On select dates throughout December, visitors to Castle Drogo on Dartmoor will get to experience a 1920s Christmas party inspired by the festive traditions of the former owner, Julius Drewe and his family.
Open every Friday to Sunday up to 18 Dec and then daily from 19 to 23 December, this is the first Christmas at the castle since the National Trust reached the end of a 9-year conservation project to make it watertight earlier this year.
In the Entrance Hall, guests will be greeted by a 14ft tree, which reaches the top of the impressive Lutyens-designed ceilings. An extravagant Christmas feast is laid out in the Dining Room, while in the Service Corridor a series of creative installations reveal what life was like for the servants at this time of year. Garlands, Christmas trees and more unusual decorations such as red tulips will adorn some of the other spaces around the castle.
Helen Yazhekov, Visitor Experience Officer at Castle Drogo, said: "The Drewe family were keen musicians and music would have been at the heart of any party at the castle. This year we will be inviting local choirs and musicians to perform in the Drawing Room throughout our Christmas opening and visitors can join in with a carol or two, or simply enjoy the festivity in beautiful surroundings.
"Julius Drewe’s son Basil had an interest in magic and often performed a magic show at Christmas so we’re also inviting visitors to head to the Dining Room to learn a magic trick or two from one of our volunteers – something to impress family and friends with this Christmas."
Father Christmas will also be taking time out of his busy schedule to visit Castle Drogo on the 10, 11, & the 17 – 23 December. These popular sessions include a story with the elves and a hand delivered present from Father Christmas himself. Tickets are £8 per child, booking essential via the Castle Drogo website.
Those looking to spend some time away from the crowds this festive season can follow the winding paths behind the castle into the sheltered Teign gorge whilst taking in spectacular views over Dartmoor. The café in the Visitor Centre will have plenty on offer to warm up walkers including flavoured coffees, turkey and cranberry paninis and mincemeat Bakewells whilst next door the shop is full of gift ideas and a wide selection of products from local producers.
Helen Yazhekov concludes: "It’s exciting to see some of the stories and characters from Drogo’s past bought to life. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the installation of the butler and the cook dancing in the Service Corridor. We’re so grateful for the support of local musicians, who’ve volunteered to sing and perform at the castle this year, hopefully it will be a memorable experience for everyone who joins us."
Image: credit James Dobson
For more information and to book to see Father Christmas, visit the website at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/castle-drogo