On a dank, grey day several of us set off to a Victorian Christmas at Rockingham Castle, a former royal castle and hunting lodge in Rockingham forest.
How it brightened our day! A delightful small castle set high on a hill dating back to 1068, it was hosting visiting guests to a tour of the castle which was decorated ready for a Victorian Christmas.
It was Christmas Eve and the staff (including the housekeeper and butler) were busy entertaining visitors showing them round the various living quarters.
Our tour started in the servants hall where the Victorian dressed housekeeper (Mrs Christie) introduced herself and told us about her life and her duties in charge of 26 staff. We then made our way to the kitchen where a large display of Victorian Christmas Fayre was laid out on the table. The housekeeper told us of the life in the kitchen and history about some of the equipment. Our tour continued passed the Butlers pantry where it looked as though the butler likes to sample the many wines! On through the house into the Great Hall with a splendid laid out table, ready for Christmas Day. We met a seamstress in the Panel Room (who likes the gin) she was very entertaining and skilled at embroidery.
Lastly the tour ended in the long gallery which is now only two thirds it’s original size due to Oliver Cromwell destroying a third of it as well as other areas of the castle as punishment for supporting the royalists in the civil war. A pianist played for us and we all joined in singing a Carol. We all thoroughly enjoyed the tour and entertainment.
We spent some time in the very well stocked shop where a few of us spoke to the owner Mrs Elizabeth Watson whom with her husband James and their 3 children, live in the castle. Elizabeth loves to meet and chat with visitors and occasionally helps out in the shop.
Time soon came to make our way to Walkers Restaurant for our Christmas lunch. We had a private room upstairs in the restaurant and after ordering drinks and pulling crackers we were soon enjoying our meal.
After a delightful lunch and although a damp day, a few of us enjoyed looking at the grounds and the elephant yew hedgerows before making our way home.
We all agreed it was certainly a wonderful trip to Rockingham Castle.