THE Christmas carnival at Castle Howard this year is promising to be a "lavish" masked masquerade to remember.

Owners of the historic North Yorkshire stately home have announced that this year’s theme will be based on a grand Venetian Masquerade Ball, which organisers say will be “the most lavish seasonal presentation yet”.

This year’s extravaganza, which opens on November 16, is the third time theatrical designers Charlotte Lloyd Webber and Bretta Gereke have worked their magic on Castle Howard at Christmas, and the duo said that every room of the house will glitter and shine.

Four of the most significant masked performers from the 16th to 18th centuries will also influence the displays.

Inspired by the Commedia dell’arte - an early form of professional theatre - the colours of characters Harlequin and Colombine’s diamond chequered costumes will be showcased throughout the house.

Also included in displays will be historic items from Castle Howard’s own collections of dresses, masques and fans that would have been worn and used by ancestors of the current custodian, Nicholas Howard.

Meanwhile, the iconic 26ft tall Christmas tree will be back in the Great Hall, adorned this year by more than 3,500 baubles.

Castle Howard head of marketing, Abbigail Olive, said: “We’ve still got a way to go until all the displays are ready for our grand Christmas opening, but already you get a taste of the rich and ornate scheme that the Christmas team are creating – and we can’t wait to share that once again with our visitors.”

The carnival event runs from November 16 until January 5, 2020, and tickets can be purchased by visiting