Wednesday, 19 November 2014

VISITED: Christmas at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

Chatsworth House brings back so many happy memories for me. I've been going on days out in Derbyshire with my Parents since I was little and, even into my (almost) mid-twenties, we try and get out into Derbyshire whenever we can. We go to Chatsworth Country Fair every year towards the end of Summer and it's always a great event - but let's face it, any event thrown by Chatsworth tends to be a good'un.

I was invited to attend the opening day of the Christmas decorations within the house and it could not have been a more perfect theme - Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - my absolute favourite children's book and in the most beautiful setting. I adore this story for many reasons (mostly the Cheshire Cat and the various theories on the hidden meaning intended by Carroll), to the extent that I even studied it as part of my dissertation. Chatsworth House is absolutely beautiful, with the vast greenery surrounding it (not just the grounds but the Peak District in general!) and the stunning interior - including sculptures, grand staircases and many styles of paintings. I am biased about it's beauty but a small chunk of my heart will always be nestled in Chatsworth.

I can't say it was the nicest day to be going there - it rained from the moment we woke up...

But we certainly weren't going to let a bit of wet weather dampen our spirits.

I was already excited but when I saw the baubled Rabbit Hole entrance...I was pretty much like a child in a sweet shop.

This was one of my favourite little details (and we hadn't even gone 'down the rabbit hole' yet)

I couldn't wait any longer...we ventured in.

Catching sight of the white rabbit..

Before entering a hallway filled with book pages - from Dickens to Shakespeare (I had a peak) - the effort that had gone into decorating this room was impressive.

Decorated for Christmas, this room had such beautiful and original detail with the wooden panelling, marble floors and painted detail...

Even the ceiling is spectacular..

I was certainly more happy to be there than I look (I am just terribly unphotogenic!)

The LED lights cannot be appreciated simply from a photograph. This was one of my favourite rooms - surrounding it, many of the originals paintings belonging to the Duke and Duchess.

We went out into another hallway...

And discovered the 'dressing room'. It's safe to say that a while was spent here...

Thankfully a sign led us in the right direction (and encouraged my parents to stop handing me different outfits to put on!)

Thankfully, we arrived just in time for the tea party...

I cannot get enough of this beautiful staircase - only a small part of the houses' beauty.

Apart from the twinkly caterpillar, this room was undoubtedly my favourite.

I thought the banner quotes were a lovely touch as well.

Curiouser and curiouser, we ventured further... 

Another part of the house I absolutely adore - the library...

I can't help but think that possibly some of JK Rowling's inspiration for the decor of Hogwarts came from stately homes like Chatsworth...with our without the Cheshire Cat (this could be Crookshanks after all...)
I've now imposed a rule on my parents house - multiple real trees each year - I love the smell! 

My Dad was most disappointed the tarts had been stolen (he claims he had walked around so much at this point he was ready for a snack!)


Possibly the closest I am ever going to come to having my own throne...

I was very impressed and was informed it was much nicer than last year's theme (which I unfortunately missed as I was living in Australia still at that point!) 

There is something magical about Chatsworth and the magic of Christmas heightened that for me during this visit. I left feeling like I truly had been down the rabbit hole and on a little whirlwind adventure into my favourite children's book. I don't think I've felt this Christmassy for years either and I am so happy that November onwards has now become an acceptable time for the exciting Christmas build up to begin.

We bid farewell to Chatsworth yet again...

And what until you see my London posts - I went on a little adventure this weekend and saw ALL of the Christmas decorations - it was dreamy!