English Heritage brings Enchantment to Historic Gardens this Christmas

This December, English Heritage is opening the gates after dark to some of its most prestigious palaces, houses and castles across the country for the first time as it hosts Enchanted, a new season of twilight outdoor events.

Inspired by their unique history, the gardens of such special places as Queen Victoria’s Osborne and Eltham Palace where Henry VIII spent his childhood, will be spectacularly transformed into illuminated worlds for the first time this winter.

For nine evenings only from the 15th – 23rd December 2017, visitors across the country will have the opportunity to experience a whole new perspective on these beautiful locations with fantastically creative designs, bringing each site’s unique history to light.

Audley End House and Gardens, Essex          4.30pm – 9pm

A journey of discovery leads around the expansive grounds with the medieval style flare lights at the water’s edge giving way to a cornucopia of illuminated delights through the Elysian garden, the Kitchen garden and the Stable yard. There’s a surprise round every corner from the talking trees, sparkling gramophones and even the house’s famous taxidermy re-awakened.

EH member Adult £10 / Child £6 / Family £26

Non member Adult £12 / Child £7.50 / Family £31.60

Belsay Hall, Northumberland              4.30pm – 9pm

A visit to the evocative gardens of Belsay Hall will surprise and delight. Adventure through the quarry gardens, marvel at the ‘starry’ sky and discover the illuminated grotto.  The outdoors is not all it seems, you’ll stumble upon old bookcases, armchairs and even a dolls house as illuminated rooms are created outside.  The long lost furniture from the Hall has reappeared, reclaimed by nature.

EH member Adult £8 / Child £5 / Family £21

Non member Adult £10 / Child £6 / Family £26

Brodsworth Hall, South Yorkshire       4.30pm – 8.30pm

Take the trail through the flame torches into the mesmerising world of fairies.  You’ll be transported into an ethereal realm as you discover the garden’s beautiful features like never before, from the misty magic of the fern dell to the twinkling majesty of the rose arbour. Play a tune on the Illumaphonium along the way, watching the giant chime bars light up. Book ahead* to meet Father Christmas in the Hall.

EH member Adult £8 / Child £5 / Family £21

Non member Adult £10 / Child £6 / Family £26

*additional charge applies for Father Christmas, pre-booking is essential.

Eltham Palace, London    4.30pm – 9pm

Step across the bridge and peer through the time tunnel to experience Eltham Palace’s rich medieval story beautifully illustrated through light.  Wend your way through the splendid grounds of Henry VIII’s childhood home as our enchanting trail draws on medieval motifs of heraldry and royal pageantry along with scenes of hunting and feasting, projected onto the stonework.

EH member Adult £10 / Child £6 / Family £26

Non member Adult £12 / Child £7.50 / Family £31.60

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire        4.30pm – 9pm

Queen Elizabeth 1’s feted visit in 1575 is the inspiration for the enchanting illuminations of this great castle, evoking Robert Dudley’s ambitious three week long marriage proposal. Projections suggest the whirlwind of festivities hosted for Her Majesty’s pleasure, while beautiful light trails will guide you through the quieter corners of the stunning grounds. The traditional fairground rides and heritage inspired Christmas shopping stalls complete the experience.

EH member Adult £12 / Child £8 / Family £32

Non member Adult £14 / Child £9.50 / Family £37.60

Osborne, Isle of Wight     4.30pm – 8.30pm

The secret lives of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s nine children have inspired a fantastical journey through the formal grounds and gardens of their private home.  Kids and adults will be delighted as they step into a classic children’s tale of exploration and imagination, using light and sound to elevate the plants, trees, walls and water to an ethereal plane.  The trail leads to the stunning façade of Osborne House, where the carousel and swingboat rides are the icing on the cake of fabulous festive evening.

EH member Adult £12 / Child £8 / Family £32

Non member Adult £14 / Child £9.50 / Family £37.60

With delicious toasted marshmallows, mulled wine and hot chocolate to enjoy along the way, grab the winter woollies and your family and friends and book your tickets for the most enchanting event of the year!

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For images and further press information, please contact Isobel Cooley on 020 7973 3354 or at isobel.cooley@english-heritage.org.uk

English Heritage is the custodian of over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites through which we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year.

www.english-heritage.org.uk

 

 

English Heritage reveals details of Queen Victoria’s final Christmases at Osborne House

She has long been known as one of the nation’s sternest monarchs – and perhaps not the first choice of a Christmas host – but this year English Heritage staff at her seaside retreat on the Isle of Wight will be showcasing a more surprising side to the royal’s Christmas celebrations, with grand dinners, family festivities and party games, including an early forerunner to the mannequin challenge.

