HIS­TORIC TIMES AT BLICK­LING HALL

Take a step back in time and celebrate an old fash­ioned Christ­mas at Blick­ling Hall,

EDP Norfolk - - Inside - RACHEL BULLER

STAND­ING MA­JES­TIC against the dark sky, il­lu­mi­nated by the warm glow of the light decked trees which line its im­pres­sive drive, Blick­ling Hall never looks more mag­nif­i­cent than on a crisp, bright fes­tive night.

One of Nor­folk’s most iconic land­marks – built in the early 17th cen­tury - the strik­ing red brick Ja­cobean house has a long and rich his­tory, and was left to the Na­tional Trust in 1940 by Philip Kerr, 11th Mar­quis of Loth­ian.

Once home to the aris­toc­racy and the birth­place of Henry VIII’s ill-fated wife Anne Bo­leyn, the grand state rooms will have doubtlessl­y hosted many lively and deca­dent Christ­mases over the cen­turies – but it is the past 100 years which in­spire cel­e­bra­tions to­day. Dur­ing the fes­tive pe­riod, events are held to ex­plore what life would have been like at Christ­mas dur­ing the 1930s, when the fo­cus was very much on those who lived and worked on the es­tate. The kitchen be­comes a hive of ac­tiv­ity, pre­par­ing and serv­ing tra­di­tional food and drink, and the hall it­self is trans­formed into a stun­ning, fes­tive won­der­land, re­flect­ing the pe­riod – when dec­o­ra­tions would have in­cluded bells, balls, tin­sel and golden haired an­gels, hand-blown or­na­ments and colour­ful paper chains made by chil­dren.

This win­ter there are 48 trees lin­ing the drive and tem­ple walk which are lit by 19,200 lights – tak­ing two sep­a­rate department­s two days to put up, and 10,500 paper chain links dec­o­rate the gar­den. Back in the house, a team of 50 vol­un­teers spend three days dec­o­rat­ing the rooms in a tra­di­tional style.

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