Take a tour of Burton Agnes Hall, Yorkshire’s most fabulously festive historic house

The family at Burton Agnes Hall take trimming up to a new level. Sharon Dale reports

The Cunliffe-Lister family who reside at Burton Agnes Hall are renowned for going all out when they decorate the Elizabethan manor house for Christmas.

Simon and Olivia Cunliffe-Lister, their children Joss, Otis, Inigo and Sholto, members of staff and a small army of local supporters, trim the historic home with traditional and contemporary handmade decorations. As the property is open to the public until December 23, they share their fabulously festive house with visitors “We love thinking of creative ways to embellish the Hall for Christmas and spend many months dreaming up and hand-making quirky, original decorations,” says Simon. “This year to ‘deck the Hall’ we’ve focussed on sustainable Christmas decorating that treads lightly on our environment. We’ve chosen foliage and flowers from the walled garden (including helichrysum, hops, hydrangea, eucalyptus, teasels, echinops), and branches and trees thinned from recently planted woods (these include oak, salix, silver birch, sycamore and larch).

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“We have paired them with our handmade decorations. We’ve also created, amongst many others, origami Poinsettia flowers to sit alongside the real ones with floating origami stars, a new knitted Victorian mice scene, golden crepe paper trees, gliding paper swans and rainbow spiral wire trees. We also try wherever possible to reuse pieces kept from previous years in novel schemes. We keep 20 potted bay trees to use each year and grow narcissi and other house plants for our floral displays.

Hanging the paper stars

“As a team, we have spent many months cutting, folding, drying, painting, twisting and knitting. We would like to extend our keenest thanks to everyone who has contributed to these joyful festive schemes. We hope visitors enjoy exploring our home, and perhaps feel inspired to craft some decorations themselves this year.”

Burton Agnes, near Driffield, also has a courtyard with cafe, shops and Father Christmas in his grotto. There is a variety of festive events at Burton Agnes Hall. For details and entrance prices visit www.burtonagnes.com

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Burton Agnes Hall with a Christmassy coating of snow
Trimmed up