Zoom calls with Father Christmas and feeding reindeer at England’s finest coastal castle
At a time when we could all do with a hearty sprinkling of seasonal cheer, Bamburgh Castle is launching its first-ever Christmas Kingdom celebration which begins this weekend (21 November 2020).
Inspired by the castle’s magical past as Bebbanburg where Nordic folklore and legends ebb and flow with real life and history, Bamburgh Castle’s Christmas Kingdom is designed to lift the spirits and delight at England’s finest coastal fortress in Northumberland.
Running until 3 January 2020, in response to the pandemic this year’s Christmas Kingdom is a mix of virtual and in situ, socially distanced festive experiences at the 1400-year-old castle, which was the inspiration for Bernard Cornwell’s epic historical Last Kingdom book and television series.
Until the castle’s gates reopen, Father Christmas has shared his secret spell that makes reindeer fly with Bamburgh Castle’s owners, so children anywhere can enjoy an enchanting and fully personalised ClausTime virtualexperience. Live streamed directly by pre-booked, one-to-one Zoom sessions with Father Christmas, ClausTime calls come directly from the castle’s magnificent King’s Hall.
Once the castle reopens, pre-booked Meet Father Christmas Experiences are set to take place in Santa Claus’ fairytale-like, Covid-secure grotto, magicked inside the Victorian Stables. This wonderful personalised experience includes a special keepsake box to treasure, with a Bamburgh Castle collector’s coin, scroll and a bag of sustainable reindeer moss.
Castle visitors will be able to stroll through staterooms adorned in Christmas glory and meet some very special seasonal visitors, for grazing contentedly in the castle’s West Ward will be a herd of Norse reindeer. Taking in the views of the very sea their ancestors once travelled over with the Vikings back in the 8th and 9th centuries, the reindeer will be resting their legs ahead of their biggest night of the year. Visitors will be able to feed the reindeer with bags of sustainable Scandinavian moss – a favourite treat of theirs to munch on.
Reindeer guides will be on the hoof to help castle visitors learn more about these incredible creatures which have been semi-domesticated over thousands of years by man. Learn how reindeer have evolved to survive in some of the harshest climates on earth and find out more about their almost sixth sense like connection with mankind.
Bamburgh Castle events coordinator Karen Larkin said: “I think we’re all in need of some heart-warming Christmas cheer right now, so it is extra fitting that the castle’s first-ever Christmas Kingdom begins this weekend with our ClausTime virtual Father Christmas experiences.
“We wanted to make sure these would be absolutely fantastic and magical in every way. Strangely enough, by making these fully personalised events virtual they’ve become even more enthralling and wondrous for little ones and their families who receive a special keepsake box, as if by magic, in time for their meeting with Father Christmas.
“It also means we’re able to reach out further afield and to offer an experience for children who perhaps are vulnerable and shielding and their families. It makes it more inclusive and magical for everyone which is what Christmas spirit is all about.
“We have had bookings come in from right across the UK and even some overseas bookings, which has taken a little bit of wiggling around to make sure we are all on the right time zone – but Father Christmas is used to traveling through time, so it hasn’t been an issue! It’s been quite incredible. People have told us there isn’t anything like this happening around them.
“While we can’t wait to be able to open our gates once again for people to enjoy our Christmas Kingdom celebration, it’s a real joy to be able to sprinkle some Christmas feels from Bamburgh and bring the magic of the castle into people’s homes so they can escape the everyday.”
Once reopened, Bamburgh Castle will be open daily from 10am to 4pm with last admission at 3pm. Pre-booked tickets, which include a 5% discount are available from www.bamburghcastle.com priced £11.16 adults / £5.46 children. Under-fives receive free admission.
- Personalised ‘Meet Father Christmas’ ClausTime virtual experiences
Saturday November 21st & Sunday November 22nd
Friday November 27th, Saturday November 28th & Sunday November 29th
Watch their little faces light up in amazement and joy as Father Christmas himself calls live from Bamburgh Castle, wherever you may be! Bamburgh Castle’s ClausTime experiences include a completely personalised, 15-minute live stream with Father Christmas from his grotto inside Bamburgh Castle. And yes, he is the very Father Christmas in their photographs and his beard is real, he says to tell you all! A personalised gift box is posted in advance to coincide with booked experience, containing a beautiful collector’s Bamburgh Castle coin minted by the castle’s Anglo Saxon monier and other delightful keepsakes. Once you’ve booked a Father Christmas experience, the castle’s specially trained research elves will be in touch, to guarantee an absolutely unforgettable and unique experience.
- The Christmas Kingdom
Daily from the castle’s reopening, from 10am until 4pm (last admission 3pm) until 3 January 2021.
Experience the added sparkle that bedazzles Bamburgh Castle at Christmas time where imagination and the magic of the season meet. Stroll our staterooms adorned in Christmas glory, while NEW for 2020 are our Norse visitors – the reindeer. Where better place for Father Christmas’ famous four-legged team to rest their legs ahead of their biggest night of the year, than at magnificent Bamburgh Castle?
- Father Christmas Experiences
Friday December 4th – Wednesday December 23rd Pre-booking essential
Where better to meet Father Christmas himself than inside Bamburgh Castle for the most wonderful experience, creating memories your little ones – and those young at heart – will never, ever forget. Step inside our enchanting, Covid-secure yuletide grotto magicked inside the castle’s Victorian stables and meet Father Christmas himself. This wonderful interactive experience includes a special keepsake box to treasure, including a Bamburgh Castle hand forged limited edition coin and a bag of special moss to feed to our resident reindeer.