Though the festive season was subdued in the years following Albert’s death, her later years at Osborne saw the traditions of Christmas and its festivities begin to reappear, particularly with the appearance of more and more grandchildren. Gifts would be exchanged between staff and family (on Christmas Eve, a tradition still believe to be observed by today’s Royal family) before the day itself was marked by an elaborate Christmas dinner.

Recently translated for the first time, the menu from Victoria’s final Christmas, 25 December 1900, shows items that might be recognised by modern diners, including turkey with chipolata sausages and plum pudding, but also a few things that might not make it onto the 21st Century dining table. These include a fish course, and also a starter of Turtle Consommé, or soup – a famous (but expensive!) Victorian delicacy. [see Appendix for full menu].

All Christmas gatherings need games too, and Queen Victoria’s festive celebrations were no exception. That Mannequin challenge entertainment? It was known as the ‘Tableau Vivant’, and Queen Victoria and her guests would gather in the Durbar Room at Osborne and watch, often for several hours, as family members donned costumes and posed against a backdrop to portray a scene from history or a famous painting.

The curtain would fall, participants would change position, before it rose again, with the tableau repeated several times if the Queen desired it, before different costumes and scenes were selected. Live music could even be performed from the gallery above to accompany the poses.

Like most family celebrations, some guests enjoyed the festivities more than others. The journal of a Lt Gen Calthorpe, a regular dining guest at Osborne, was recently acquired by English Heritage. Attending a festive-season dinner in January 1890, he can be found bemoaning one such experience of the ‘tableaux,’ that lasted until 22:30, complaining “along time we had to wait! About 25 minutes!” between changes of scenery and costumes.

By contrast, the Queen’s own journals from this same occasion record her enjoyment of the spectacle, stating “The Tableaux were really lovely & so well arranged.” and that “The music was excellent, & every one was delighted.” There’s always one who inflicts games on everyone else!

Michael Hunter, Collections Curator for English Heritage at Osborne, said “The common misconception of Queen Victoria as a dour monarch has prevailed for many years, but recently people have begun to challenge that. Our research shows that here at Osborne, particularly in her later years, she enjoyed Christmas festivities with her family filled with feasting and games.”

“Although it is doubtful she participated, she particularly enjoyed the Tableau Vivant, and who’s to say she wouldn’t have looked fondly upon the modern day mannequin challenge?!”

English Heritage offer Festive Guided Tours of Osborne every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday until 22 December, telling stories of Queen Victoria’s Christmas and touring rooms decorated as they would have been during the royal reign.

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For further press information and images, please contact:

Phil Harper, National PR Manager, phil.harper@english-heritage.org.uk or 0207 973 3354

English Heritage cares for over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites – from world famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of empire to Cold War bunkers. Through these, we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year. www.english-heritage.org.uk Registered charity no. 1140351

OSBORNE

Tuesday 25th December 1900

Her Majesty’s Dinner

Soups

Turtle Consommé

American Cream of Barley Soup

Fish

Turbot with Mousseline (or Hollandaise) Sauce

Breaded Fillets of Sole with Sauce Ravigote

Entrée

Herbed Christmas Crêpes

 

Relevés (Separate Main Course)

Turkey Poult à la Chipolata

Chine of Pork

Roast Beef

Plum Pudding

 

Entremets (Dishes Served after main course)

Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

Mince Pies

Chocolate Éclairs

Seven reasons for visiting the Isle of Wight in 2018

Bed and breakfast – in a tree

Goodleaf on the Isle of Wight will be unveiling a new tree top experience in April/May, 2018.  Taking place in the grounds of historic Jacobean manor house Northcourt, in Shorwell, Goodleaf Tree Climbing will offer Tree Top Camping for the very first time on the Isle of Wight.  Sleeping in special ‘Tree Boats’ imported from the USA, climbers will learn the ropes with recreational tree climbing experts Goodleaf, before spending the night sleeping high in the canopy of a beautiful 15 metre beech tree in this beautiful location deep in the rural heart of the Island.  Supper can be taken at the local pub The Crown Inn in Shorwell before ascending into the canopy, relaxing and enjoying a bird’s eye view from your “bed for the night”.  Breakfast will be delivered to you in your hammock by the instructor.  The cost is £350 per person; £450 for two people; and £550 for three.  There will be a maximum of ten overnight camps a year. https://www.goodleaf.co.uk

