LIFE in a stately home isn’t always luxurious, it seems – especially in cold weather.
“Last year I had my mother sitting at the Christmas dinner table in gloves, fur coat and a hat!” said Lord Edward Manners, of medieval Haddon Hall near Bakewell.
He was speaking at the unveiling of this year’s Christmas decorations – only the third time he has opened his home to the public for the festive season. Last year’s event had to be cancelled altogether following December’s heavy snowfalls.
Haddon Hall, which starred in the recent big screen version of Jane Eyre, dates back to the 12th century and the decorations are appropriate to its history.
The ground floor reflects the Tudor era: the banqueting hall is decked with boughs of greenery collected on the estate, the dining room is laid with platters of fruit and a boar’s head roast, while the chapel is hung with spiced orange pomanders and banks of flickering candles.
Upstairs is a nod to Victorian times, when the hall was restored by Lord Edward’s grandfather, the ninth Duke of Rutland.
It centres around the Earl’s Apartment and the Long Gallery, with banks of Christmas trees and white fairy lights, floral arrangements and blazing fires in every grate.
‘Samuel Pepys’ can be found wandering around the bed chamber and local schoolchildren have played their part with collages of the nativity scene and model angels.
Events are planned each weekend, featuring local choirs and bands. Haddon Hall is open daily until December 21, 10.30am-4pm.