Thursday, December 10, 2009

A tale of Three Christmas Houses – 5 December 2009

Hever CastleChristmas in mid-winter is still a novelty and to visit a country home decorated for the season is a delight. Today we visited three very different houses.

The first was Hever Castle, a historical castle and childhood home of Anne Boelyn, elaborately restored in Victorian times. The castle is magical, and the stunning modern Christmas decorations made it even more magical. Hever CastleMost rooms had elaborately decorated Christmas trees, with a fire burning brightly on the hall. Children enjoyed the fake snow in the entrance courtyard.

From here we went south to Standen House. Standen HouseThis was built in the arts and crafts era, and decorated in traditional Victorian style. We were welcomed at the door by the 'house-maid' in costume of the era, as were all the other 'staff'. The trees here were covered in home-made treats and decorations particular we loved the dried apple and orange slices used as decorations.

Further west is Polesden Lacy. This was the home of Mrs Grenville, aPolesden Lacy prominent heiress and hostess in Edwardian times. After paying our admission, we were given an invitation from Mrs Grenville to attend her house party this weekend. The house was glowing with lights, red floral decorations and a huge Polesden LacyChristmas tree, traditionally, cut from off the estate. The many 'staff' and 'guests' were all dressed to fit the part, and we really felt welcomed and could imagine what a thrill it would have been to attend one of her parties. The saloon is stunning. The room was transported from an Italian Palace, with large mirrors and gold leaf embellishing every vertical surface.
Polesden LacyPolesden Lacy

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