Clear Creations Christmas Outing

Tis the season for Christmas parties but we decided to go for something different to the traditional pub piss up and booked ourselves onto the Strawberry Hill Twilight Tour. Okay so we did get a few fruity cocktails beforehand with our Thai dinner, and upon arrival at the house we were handed a glass of Prosecco….. Strawberry Hill actually stock our cards and we have wanted to come and see the house for a while so it was a great opportunity!

The mood was perfectly apt for a gothic tour. It had been raining all day; the eerie streets surrounding the house were gloomy with mist and littered with sodden leaves. The house stands magnificent and white agains its green grounds and from the outset you become aware that this is a building which has been immaculately designed. We entered though the hall into the great parlour and had a short introduction to the history of the house which is the master creation of Horace Walpole.

Walpole had impeccable attention to detail and had every inch of the interior designed to the gothic aesthetic. The house features ornate carpentry, fashioned ceilings and intricate fireplaces. Our tour was (electric) candle lit to keep to the theme and as we passed different features, such as the carved gazelles which sit upon every corner of the staircase, our guide explained the influence behind these.

Team CC in the Hallway, wrapped up for the winter!

The library has spectacular arched bookshelves which swing open to allow you to reach the upper books and influences for this room include St Paul’s. Westminster abbey and Canterbury Cathedral. The walls were once covered with art works, curiosities and portraits collected and proudly displayed by Walpole.

From the library we passed through to the gallery which is hung with sumptuous crimson damask and has an extravagant gold and cream  gilded ceiling which we were astonished to be told was made out of papier mâché! Whilst the house was being used by St Mary’s University College this was the art room… imagine painting in there!

A little door at the end to the right takes you through to the Tribune which was filled with Walpole’s most valued treasures- sadly since sold on leaving the walls and cabinets bare. The room remains magnificent however- the roof design was taken from the chapter house at York with gilded ornaments and the star at the point made from yellow glass to cast golden light on the room. Walpole’s passion for fine detail really gives you the feeling that he wanted this house to be a theatrical experience.

We saw the rest of the rooms upstairs- one painted a vibrant blue, another hung again in the crimson silk damask, then headed down a steep spiral staircase to conclude the tour. We didn’t get to see the grounds unfortunately due to the miserable weather, but will definitely come back when they’re open in March for a day time tour. We want to see the Dutch painted (not stained!) glass and check out our cards in the gift shop! It’s not your conventional do but we had a great time soaking up some history and getting some inspiration. If you want to do the tour or see the house for yourself, check out their events here. The Clear Creations Christmas Outing was great fun, I wonder what we will do next year!

Happy Christmas!

Team CC xx