|Christmas at Burghley|
Christmas will be even more sparkling this year at England’s greatest Elizabethan house – with a free craft fair, extra seasonal shopping and a feast of festive food.
Dressed for the occasion, Burghley House, on the edge of Stamford, will have more Christmas decorations than ever before, while this year the annual Craft Fair will move to the House, adding to the festive feel around the cobbled courtyards.
For 2014, the Burghley Christmas Fair, run by the Rural Crafts Association, has been brought up the House and will nestle within the Brewhouse and courtyard, close to Burghley’s Orangery restaurant and shops. Entry this year is free of charge and stalls will feature unique textiles, unusual sculptures, artisan chocolates, jewellery and cashmere and silk pashminas (27-30 November, 9am until 5pm and 4pm on Sunday).
Also over that weekend, the free-to-enter Christmas Fine Food Market returns to offer visitors even more tasty treats. A celebration of local produce, stall holders will be selling local cheese, meats, cupcakes, cider and much more in the festively decorated courtyards, Saturday 29th November - Sunday 30th November.
Or how about Christmas carols in the intimate surroundings of the family Chapel within the House? What more traditional way to begin festive celebrations than at the Chapel Carol Concert with music spanning the House’s five centuries of history. Mulled wine and mince pies will be served in the candlelit Old Kitchen during the interval. (Sunday 14th December).
For a chance to warm up with some seasonal food and drink, Burghley’s ever-popular Orangery Restaurant - housed in a building that provided space for the family’s love of horticulture and designed by Capability Brown – is now open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am until 4pm, until 21 December.
As well as the autumn and festive menus, a Christmas Afternoon Tea (available 19 November - 21 December) features turkey and cranberry or Stilton and red onion marmalade sandwiches, cranberry and white chocolate blondie and dark chocolate yule log.
For a spot of retail therapy, Burghley's Courtyard Shop is also open while extra seasonal shopping will again be available at the special Christmas Shop in the Brewhouse offering a selection of decorations, festive lighting, winter fragrances, chocolates and cosy winter accessories. Both shops open Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 4pm, until 21 December.
While the house may be closed for winter, Burghley's parkland, with its resident herd of deer, remains open with free entry right through the year - perfect for winter walks or a chance to blow away the Christmas cobwebs.
For full details, opening times and to book tickets, see www.burghley.co.uk