Chatsworth House

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A sharp cold frosty day and a drive through the Derbyshire Peak District led us to the magnificent estate of Chatsworth House the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. After a warming drink and mincepie we assaulted the tranquil splendorof the formal gardens. New sculptures have been added this year so our sojourn included lots of splendid views, sights and suprises as we wound our way round a marked route that takes in all of the gardens, ponds lakes and a fascinating maze. Lunch in the Stable block prepared us for a tour of the house which has been decorated to the theme of The Lion, the Witch and the wardrobe. Entering the house you are transported to the begining of an enchanted tale of children with name tags, cases with a few possessions and then behold there lies before you the wardrobe. You step towards it with fear and wonderment, sidle past the hanging fur coats and in you go. A corridor of ice and frozen woodland branches with hoare frost ,tiny creatures and toadstools glowing with a coating of snow and baubles glittering throughout. What magic is this. Meandering along corridors decorated with creatures from the story, Mr Tumnis entertaining guests to afternoon tea and huge Christmas trees resplendent with baubles, tinsel and twinkling lights. Oh what joy. Smiling faces all around enjoying the story along the way. The entrance into the Grand Hall is grand indeed with swathes and swags of icicles glittering and twinkling.On the staircase itself stands the tall, erect figure of the Witch clothed in white and shimmering sequins forbidding anyone to dare cross her path. On peering into the Library we are met by the sight of Aslan the Lion resting with some friendly mice chewing at his bonds. His breathing, just perceptible in the dimmed light surrounding him. In every room each scene takes you on the journey in a gentle yet positive way. Small cuddly Aslans are scattered along the route and for younger visitors there is a treasure trail to follow and an excellent dressing up area to transport you into Narnia. The theme taken proved to be a winner from the sound of all the oohs and ahhs. Well done Chatsworth. A tasteful presentation of a excellent story of good and evil. Entering the shop at the end of the tour was also well done as it abounded with topical gifts from the story, but also general Christmas fare Leaving the House and grounds we were greeted by wonderful late Autumn colours and an earl sunset. The perfect end to a perfect day.

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