BEWARE all ye who venture to Chatsworth this Christmas — for there be dragons!
Not just fiery creatures, though, but friendlier souls like Snow White, Cinderella and James (of ...and the Giant Peach fame).
Visitors to the Derbyshire stately pile is will find themselves transported into a world of make-believe as it presents “Once Upon a Time”.
Scenes from classic tales are woven throughout Chatsworth House to create a storybook world guarded by Arthur the Dragon at the overgrown North Entrance, whose lair features scenes from family favourites.
Storytellers with the air of the Pied Piper will roam the rooms and corridors to enchant visitors with mystical tales as they explore the magical land of make-believe, and there is a free family trail available for youngsters.
A huge helping of dressed Christmas trees along the route, costumes to try on and snowball-inspired decorations will ramp up the festive feeling.
The Christmas route winds its way through the ground, lower floors and guest apartments on the upper floor.
A timed ticketing system will be in operation, with visitors encouraged to book online in advance to secure their preferred time slot and take advantage of free parking.
Chatsworth’s Christmas market will also be running from November 16 to December 4, with more than 100 market stalls offering a wide range of Christmas gifts and decorations.
As well as the spectacular display in the house, the Christmas season at Chatsworth features family-friendly Christmas Nativities taking place in the farmyard, where children join the farmyard animals to star in their own nativity story.
Visit www.chatsworth.org/events/christmas-nativity to book your ticket for dates between December 8 and 23.
The house is also open for Twilight Evenings to give visitors the chance to explore after dark, with live music from traditional bell-ringers and a string trio.
Dates run from 22 November to 21 December and more details can be found at www.chatsworth.org/events/christmas-twilight-evenings.
Christmas tickets include the house, garden and farmyard are priced at £25 per adult; £15 per child and £69 per family (two adults and three children).
For more information, visit www.chatsworth.org.
Christmas also kicks off at Welbeck this weekend.
The Welbeck Estate near Worksop is hosting its Welbeck Winter Weekend from Friday until Sunday, with more than 100 artisan makers will be showcasing their wares at the estate in Sherwood Forest.
Ceramics, jewellery, metalwork, textiles, artworks, wood and glass pieces make up an eclectic mix of items on offer, and there will also be food and drink ranging from cheeses and chutneys to sweets and sloe gin available from 30 artisan stalls chosen by the award-winning Welbeck Farm Shop.
Free children's activities can be found upstairs in The Harley Gallery, as well as an Explorer trail inThe Portland Collection.
Opening at 10am each day, the event runs until 5pm on the Friday and Saturday, and closes at 4pm on the Sunday.
Meanwhile, Welbeck’s School of Artisan Food is offering a range of pre-Christmas courses and events, beginning with the Stir Up Sunday festive demonstration and tasting class on Sunday from 2pm to 5pm.
A range of puddings will be produced, along with mouth-watering sauces, which all be available to taste.
Courses also explore an Italian Christmas; Continental Baking, festive French patisserie and German inspired stollen to bring a flavour of Europe to any festive feast.
Visit www.schoolofartisanfood.org/categories/christmas-collection for more information.