Celebrating Christmas at Cliffe Castle & Cliffe Castle Park

If you’ve visited Cliffe Castle and its park recently, you can hardly fail to have noticed there’s been an awful lot happening in the park.  If you’ve not yet come across Deborah Rehmat’s blog recording the developments, then you really must explore the posts! (after you’ve finished reading this one of course).

The work is nearly complete and  therefore the 10th of December was picked to be the Official Opening –  coinciding nicely with our Christmas in the Castle on the same day.  The team at the Museum worked closely with the Bradford District Parks team and the Cliffe Castle Park Conservation Group to ensure a range of activities and attractions would be there for visitors – from a Costumed Pageant organised by our Learning team in conjunction with local schools to an Oom-pah Band playing up on the terraces!

The Hall was decked, the tree was trimmed and the count-down to the big day began….

There was an awful lot weather checking on the run up week as the forecasts seemed to be rather on the ‘snowy’ side.  Luckily for us the dire predictions of huge snowfalls turned out to be a lovely dusting of snow, just enough to turn the Castle and Park in a proper winter wonderland!

The day before, our Collections team were busy braving the snow to add some more gilding to the lamp-post at the front of the castle, returning the lamp back to Henry Isaac Butterfield’s original colour scheme.

Braving the cold to add more gilding!
Braving the cold to add more gilding!

Local Nursery Schools had created the ‘birds’ from the song 12 Day of Christmas, to decorate the Glass houses and were safely tucked in amongst the cacti.

Paper mache French Hens - my favourite of the bird depictions!
Paper mache French Hens – my favourite of the bird depictions!

The day dawned, Father Christmas and his Elf was safely ensconced in front of the Chimneypiece in the Grand Drawing Room – because when you have a Malachite chimneypiece, it would be rude to host him anywhere else…

Father Christmas and his Elf in front of the Fireplace!
Father Christmas and his Elf in front of the Fireplace!

Everyone started to gather together for the main event….

The VIPs posing just before the official opening - wrapped up warm for the cold
The VIPs posing just before the official opening – wrapped up warm for the cold

Speeches were made, ribbons were cut (held aloft by the Christmas-tree shaped stilt-walkers) and the park and its glasshouses were officially open!

Stilt walkers dress as the fairies on top of Christmas Trees
Stilt walkers dress as the fairies on top of Christmas Trees

Visitors were then free to roam – busy exploring the  park, the market stalls there for the day –  and taking advantage of the ‘Pop-up’ cafe set up for the day by the people who will be running the Cliffe Castle Pavilion in the new year.

And of course, visiting Father Christmas!

Father Christmas
Father Christmas

Smiles were to be seen everywhere and as the snow started to fall gently again in the late afternoon, we all agreed that  (in the words of the old song) it was ‘beginning to look a lot like Christmas’.

And with that, it simply remains for us to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas from Bradford Museums & Galleries!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *