Chatsworth House: Derbyshire stately home opens doors for Palace of Advent themed Christmas season

The countdown to Christmas has officially begun at Chatsworth, with the annual big reveal of its spectacular decorations throughout the house and gardens taking place at the weekend – and our photographer was given a sneak peak before the crowds arrived.

A trip to Chatsworth is a festive tradition for many Derbyshire residents, and its an attraction that also draws new visitors to the Peak District year after year.

The 2023 Christmas events started on Saturday, November 4, and run through to January 7. The theme is Palace of Advent, which takes the idea of the familiar December calendar and spreads it across 24 rooms each filled with different sights, sounds and scents of the season.

Visitor experience manager Paul Hayes said: “We’ve spent more than a year planning our celebration of advent, working with wonderful artists and creative partners to ensure that every visitor finds moments that mean Christmas to them.

“We’ve set out to create a sense of wonder for adults and children alike as they journey through the house and garden, and we invite everyone to become immersed in, and contribute to the displays. Christmas is a magical time at Chatsworth, and we can’t wait to share the Palace of Advent.”

The spirit of celebration spills out into the garden, where an illuminated light and sound trail will embrace some of the estate’s best-loved landmarks.

The 24 stone steps of the historic Cascade water feature will be transformed into an illuminated, interactive musical instrument that visitors can play, the giant keys lighting up to the sound of hand bells.

The light trail culminates in a dazzling lightshow that turns the house into a giant animated advent calendar, with a series of scenes projected across 24 windows on the south façade courtesy of Derbyshire digital artists Illuminos.

The farmyard will be glowing with lights and decorations too, and families can join Father Christmas for story time in his grotto.

Chatsworth’s annual Christmas market also returns from Saturday to Sunday, November 4-26, featuring more than 100 exhibitors offering Christmas crafts, gifts and decorations, food, drink and live music.

Chatsworth’s Orangery and Stables shops will be open all season, with Christmas gifts, homewares and clothing made by some of the region’s finest sustainable producers, designers and craftspeople. For more information and ticket details, go to