Castle Howard, in North Yorkshire, were proud recipients of two prestigious UK Heritage Awards, presented on Monday 25th March 2019.

Dr Christopher Ridgway received a very special Lifetime Achievement Award for his services to the Heritage sector. Dr Ridgway has held the position of Castle Howard’s Curator since 1984 and has dedicated his life’s work to researching, documenting and sharing his knowledge, regularly giving lectures
both nationally and internationally on Castle Howard's magnificent collections and fascinating history.

Visit Heritage particularly recognised Dr Ridgway for his work in the development of the Yorkshire Country House Partnership where he has been Chair; the partnership is dedicated to researching the architecture, landscapes, collections, families and archives of the country houses of Yorkshire.

Dr Ridgway said ‘I was completely surprised and not at all expecting to receive an award today. It is an honour and a pleasure to accept this as I continue to be as passionate about Castle Howard's unique story and rich archive today as I was over 30 years ago and have published works on its collections, architecture, landscape and history.’

The second award was for Castle Howard’s outstanding 2018 Christmas experience, which won the UK Heritage Award for ‘Best Event, Festival or Exhibition’. Castle Howard, the magnificent historic house set within 1,000 acres of breathtaking parkland just outside York, saw their most successful Christmas period ever in 2018 with over 51,500 people coming to take part in the festivities. Based around the theme of The Twelve Days of Christmas, the historic house was dressed in stunning splendour by designers Charlotte Lloyd Webber and Bretta Gerecke. The elaborate decorations included swans swimming across a rippling silver dining table, geese laying golden eggs in the study and a partridge in a pear tree like you’ve never seen before.

All across the Country Estate, staff came together to spread the seasonal cheer. Mouth-watering Christmas dinners and indulgent treats delighted diners in the café and restaurant while the Farm Shop’s festive foodie gifts and traditional Christmas fare meant visitors could enjoy top quality produce in front
of their own roaring fires. Baubles of all shapes and sizes filled the gift shops and British-grown Christmas trees stood proud at the Garden Centre.

Not just a magical shopping experience, families enjoyed audiences with Father Christmas, including tea parties and story-telling, and magic shows kept the festivities flowing during Twixmas. Festive afternoon teas in front of a roaring fire were offered in the Grecian Hall and Christmas market stalls added the final touch to make Castle Howard one of the most festive places in the country.

The prestigious award was presented to the historic house and visitor attraction at the glamorous award ceremony at Grocers’ Hall, London where representatives from Heritage sites across the UK gathered to celebrate UK heritage.

Accepting the award, Victoria Howard OBE, of Castle Howard said, ‘the UK Heritage Awards are a true celebration of those places bringing history and heritage to life and so it’s a real pleasure to be have won this prestigious award. Everyone at Castle Howard puts a huge amount of enthusiasm and dedication into making the event special and we’re delighted that we can share the magic of Christmas at Castle Howard with so many visitors.’

Castle Howard’s Christmas experience will return later this year with an exciting new theme, yet to be announced. ‘We can’t wait to welcome visitors back for another incredible Christmas,’ says Victoria Howard, ‘listen out for the big announcement later this year.’