No snow, but the rain was falling late afternoon yesterday, Thursday 17th November, for the preview of Belvoir Castle’s Cinderella at Belvoir.
The plan was to take the winding twinkling light-lit walk up to the hilltop fairytale castle, but the torrential downpour had other ideas.
Thankfully Cinderella still made it to the ball in spectacular style.
Created by award-winning theatre design company CLW Event design led by Charlotte Lloyd Webber, the Leicestershire castle had been transformed to bring the beloved fairytale to life in a series of breathtaking scenes staged in the ornate rooms.
Our entrance to the castle was lit by a row of twinkling Christmas trees before were welcomed in for a champagne reception and short speech by the designer herself and Christmas classics sung by vocalist Michael Holland.
The Cinderella story begins in the main Guard Room entrance hall revealing two contrasting worlds in one house. Lavish jewel colours and glamour pop for Cinderella’s stepmother and her daughters while Cinderella’s world is decorated in a gentle naturalistic fashion to represent her simple life.
We were then able to wander the stunning venue at our leisure. The Elizabeth Saloon is the perfect setting for the flamboyant and indulgent world of Cinderella’s stepmother while the State Dining Room features the Fairy Godmother transforming the pumpkin into a carriage.
The gold pumpkin carriage was absolutely stunning. This time Cinderella featured in a bespoke peacock gown inspired by the insignia of the Castle, leaving behind her glass slipper on the steps below.
The Kings Suite of guest bedrooms is the scene for the trying on of the slipper with each of the rooms themed to Drizella, Anastasia and Cinderella with the two stepsisters blinging trees loaded with haberdashery, jewellery, pearls, dogs and birds.
The grand finale sees Cinderella marry her Prince Charming in the Regent’s Gallery with the bride dressed in a beautiful white peacock wedding gown complemented by a pair of giant crystal-dressed Christmas trees.
Design director of CLW Event Design, Adrian Lillie, also affectionately known as ‘Head of Baubles’, said: “We are bringing our experience from the world of theatre to stage an enormous immersive and over-the-top theatrical experience full of drama. The inspiration was quite simply the fairytale castle on top of the hill. From designing the peacock fabric for the ballgowns and wedding dress to the specially made mannequins and the bespoke tree decorations and floral arrangements, no attention to detail has been spared.”
A truly magical experience for all ages, it really is the stuff of fairytales. If you could step into a storybook Christmas setting, this would be it. Sadly we need to wait for our own Fairy Godmother to come along to do that on the big day.
If you are planning a visit, Christmas at Belvoir is also the place to meet Santa Claus. The big man himself and his helpers. He took time out from his busy schedule preparing for Christmas in a cosy enchanted woodland grotto tucked away in the Castle’s Old Kitchen, to join in the celebrations, as did the Duchess of Rutland for whom the castle is home.
The castle’s Santa experience brings the magic of Christmas to life for little ones, who can enjoy storytelling from Santa's Elves, meet Santa and take home a gift.
Due to the weather, I didn’t see the Engine Yard, but it will be transformed into a winter utopia with its own standalone Santa’s Grotto where little ones can meet singing reindeer, get on the 'Belvoir Express' train for family photo opps, say hello to Father Christmas and his helpers and take home a gift.
The artisan retail village offers relaxed outdoor present shopping in boutique stores, festive essentials and seasonal food and drink. Christmas Markets will take place every weekend from November 26-27 with 25 chalets adding to the festive offer.
A Festive Afternoon Tea will also be served in the Castle’s Regency-styled tearoom, the icing on the cake to any visit to the Castle this Christmas.
Afternoon Tea and Santa Grotto visits can be booked in advance.
Ticket Prices: Adult £24, Child £10, Family £60.
For more information visit: https://www.belvoircastle.com/castle-book-tickets/