Celebrate Christmas 2021 with some of England’s grandest stately homes as they throw open their doors to welcome visitors through the festive season. This new series has exclusive behind-the-scenes access to some of the nation’s greatest ‘Treasure Houses’.
Every stately home celebrates Christmas in their own unique way, but tradition runs deep and the festive season is the key to unlocking privileged insights into three of Britain’s most famous stately homes, as they deck their halls with hundreds of trees, hundreds of thousands of baubles and millions of fairy lights. Each episode intertwines stories and characters from across each estate’s main precincts – the great house, the gardens, parkland and wider acres – combining the magical ingredients of this special time of year with enchanting history and access to the aristocrats who live in these world-famous homes.
This episode visits East Anglia’s greatest stately home – Holkham Hall. Situated on the north Norfolk coast, this Palladian pile is surrounded by a huge walled park, with pastoral farmland that stretches to a horizon of foreshore and marshes. This is where modern farming (the rotational crop system) was invented in the early 1800s, and Holkham beach is famed for Gwyneth Paltrow’s final scene in Shakespeare in Love. Lady Polly Leicester is the Christmas creative director and personally leads a design team made up of friends, staff and volunteers. Everyone gets stuck in with transforming the state dining rooms and galleries into an eclectic but stunning candlelight experience. The marble hallway entrance becomes a workshop full of decorations and artefacts pilfered from cellars and barns. It’s all about teamwork and improvisation, as Lady L’s team rush to transform this great hall with sweet-scented pine trees, greenery, sparkling decorations and twinkling lights.