recreation of Castle Howard. Credit: Anthony Chappel-Ross

    The house has a reputation for putting on one of the finest displays in the country, featuring many Christmas trees, and tens of thousands of baubles, fairylights and candles. A special twilight opening on 18 December will also enable families to experience Castle Howard as darkness falls, with the house illuminated with hundreds of candles and a festive sing-along in the garden; for the twilight opening, last entry to the house will be 7pm.

    Castle Howard opens for the Christmas season from 19 November to 23 December. Visitors are advised to book Festive Tickets early. For more, see www.castlehoward.co.uk

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