The Nutcracker was joined by Clara, The Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen ballerinas at Chatsworth for the opening of The Nutcracker themed festive season, which opened this weekend and is running until 3 January 2017.
Attracting more than 100,000 visitors during the festive season, Christmas at Chatsworth has become one of the must do events for families across the region. With the house transformed into The Nutcracker, this year is set to be more magical than ever.
Christmas at Chatsworth will transport everyone to a fairytale world populated by Nutcracker soldiers; elegant ballerinas and dancing snowflakes. All the important characters are represented – from the Mouse King and the Sugar Plum Fairy to the Nutcracker and Clara – as the story unfolds in a series of stunning tableaux throughout the house. As well as the room guides dressed in characters costumes, a ballet dancer will be present each day, adding a touch of magic to the stunning story.
In the tale, a box of performing toys charms the children and adults alike, but it is the Nutcracker doll that enchants Clara the most. As the curtain rises on Christmas Eve, visitors will be able to share in Clara’s adventures as she is swept away by the Nutcracker Prince to a wonderful place where the magic really begins.
Along the way, the beautifully dressed rooms will tell the story of The Nutcracker with all the classic scenes from Clara’s dream; from the waltz of the snowflakes to the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Head housekeeper Janet Bitton said: “The Land of Sweets in the Great Dining Room will be the highlight for me. The only light is from the chandelier, like a moon above the city with its twinkling lights through the windows, and the glow from the huge Christmas trees in each corner is magical.”
In a clever twist, the visitor will be able to experience the story as though they are both in the audience at the theatre and stepping backstage at the ballet. Guides become stage managers and wardrobe mistresses.
For a special added thrill, visitors of all ages will be invited to enter into the magic of the story and try on one of the specially made costumes created by the inhouse textiles team, who have also made all the costumes for the room guides from flower fairies and outfits for the residents of the Land of Sweets to opera capes for the men and Victorian skirts for the women.
There will be an opportunity to enjoy an evening visit on selected dates for the month before Christmas, as the house will be open until 8pm on Thursdays and Fridays from 24 November until 16 December.
As well as the main event in the house, there is a whole host of festive themed activity around the estate from truly magical nativity performances in the farmyard starring the farm animals, to gourmet evenings, floral workshops and wreath making demonstrations.
The annual Christmas Market located on Lodge Hill takes place from 12 to 30 November with more than 100 stalls offering a wide range of Christmas gifts and decorations, crafts, homeware, seasonal produce, toiletries and clothing as well seasonal food and drink to enjoy on site or take home. Christmas Market parking is priced £5 weekdays; £10 weekends but is free when combined with a visit to the house or garden pre-booked online.
*Copyright Paul David Drabble