A Christmas at Chatsworth – Tales from the River Bank

Back at Chatsworth House for Christmas

First things first – Cadburys Hot Chocolate and a bit of shopping.

We arrived early so it made sense to have a wander around the beautifully decorated courtyard. We bought some delicious hot chocolate and made use of the heated marquee/conservatory that Chatsworth now have in the courtyard. This is an excellent little place where you can sit in the warmth and eat any food purchased from the outside caterers. I have to say, this wonderful out building was our saviour as it was absolutely throwing it down with rain pretty much all day.

An hour later I was transported back in time to my childhood by the wonderful team at Chatsworth House who expertly re-created the much loved children’s classic: “Wind in the Willows”.

Kenneth Graham’s novel was by far the most amazing book I ever read as a child. Being a writer myself and having a great imagination, I would submerge myself in a world of make believe and join Toad, Mole, Ratty and Badger as they frolicked by the river bank, took to the open road, journeyed through the wild woods and battled with those conniving weasels in the Baronial Toad Hall.

The beautiful Chatsworth looked even more breathtaking than I could have ever have imagined, dressed from top to bottom in gloriously decorated trees, giant wreaths, garlands, twinkling lights and scenes of those much loved riverside friends.

The roaring open fireplaces, guides dressed as characters from the book in beautiful bespoke made costumes, the impeccably created scenes and all the small details; played a vital part in making this magical journey through Kenneth Graham’s admired tale an absolute hit with all who attended.

People of all ages “ooohhhhd” and “aaahhhhd” in amazement as they wandered around the grand home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire; stopping to admire the hard work and effort that had clearly gone into making this whole experience a complete success.

As I was making my way around the house, I couldn’t help but be hugely appreciate of the amount time, effort and hard-work that must have gone into making the whole experience as realistic as the film itself. When I think about the film, I do in fact remember the original and my preferred version (featuring David Jason) which was first released around 1983.

After reading the book and watching the series on television, my parents bought the film. I have fond memories of us all sitting in the living-room, smiles on our faces and never taking our eyes of the television until the very end. It was easy for me to relate to such a story as Wind in the Willows having been brought up in the countryside surrounded by animals. It is clear to see why it quickly became a firm favourite of mine.

At the end of the house tour we arrived in the shop where there were plenty of fantastic items to buy including: felt heads of each character, the original film, the book and much more. Upon exiting the shop we were greeted by a small band playing those family favourite Christmas Carols which added to the already festive atmosphere.

I think most people would agree when I say that this will be one of the best days out you will have this Christmas. Every little detail from the Christmas trees to the singing mice, snoring badger in the bedroom to the immaculately presented dining hall; made for a simply unforgettably unique experience that I know anyone would cherish for years to come.

Some more pictures from the courtyard:

The Wind in the Willows display will be available to view until 3rd Jan. There is timed entry into the house this year so it is best to book to avoid disappointment. Booking can be done online which includes free parking.

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