Chatsworth is brimming with Christmas spirit

Rob Laughlin as Fagin at Chatsworth House. Photo courtesy of
Rob Laughlin as Fagin at Chatsworth House. Photo courtesy of

The Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future will all visit Chatsworth this year as the festive season is given a Gothic twist of Victoriana.

Oh Dickens It’s Christmas is a celebration of Charles Dickens’ best-loved works.

Actors playing Scrooge, Fagin, Miss Havisham and others from Dickens’ rich cast of characters will bring the theme to life, as they roam around in the fog and gaslight of Chatsworth’s grand rooms. 
Visitors of all ages can join in the fun by choosing from dozens of character costumes ready to try on and made by Chatsworth’s textile team.

Rooms throughout the house feature period sets that evoke both the splendour and squalor of Dickensian London - as well as the London docks and Victorian shop fronts, specific scenes from the books, such as Scrooge’s bed, have been recreated in detail. 
Thousands of traditional and lavish seasonal decorations and hundreds of metres of ribbon will dress the celebrated Painted Hall, Oak Room, Chapel, State Dining Room and Sculpture Gallery, which will also contain 25 real trees, two of which stand more than seven metres tall.

This enchanting interpretation of books such as A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, The Old Curiosity Shop and A Tale of Two Cities will feature large-scale illustrations, wall murals, sound and light effects, projections and props. 
Artists such as the paper sculptor Su Blackwell are working with Chatsworth to help recreate the Christmas spirit that Dickens sought to highlight in the gathering together of families and the enjoyment of food, drink, dancing and games.

Displays will also include related items from Chatsworth’s own collections, such as letters from Dickens himself to the 6th Duke of Devonshire; first editions of books including Little Dorrit and A Tale of Two Cities; and letters from Duchess Georgiana to her mother from Paris during the uprising referenced in A Tale of Two Cities.

Christmas at Chatsworth spreads beyond the house to include events in the garden and farmyard such as the hugely popular Christmas market (November 17 to December 5); wreath making classes; an evening pea and pie supper and a nativity play in the farmyard starring the farm animals.

More than 50 costumes have been made by Chatsworth’s textiles team while in-house joiners are helping build the elaborate sets, dressed with individual props and decorations made by staff from across estate.

Chatsworth’s Christmas season will run from November 11, 2017 to 7 January 2018. The house and garden will be open every day from 11am-5.30pm (10am opening at weekends) except December 24, 25, 26 and January 1. The farmyard and playground will also be open from 10.30am to 5.30pm.

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