Haddon Hall at Christmas

haddonhallWow the last few weeks have been busy! My kids seem to positively collect Christmas events and every year there’s even more places they need to be. We’ve had parties galore, dance recitals (the rehearsals were constant!) plays, sleepovers and more! So when a rare non booked day presented itself last weekend I grabbed the opportunity to visit the wonderful Haddon Hall at Christmas time.haddonhall7

For those not in the know (I like to pretend that I am) Haddon Hall is a fortified Medieval house in Derbyshire owned by the Dukes of Rutland. If it looks familiar to you though that’s probably because it features regularly on film and TV. It’s used for just about every production of Jane Eyre (they might as well rename it Thornfield at this rate) and it even featured in the cult classic The Princess Bride!haddonhall3

For the festive season however Haddon has been celebrating the year of the bard with Shakespearean themed decorations (we now have Will Shakespeare hanging on our tree thanks to the giftshop). haddonhall9

haddonhall5Even more festive is the fact that their chapel is dedicated to good old St Nic himself. You can even spot the big man (looking more svelte) saving babies from being eaten in a time of famine amongst the outstanding paintings that adorn the chapel walls. Some of his other laudable (and perhaps slightly less gruesome) deeds are represented as well.haddonhall1

The hall while lovely at any time of year really comes alive at Christmas thanks to the decorations and general jollilility (made up festive word there) that seems to abound.haddonhall2

In between chatting to staff about stunt women throwing themselves off the battlements and just how polite Micheal Fassbender (or Micheal ‘Gorgeous’ Fassbender as they refer to him) the kids had some lovely festive poems read to them while seated on a genuine Tudor bench. haddonhall4

We even caught a performance by the Royal Northern College of music.

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One lovely little addition this year was the opening of the normally shut gardener’s cottage as a Christmas pop up shop, I love the topiary outside 🙂haddonhall10

It’s such a fabulous place to visit and I hope my pics do the hall justice at least a little bit. I definitely recommend a visit if you’re in the area next year.haddonhall8

Pikachu Cake

Pikachu Cake

Another birthday has been and gone in the Angel Eden Blog household and yet again I made the silly mistake of asking my son what kind of cake he would like. This always seems like a wonderful idea until it comes time to actually bake and suddenly the realisation that this might be tougher than I anticipated sets in! This year he enthusiastically requested a Pikachu Cake! Even more specifically he wanted a fat fluffy Pikachu cake!! Pokemon Go has a lot to answer for.

 

Thankfully Pikachu is somewhat light on the colour differences so he was actually quite a quick cake in comparison to previous requests which required millions of bowls/pieces of icing mixing up.

Pikachu Cake

I was quite chuffed with the finished product, although getting him to the party in one piece was nerve wracking, I became convinced one of his ears would fall off!

 

He seemed to go down very well with all the party guests, although the moment we chopped his head off did feel a little sad lol.

Pokemon Cake

Of course they’ve immediately requested various other Pokemon cakes but for the moment at least they’ll have to wait, although I’m semi tempted to make a Jiggly Puff because he was my favourite character when I was little 😀 In fact I joined in with the Pokemon Go mania with the sole intention of catching one and now that I have I’ve somewhat lost interest, that plus it seems to need constant updating and drains my phones battery like nothing else. Mind you I have a very short attention span when it comes to games in general (much to my brother’s annoyance when I would quit two player games when we were little).

 

Have any of you guys ever attempted to make a Pokemon cake, I’d love to see some other variations. Overall I’m very pleased with my fat fluffy Pikachu cake.

Haunted Castle at Warwick Castle Halloween 2016

Haunted CastleThis week the wonderful Haunted Castle at Warwick Castle has opened. It promises spooky scares and terrifying torments (just how scared you want to be is entirely up to you!) We popped along yesterday to sample some of the unnerving goings on.Haunted Castle

The castle is open every day until 9pm and the truly terrifying scares happen from 5pm onwards. For younger visitors (or those of a more nervous disposition) the daytime activities may be more your speed.Haunted Hollows

Haunted Hollows

Without a doubt our favourite attraction was the Haunted Hollows, a magical and spooky garden where even the statues appear to come alive!HauntedHollows3

All the attractions are given a rating based on their ability to scare, the Hollows has 2 Pumpkins which means it’s a family friendly affair.Haunted Hollows

My youngest had the nerve to tell this lovely Gargoyle that he wasn’t scary!Haunted Hollows

We enjoyed the hollows so much we went through twice! You can see a glimpse of this magical garden in this little video we made.

The Witches Tower

Witches TowerThe Princesses have been evicted and the Witches have taken up residence. For children aged 3-8 (and their adult) the witches ask for your help cooking up a spell for eternal youth. But as any good witch knows there’s no point playing by the rules and your spell just might not work! My son loved hunting for rats tails and bats wings. Definitely a must see for younger visitors but as this is a ticketed and timed event make sure to visit the tower early and book in your slot (there’s no extra charge).Witches Tower

Spooky Stories

When the Eagles aren’t flying (and they still are as usual) Spooky stories are told by a witch on the Eagle Lawn. Cue lots of audience participation with roaring dragons and ear shattering battle cries.

After Dark

The castle lights up about 5pm and the real scares begin! HauntedHollows2

The Dungeon is open from 11am (pumpkin rating 4 and absolutely no under 10s).

Tormented is a brand new attraction for 2016 and has a ghastly 5 on the pumpkin rating, I can’t tell you much more as I had little peeps with me but suffice to say one poor soul is trapped in the castle and destined to suffer a fate worse than death!

At 5pm a parade of plague victims are led through the central courtyard by the plague doctor and led on down to Outbreak 1349 where victims must struggle through the darkness to flee the infected. We caught the poor souls at the end of our video so make sure to take a look.Outbreak 1349

At 6.30pm there’s a public hanging which sees the famous Black Boar finally get his comeuppance and at 7pm there’s a Halloween Fire Joust across the river.

Of course there’s still twice daily flight of the Eagle shows as usual and the castle and ramparts can also be explored at your leisure. There’s also the Horrible Histories maze which is so much fun you have to visit whatever the occasion. To see more of the normal attractions take a look at one of my previous posts.Haunted Castle

We had an amazing time and managed just the right amount of spookiness for us. I think there’s something for everyone whether you like to scream your lungs out or chuckle heartedly when a Scarecrow peeps over your shoulder so definitely pop along if you can.

Information

The Haunted Castle event runs from the 22-31 October.

After dark entry is available from £14 per person.

For more info or to see event timings visit www.warwick-castle.com