The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe brings a festive chill to Killerton

Mary Youlden
Authored by Mary Youlden
Posted Friday, November 20, 2015 - 5:33pm

Killerton House will throw open its festive doors on Saturday 21 November to unveil its much anticipated Christmas transformation inspired by ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, by C.S. Lewis.

The National Trust property, just outside of Exeter, invites visitors to step through the wardrobe and embark on a festive journey to experience the magic of this Christmas classic.

A beautifully transformed mansion themed on the story will send shivers down spines, each room adorned with decorations and sparkling displays. The house will reflect places from the classic story, including the Beaver’s Hut, White Witch’s Palace and Mr Tumnus’ House. Highlights of the seasonal experience include handmade beavers, a life-size lion and a replica steam train.

Outside will feel just as festive with family activities under thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. Alongside a packed six week calendar of events, Christmas at Killerton promises to be a fantastic destination for all the family this year.

The fairy-tale transformation of the property is no small task. Since April, a committed army of Christmas volunteers have been working around the clock making decorations to embellish the stately rooms and bring the story alive.

Helen Hible, a Killerton Christmas volunteer said: ‘To be part of the team here at Killerton is just brilliant, we have such a great time making decorations for the house. Each year we get more and more ambitious.  This year we start the story off in visitor reception with a real show stopper. We hope the public will enjoy seeing it as much as we have enjoyed making it’.

Emma Wakeham, Volunteer Development Manager at Killerton said: ‘With their creativity and year-round commitment, our fantastic team of volunteers have brought Narnia to life. They’ve created a spectacle which will move, teach and inspire our visitors – we can’t thank them enough for all their hard work’.

Christmas extends upstairs into the fashion collection where visitors have the last chance to see the 2015 ‘The F Word: the changing language of fashion’ exhibition, complemented by colourful displays that reflect the breakdown of Narnia’s frozen spell.

Outside the house, the garden and parkland will twinkle under Christmas lights, host family trails and willow reindeer. Stately 20ft Christmas trees will tower overhead and the Chapel will showcase ten trees decorated by local groups for the community tree festival. Fall in love with Killerton at dusk on Fridays and Saturdays in December when the house and park stays open later until 6pm.

Bryony Wilde, Visitor Services Officer said:  Over 30,000 visitors experienced Christmas at Killerton last year and we can’t wait to unveil this year’s magical theme. See the estate transformed into Narnia, visit Father Christmas and do a spot of festive shopping and eating – there really is something for everyone crammed into the six week programme”.

She continued ‘The National Trust is a charity and money raised through Christmas is reinvested back into the estate to help with its conservation. Not only will our visitors enjoy a fantastic day out, they’ll be helping us to care for Killerton in the future’.

Festive treats will be available every day in the Stables café along with bookable lunches in the award-winning Killerton Kitchen restaurant.
The shop will be selling local Christmas trees and will offer festive gifts, opulent decorations and prized estate produce. Killerton’s monthly farmers’ market will also have a festive twist on Saturday 19 December.

Bookable Christmas events include:

  • Killerton’s Night Run marks the reopening of the estate on 21 November
  • In contrast to the White Witch, a friendly Victorian Father Christmas will visit on 5, 12 and 19 December dressed in his traditional green suit.
  • Learn the art of wreath making at special workshops on 28, 29, 30 November.
  • Enjoy after hours dining on 2, 9 and 16 December at the popular ‘Dine out’ evenings.
  • The ‘harp concert’ brings an evening of musical entertainment and a home cooked dinner on 3 and 10 December.

Photos: Steven Haywood.

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