Wednesday 3 – Friday 5 December
Bowood House (between Calne and Chippenham) will be twinkling with festive cheer for its special December opening for the three day Bowood House Christmas Extravaganza that starts on Wednesday 3rd December. The event raises money for the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust.
With just three weeks of Christmas shopping remaining, the home of the descendants of the 1st Earl of Shelburne and the 1st Marquess of Lansdowne since 1754 will provide a captivating, stylish and relaxed antidote to the seasonal frenzy. Set within 2,000 acres of Grade I listed parkland mapped out by Capability Brown – light years away from the packed High Street and the teeming city centre – Bowood House will draw together luxury giftware and inspirational ideas to lift Christmas presents and preparations from the standard to the stellar.
Thanks to Bowood’s own 43 bedroom hotel and spa just a mile away from the House, the three day event also offers the perfect excuse for a quick pre-Christmas rural escape to recharge batteries and help reduce any anticipated seasonal stress!
Wednesday 3rd December will bring a particular celebratory flourish to the start of the Bowood House Christmas Extravaganza with drinks and canapés greeting visitors. This ticketed preview event – running from 4-8pm and priced at £15 per person – will herald a heightened sense of occasion as Carol singers perform in the private family Chapel (designed by CR Cockerell for the 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne in 1821). The Extravaganza will then run from 10am-8pm on the Thursday (during the late night shopping session, visitors are sure to appreciate the availability of a personal shopper to take the sting out of their gift hunting) and from 10am-3pm on the Friday with an entrance price on those days of £6 per person (if booked in advance) or £8 per person (price on the day). Come together as a group of friends and the advance booking price of £20 for four people will be extended.
Shoppers will enjoy leisurely browsing around some 40 gift stalls selling a broad and diverse range of upscale items, from stocking fillers to a particularly indulgent present for that special someone. As the shopping stalls spread out from the House Restaurant, through to the Sculpture Gallery and on into the Orangery, the surrounding Robert Adam interiors (dating back to the 1760s) and impressive collection of paintings, sculptures and tapestries will bring great panache to Bowood House’s colonnaded ‘pop-up’ shopping arcade this December.
What was once the Laboratory where Dr. Joseph Priestley (tutor to the sons of the 1st Marquess) discovered oxygen gas on 1 August 1774 will also be called into play for the occasion as will the Bowood House gift shop which will be rebranded as ‘Lady Lansdowne’s Christmas Shop’, stocking just the type of present she would include on her own Christmas wish list. The Library will also be dressed in its festive best – with an 18 foot Christmas tree and a roaring log fire creating just the right mood. There will also be live Christmas decoration and gift wrapping demonstrations, again combining fancy elements and simple ones. DIY kits with ready-packaged components will be on sale to simplify the process of replication at home. Refreshments, soups, snacks and other delicious nibbles will be available for purchase at the event. English Afternoon Tea in the Bowood Hotel’s Library (served until 5pm), cocktails in The Shelburne Bar or dinner in The Shelburne Restaurant (Wednesday and Thursday night Extravaganza shoppers making a table reservation will receive a bottle of house wine per couple) provide the perfect sign-off to the day. A transfer service will operate between Bowood Hotel and Bowood House. (Both will also have free parking).
Additionally, Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort will be extending two choices for an all-inclusive overnight rate shaped around admission to the Extravaganza and with transfers between the House and the resort, a gift wrapping service and delivery of shopping back to the hotel included too.
The hotel’s special all-inclusive package – from £140 per person (sharing a twin/double bedroom) per night will also include dinner (food only), breakfast, use of spa facilities, a 30-minute spa treatment.
Lady Lansdowne said: “Bowood House is magical at Christmas time and very much comes into its own then. While the House & Gardens close for the winter in early November, we specially opened up the House for its first shopping extravaganza in December 2011 so that members of the public now have the chance to discover it at its festive best. I am tremendously excited about these diary dates and looking forward to welcoming a large crowd of enthusiastic shoppers to Bowood House to join in the fun, be inspired in the run up to Christmas and help raise much needed funds for the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust at the same time.”
For further information on the Bowood House Christmas Extravaganza, telephone 01249 812102, e-mail Bowood Estate Office: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bowood-house.co.uk/events