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Christmas at Belvoir Castle in pictures

Twelve Days of Christmas at Belvoir Castle.

Charlotte Lloyd Webber and her event design team has unwrapped the Christmas carol backwards and created a merry adventure around Belvoir Castle.

Emma Manners, The Duchess of Rutland, who lives in the castle with her family, introduced the tour.

She said: "We've shared this beautiful home with so many people and that's the magic for me."

Starting with '12 lords a leaping' across the The Guard Room, the magical displays reference each day of the 12-day holiday, as well as different versions of the carol throughout history.

Each room is accompanied by classical festive music and carols to set the scene of each day leading upto December 25.

The Ballroom below depicts 10 drummers drumming and nine pipers piping around a glorious Christmas tree.

The room is adorned with puppets and paper decorations.

A pastel explosion, the milkmaids have ransacked the presents and have been dancing throughout The Elizabeth Saloon. The high regency splendour and original French decorative arts is sumptuously evocative of Marie Antoinette.

An extravagant display of swans-a-swimming and geese-a-laying in The State Dining Room.

So intricate, this room is a feast for the eyes. But there are only six white swans - can you spot the seventh hiding?

Five ornate gold rings shine in the Picture Gallery. With the soaring height of this room, a kinetic five ring sculpture also hangs, gilded in gold leaf, dancing above.

The Sitting Room gives us our four calling birds in a dramatic yet calming and mystical lighting display. The room leads on to the Bedroom showcasing three French hens and then on to the Dressing Room with two turtle doves.

In a pagan-inspired display, we have the partridge (and a peacock) in a pear tree. The lord and lady here in The Regents Gallery are made entirely from fresh greenery which was cut from the grounds of Belvoir Castle.

The projection on the ceiling was bespoke designed for The Regents Gallery. As part of the design, Charlotte has lit the bust (far left hand side) to create an infinity mirror, which Emma plans to install as a permanent feature.

Over 38,000 baubles are available to buy in the gift shop, including some that are displayed around the castle.

The walk to The Old Servants Hall and The Aviary Tearoom for Afternoon Tea.

Delightful fresh baked scones with clotted cream and lemon curd.

Sandwhiches consisted of Hereford roast beef with Cropwell Bishop Stilton; egg with dijon chive mayonnaise; Charndowood smoked cheddar and spicy pear chutney; and smoked salmon with spiced berry salsa.

Cakes are all handmade and we were presented with spiced carrot cake with mascarpone cream, blackberry and lemon macaroons, cranberry and orange biscotti. and cinnamon and candy cane topped eggnog.


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