Celebrating 175 years of magic

Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight, the oldest theme park in the UK and one of the most iconic tourist destinations, will celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2018. Numerous events will be taking place throughout the year that befits this magical, wacky, wonderful theme park. Blackgang Chine was founded by Alexander Dabell in 1843 when all that stood here was the Chine itself – a spectacular gorge that cut some 500-feet, deep into the cliff face. The Victorians travelled from far and wide to experience its breathtaking views; and the very first ‘attraction’ was the skeleton of a whale which had been washed up onto the beach – and is still on display at Blackgang Chine today. (Blackgang Chine received the royal seal of approval when Queen Victoria visited in August 1853 to see the whale skeleton). The park is still owned and run by the descendants of Alexander Dabell, (the current owner’s great, great, grand-father) and the magic has only grown over the years.  Blackgang Chine is now filled with an eclectic mix of attractions, theme worlds and rides – offering something for all the family and the generations of families who continue to visit year after year. https://blackgangchine.com

Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography

Julia Margaret Cameron – one of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography, and a member of a Freshwater Circle of glittering literati on the Isle of Wight – was the subject of an exhibition at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2014, and featured in special exhibitions at the V&A in London to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth in 2015. She will be in the headlines again in 2018 when Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography (is staged at the National Portrait Gallery in London, from March 1 to May 20.  This major new exhibition brings together the works of four giants of Victorian photography, Lewis Carroll (1832–98), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79), Oscar Rejlander (1813–75) and Clementina Hawarden (1822-65). Dimbola Lodge at Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight, was the home and workplace of celebrated Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. It is now a Museum and Gallery dedicated to her life and work, as well as a showcase for contemporary exhibitions from photographers around the globe. Dimbola Lodge has also been called the best kept secret on the Isle of Wight. http://www.dimbola.co.uk

50 years of a Music Festival on the Isle of Wight

2018 will mark 50 years of an Isle of Wight Festival on the Island.  It’s the 50th anniversary of the first Music Festival on the Isle of Wight. “The Great South Coast Bankholiday Pop Festivity” took place overnight on August 31 and September 1 at Hell Field, Ford Farm, near Godshill in 1968 attended by approximately 10,000 people;  and was followed in 1969 by the Wootton Festival with Bob Dylan, and in 1970 at the Afton Festival (at East Afton Farm and not far from what is now site of Dimbola Museum & Galleries) with Jimi Hendrix and The Doors amongst many others, attracting an incredible estimated 600,000 souls. http://isleofwightfestival.com

There are also plans being drawn up for a commemorative event in 2020 to celebrate this colossal and world-famous music event on the same site at East Afton.

Tiny Homes Holidays

Opened towards the end of 2017, Tiny Homes Holidays is a new, ethical way to holiday on the Isle of Wight. Tiny Homes are all about downsizing your space and upsizing your free time – and living simply in a smallholding environment adjacent to Parkhurst Forest with its walking trails, cycle routes and wildlife galore (including the Isle of Wight’s famous red squirrels).  Another new trend being introduced here, thanks to the construction of a small studio is #studycations. http://www.tinyhomesholidays.com/

Isle of Wight Literary Heroes Trail

Following hard on the heels of the launch of its Victoria’s Island Trail to celebrate the appearance of the Victoria & Abdul movie in cinemas worldwide, Visit Isle of Wight has published a new Literary Heroes Trail which visitors to the Island can follow all-year-round. One of the highlights of the Literary Heroes Trail is the newly re-opened Farringford in Freshwater, where the renowned poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson once lived (https://farringford.co.uk).  The dramatic Gothic house has been the subject of a meticulous five-year restoration project, and is decorated in a late 19th Century style that reflects Tennyson’s tastes and interests. The grounds have also been returned to their authentic Tennyson-era appearance, complete with a walled kitchen garden. Other key locations on the Trail include the sailing village of Seaview, where author Enid Blyton was a regular visitor; and the traditional seaside resort of Ventnor, where Charles Dickens rented Winterbourne in Bonchurch – describing it to his wife as, “The prettiest place I ever saw in my life.” Author Lynne Truss – herself, a regular visitor to the Island – edited the new Literary Heroes Trail leaflet. “I’m not the first writer to be inspired by this jewel of an island,” she says. “Writers have breathed the air here, walked the cliffs and gazed at the glittering sea – and then dashed home to put pen to paper.” The trail also reveals some of its own, home-grown talent, including Oscar winning screenwriter Anthony Minghella who wrote The English Patient. https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/inspiration/literary-heroes-trail

Isle of Wight to host UK Pride in 2018

It has recently been announced that the Isle of Wight will host the next UK Pride, just one year after the Island’s first ever Pride event. https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/whats-on/isle-of-wight-pride-p1427001

For all tourist information about the Isle of Wight, visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.

-ENDS-

For further information about The Isle of Wight, please contact:

Sue Emmerson                  Tel: 07766 705672           Email: sue@visitwight.org

Notes to Editors

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website www.visitisleofwight.co.uk the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities www.visitwight.org.