Ooops, we did it again:-). And yes, indeed Prior Attire was again hired to provide costumed interpretation at this stunning venue. It was our fourth time at Holkham Hall, and a third Christmas ( previous events are covered here), and each of the events was organised by Black Knight Historical, employing a range of Victorian characters and interpreters – visitors were greeted on the gate by period characters, in the kitchens maids, cook and housekeeper were busy preparing Christmas dishes, whereas upstairs a variety of genteel folk would entertain the visitors with tales about the house, Victorian customs, etiquette and current fashions.
Outside, there was a lot of entertainments – swings, carousels, carriage rides, Christmas market, stalls with food, mulled wine, and a lovely restaurant.
One Sunday we managed to snatch a ride and arrived at the house in style despite the strong wind.
in the compound at the end of the day
The house interiors were simply stunning. You will probably recognize the Hall from the film The Duchess, and I bet Georgiana would appreciate its festive decor. Each year the decorations in every room are different, and theme changes every year too. This time it was the Fairy land – a very whimsical, Lewis Carol-like wonderland , with live Fairies, footmen dressed as animals etc.
We spent 2 weekends working in those sumptuous surroundings – and although the interacting with about 1000 visitors a day is not for the fainthearted ( or those with laryngitis), it was great fun to meet so many interesting people and talk on so many fascinating topics. The most popular were: Victorian toys and their manufacture, dress and clothing ( especially children’s items) Victorian Christmas traditions ( which carols were sung, Christmas cards, food,) pastimes and etiquette – as always the language of the fan was a popular theme; Victorian technology and inventions, railway, electricity; social structure, manners and dancing – so a very wide choice of topics! I realized that apart from good old English, I also talked in French, Spanish and even managed a bit of Mandarin! very exciting.
Alas, since we were working and in character all the time when visitors were around, we couldn’t take any photos during working hours – but we did snap a lot before the Hall was open to the public – so enjoy the small virtual tour below!
the gigantic Christmas tree in the front room
trying to talk our way into the Santa’s grotto… failed miserably, the guard was to diligent…
stunning tree in the Faery bedroom
someone has had too many mince pies, it seems…
High Octave ( hope i remember the name well) gave several amazing performances
there was also something less conventional to unwrap on Christmas day…
the whole South Dining room was converted into a paradise for gingerbread men…
gingerbread folk having fun in a bubble bath
there was a wooded Winter Wonderland with moving animals…
including a bowing unicorn
and those who wanted to snatch a mince pie suffered for it…
In the evenings we stayed in the cottage and relaxed, saving our vocal cords….
or worked on clothes – fabric arriving late meant Eleanor’s new frock was being finished on Saturday evening….
But all was done in time and the next morning lovely photos of Eleanor in her new finery were taken
and finally wearing her reversible dolman on the other side…
Lucas at work…
alas, i wasn’t allowed to unpack any of the prezzies….
Well, all those above were just a taste of the attractions – we are already wondering what new and different visual feast will Lady Coke be preparing for the next year – no doubt something equally spectacular! If you live nearby, make sure you visit – it truly is an unforgettable experience! The house is open to visitors not only during Christmas – so do check their events diary!
Many thanks to Black Knight Historical and the Holkham Hall Team for all their hard work!