Once upon a Christmas at Chatsworth

Every year, Chatsworth House – somewhere you probably recognise from the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, 2008’s The Duchess (the tale of the real ancestor of the current owners, Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, wife of the fifth Duke) and 2013’s Death Comes to Pemberley – puts on the most beautiful Christmas displays around the house. I have always wanted to go and visit to see these – Chatsworth is a stunning country house in itself, set in the heart of the Peak District and its own lovely gardens, but with the addition of lavish Christmas decorations? It’s absolutely spectacular.

The beautiful reflection of the house in the pool!

This year’s theme is Once Upon a Time at Chatsworth, bringing to life favourite fairy tales and treasured childhood stories around the house. As you might expect, it is the most magical experience: not only are there Christmas trees everywhere, you’ll be greeted by a huge sleeping dragon as you wander in! Beyond that, watch your childhood dreams come to life: quite literally.

My favourite room of all was the Cinderella space, which captured the moment the fairy godmother turned a pumpkin into a carriage fit for a princess. This room was so beautiful I felt really moved when I wandered in (I basically kept saying “WOW!” at every room we entered – I think I forgot I was an adult and went back to a state of childlike wonder!).

Sorry this photo is so large but… LOOK AT THIS PUMPKIN CARRIAGE!!!

After this, my next favourite space was the Painted Room: already kind of incredible because of the Louis Laguerre paintings showing the life of Julius Caesar, here The Wizard of Oz came to life, featuring a tree hung with sparkling red ruby slippers. Whilst I think I may have to dedicate another post to visiting Chatsworth and its history, this one has to be all about these stunning spaces created for Christmas!

I couldn’t possibly forget finding the story of Sleeping Beauty upstairs: shown on three sides of a three-poster bed, with spinning wheels and roses surrounding the screens, the story comes to life through beautiful silhouette movie clips.

Here are some of the rest of the spaces I took photos of (and I took many, many photos… I couldn’t resist when it was the most surreal fairy tale experience!):

Charlotte’s Web
The Princess and the Pea
The Snowman

A lovely surprise me and my friends found when we arrived at Chatsworth was the gorgeous Christmas market at the front of the house: filled with stalls fit to burst with food, drinks, crafts, decorations and potential Christmas presents. Alongside this, performers were singing carols, playing instruments and there was even a one-man-band! We treated ourselves to a mulled wine and spent a few hours browsing all of the stalls before heading into the house.


I hope this post has had you reminiscing of your favourite stories and excited for Christmas – we went at the end of November, so my Christmas cheer came very early this year!

Want to visit?

You can book online here for tickets to Chatsworth: Chatsworth House online

It’s also worth mentioning that there is a bus service from the centre of Sheffield directly to Chatsworth (something we took advantage of!) – you can pick it up from the bus interchange opposite the train station. Find the bus timetable here.

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