The Norse god of mischief, enchanting folk tales and the heady scent of pine forests evoke the magical atmosphere of a Nordic winter this Christmas at Chatsworth.
Deep Midwinter: A Nordic Christmas at Chatsworth takes inspiration from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway where long winters are embraced with traditions to celebrate light and the beauty of nature.
The Devonshire family has a long history of celebrating Nordic culture and its connection to wilderness and nature, with pieces in the Devonshire Collections that have inspired this Christmas season being woven into the displays.
Visitors to Chatsworth will be taken on a journey into the forests and folklore of the Nordic region. A procession of radiant candlelit Santa Lucia crowns dressed with foliage in the Chapel Corridor elicits the Swedish festival of light that brightens the dark days of midwinter each December.
Giant Finnish Christmas Himmeli decorations hang in the Green Satin Room with almost 50,000 paper straws used to create this striking installation. These delicate geometric structures have been popular in Nordic countries for centuries, pre-dating the tradition of the Christmas tree. Traditionally, Himmelis hung above dining tables to ensure a good crop for the coming year.
A delectable handmade gingerbread house sits proudly on the piano in the Ante Library. Building a gingerbread house is a time honoured Christmas tradition for many Nordic families and the aroma of ginger and spices will add to the immersive experience.
Norse god Loki will delight and surprise with stories, music and magic tricks, marking a welcome return to character-led performance this Christmas after a three-year hiatus due to Covid-19.
Full of mischief, Loki will have a few tricks up his sleeve in the Great Dining Room where the richly dressed table is encircled by woodland, bringing to life the Norwegian fairytale, The White Bear.
The fully immersive experience drawing on scent and sounds of the natural environment will enchant all who walk through the Sculpture Gallery’s ancient pine forest with dappled winter light dancing through the canopy of leaves above.
A monumental wall of ice laced with intricate carvings of oak trees and woodland creatures will greet visitors as they enter the Oak Room. A giant woodcut bauble hangs from the Oak Stairs ceiling lantern hinting at The Little Fir Tree, the Hans Christian Andersen tale about a fir tree so anxious to grow up and experience greater things that he cannot appreciate living in the moment.
Botanical illustrations of wild native Danish plants in Flora Danica, one of the most ambitious botanical publications of its age bought by the 11th Duke of Devonshire (1920-2004) and a delicate and extremely rare strand of raw silver, collected by the 6th Duke (1790-1858) originating from Ilsoe mine, Konsberg in Norway are among the items in the Devonshire Collections to inspire the Chatsworth Nordic Christmas.
Clothing worn by the 11th Duke of Devonshire on his treks and expeditions into the wild - including his walking boots, rucksack and gloves - bring the story back to the Devonshire family’s connection to wilderness and nature.
The evocative fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen are woven into the experience with postcards to collect featuring stories such as The Snowdrop and The Teapot. Younger visitors will have the opportunity to follow a trail from the house out to the garden in the guise of Loki, following the clues to explore the Nordic-inspired lights.
The Christmas experience continues outside with an illuminated walk around the garden to view ‘northern lights’ over the Canal Pond and - for the first time - see the historic Maze lit with wands of light and filled with festive music.
Visitors can also soak up the festive atmosphere at the Chatsworth Christmas Market from 5 November to 23 November. Chatsworth’s shops in the Orangery and the Stables will offer a selection of Nordic gifts, decorations and homeware for those inspired by Christmas in the house.
Also making a welcome return to the house will be the wish trees to enable visitors to make a special Christmas wish to hang on a tree before they leave.
Tickets for Christmas at Chatsworth are priced at £29.50 for adults, £18 for children, and £78 for a family (two adults and up to three children), and include access to the house, garden and farmyard, as well as car parking and access to the Christmas market between 5-23 November. Advanced booking is required.
For anyone wishing to only visit the Christmas market, a Christmas market car park ticket must be booked in advance.
A range of Christmas themed events are available including festive printmaking, a willow sculpture masterclass and storytelling events aimed at younger visitors. View Chatsworth's full Christmas events schedule for more details.
This year’s Christmas event is kindly supported by CW Sellors, one of the UK's leading fine jewellery and luxury watch specialists, and Investec Wealth & Investment.