CASTLE Howard, near York, is adding an extra five days of Christmas by opening for the first time for Twixmas between Christmas and New Year.

On show until December 31 will be the Twelve Days of Christmas decorations that have enchanted visitors since going on display in November, including a 26ft Norwegian Spruce tree festooned with 4,000 baubles.

Although Castle Howard's grounds have been open for walking off Christmas excesses for many years, 2018 is the first year that the country house has re-opened to the public after Christmas Day.

The myriad decorations, designed by Charlotte Lloyd Webber and Bretta Gereke, illustrate the verses of the  Christmas song, while also celebrating the traditions of the 12 days of Christmas, such as the Twelfth Night Ball, the finale to a dozen days of feasting on January 6.

“The lull between Christmas and New Year can easily be an anti-climax, particularly for families with children who have been getting more excited by the day as they waited for Christmas morning," says head of marketing Abbigail Ollive.

"So booking a Twixmas visit to Castle Howard gives them something else to look forward to: getting out of the house and avoiding the scrum of the retail sales, with a peaceful wander around the house and gardens."

WonderPhil!, alias Easingwold performer Phil Grainger, will add to the Twixmas cheer with his magic shows from Thursday to Sunday at 11am and 1pm in the Christmas marquee next to the house. Tickets cost £5 per child online or £6, with accompanying adults having free entry, although a valid house or gardens ticket is required.

Prebooked admission prices for Castle Howard’s Twelve Days of Christmas, which includes access to the house and grounds, cost £17.55 for adults, £16.65 for concessions and £9.90 for children. A family ticket for two adults and up to three children is £46.80; £27.90 for one adult and three children. Prices on the day are £19.50, £18.50 and £11 respectively.

Bookings can be made at