A spell has been cast over Killerton this Christmas. For the first time, the National Trust property will be transformed into classic fairy tales with a festive twist from Saturday 19 November.
Each year to celebrate the start of Christmas, the staff step out of their day jobs and get into character for a specially-commissioned photoshoot with an added sprinkle of festive sparkle. This year, they portrayed Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood.
Visitors can then further explore the popular Brothers Grimm fairy tales of The Elves and the Shoemaker, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Red Riding Hood through displays inside the house (although the staff will be back in their usual roles).
The fairy tale magic will sweep through the whole estate, including a Brothers Grimm outdoor family activity trail, as part of a jam-packed festive season. However, the growing popularity of Christmas at Killerton means that, this year, booking timed tickets to see the house is essential to avoid disappointment.
Highlights indoors include a beautiful hand-stitched ‘Red Riding Hood’ cape by talented volunteer and local textile artist Jan Tillet and a replica ‘Hansel and Gretel’ gingerbread house. Rapunzel’s gigantic plait, adorned with beads and ribbons, will spiral down the staircase from the first floor of the house where the visitors can tiptoe into both Rapunzel’s and Red Riding Hood’s world.
This is the first time that the Christmas transformation takes over whole upstairs of the house, as the fashion collection has been packed away in preparation for vital conservation work due to start in 2017.
Outside, the magic continues. Visitors will be able to spot festive willow reindeer sculptures on their way around as well as six Christmas trees decorated by local community groups inside the atmospheric chapel.
Tim Harris, Visitor Experience Manager said: ‘This will be the biggest Christmas yet at Killerton as we promise a brimming seven-week calendar of events. Father Christmas will make even more appearances this year, delighting and surprising our visitors in magical surroundings.’
Visitors can also see the house and garden twinkle at dusk with festive illuminations, showing the estate in a new light for the first three Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in December.
Killerton Kitchen, the estate’s award-winning restaurant, will be serving up Christmas lunches made with local ingredients and estate produce. There will also be festive Secret supper club evenings on 30 November, 7 and 15 December for a special dining experience by candlelight. The shop will be selling Christmas gifts and two varieties of locally grown Christmas trees.
Jessica Holroyd, Visitor Experience Officer said: ‘The National Trust is a charity and when people come to visit us at Christmas, it helps us work our magic throughout the year to keep looking after the estate. Not only will our visitors enjoy a fantastic festive day out, they’ll be helping us to care for Killerton in the future too.’
There’s plenty more festive fun to be had at Killerton throughout the seven weeks of Christmas from 19 November. From harp concerts and hands-on Christmas decoration workshops to the festive farmer’s market on Saturday 17 December, there’s something for everyone.
For more information visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/killerton.