The excitement we feel about heading along to the preview of Castle Howard’s Christmas experience is similar to the excitement our kids feel as their heads (finally) hit the pillow on Christmas Eve. It’s a feeling of festive anticipation unlike any other: the hope that this year will be as good as – if not better than – last year, and the distant worry that it might not. It’s Christmas, after all, so expectations are high. We’re looking for wonder, magic and delight by the sleigh-load, and to make memories to last a lifetime. Could Into the Woods: A Fairytale Christmas possibly live up to a Christmas wishlist as long as Santa’s beard?
Yes, it does, and so much more. Like all the best fairytales, the journey through Castle Howard is full of twists and turns, colourful characters and unexpected surprises: spinning sugar plum fairies, ballroom dancers twirling across the ceiling and more nutcrackers than you can ever imagine, all in one place. Each room has been transformed by a team of world-leading designers to bring aspects of a much-loved story to life, from Sleeping Beauty resting in her beautiful bed to a tiny Jack climbing a giant beanstalk, an elves workshop complete with fairytale footwear and even Goldilocks weighing up her porridge options.
The attention to detail is incredible, with original costumes, thousands of handmade props and lots of quirky elements that are worth taking your time over. If you’re looking for Christmas tree inspiration, it’s worth mentioning that there are A LOT of trees with some seriously good decorations. This year, the epic Great Hall tree is every child’s dream, adorned with lollipops and candy canes in classic red and white.
That’s enough of the spoilers: much of the fun is in turning each page for yourselves and not knowing what to expect, so let’s just say that Castle Howard’s Into the Woods is a glorious and joyful immersive experience that the whole family will love. If you’re looking for a festive family day out in York with a happy ending, you’ve found it.
Good to know – Into the Woods runs until Monday 2nd January 2023. Tickets are available separately for Stories with Santa in the Courtyard Grotto and for the Happily Ever Afternoon Tea.