A historic building in Padiham, known as the ‘Downton of the North’, will open its doors for a Victorian Christmas Festival in December.
The fun-filled festive event, to be held at Gawthorpe Hall on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 December, will see this magnificent building decked with real Christmas trees, holly and ivy to add seasonal cheer.
This Grade I listed hall was redesigned in the 1850s by Sir Charles Barry, who designed the houses of Parliament and the ‘real’ Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle.
The stately home holds one of the largest collections of loans from the National Portrait Gallery in the North West, as well as displays of intricate lace, embroidery and needle work.
At the Christmas event, the housekeeper will be on hand in the kitchen to offer fascinating insights into life at Gawthorpe Hall during this period – how the servants prepared the meal and what the family and house guests ate. A plum pudding will be specially prepared by the housekeeper at the festival.
The dining room will also be set up as it would have been to serve Christmas dinner.
Visitors will be able to enjoy listening to excerpts from ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens being read in the library over the weekend, and local bell ringers will also be performing.
On Sunday 2 December, the Crickmore: Crewe Victorian Carol Singers will perform in the Long Gallery.
Over the weekend, younger visitors will be able to visit Father Christmas and find out what presents Victorian children would have received. Children will also be able to take part in a festive trail round the hall, craft activities and try writing with a quill pen.
Items will be available to buy from a craft stall provided by the Friends of Gawthorpe. The tearoom will also be available for refreshments.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “There should be something to suit people of all ages at the Christmas festival.
“I’m sure that the dining room will be a sight to see, set up as it would have been in the past. The housekeeper and the singers will add lots of atmosphere to the event.
“Children can get creative with the traditional craft activities and have the chance to meet Father Christmas in the drawing room.
‘I’m pleased to see such a special festive event hosted at Gawthorpe Hall. I’m sure that the fabulous location will add to the atmosphere.”
Admission to Gawthorpe Hall costs £6 for adults and £4 for concessions, and children go free.
Opening times for the weekend will be 11am to 3pm, with last entry to the Hall at 2.30pm.
For more information either telephone 01282 771004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Gawthorpe Hall is run by Lancashire County Council’s Museum Service on behalf of the National Trust.
To find out more about Gawthorpe Hall and other Lancashire County Council museums, visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/museums