Visitors enjoy Stansted Park festival of fun

19/11/11    JT''Christmas Festival at Stansted House & Stansted House Garden Centre, Rowlands Castle. Pictured is the christmas themed horse and carriage ride, Joe Smith age 9''Picture: Paul Jacobs (114125-4)
19/11/11 JT''Christmas Festival at Stansted House & Stansted House Garden Centre, Rowlands Castle. Pictured is the christmas themed horse and carriage ride, Joe Smith age 9''Picture: Paul Jacobs (114125-4)

There was plenty of seasonal spirit on show from residents eager to snap up a wealth of intriguing presents at Stansted Park House Christmas festival.

Visitors were greeted by unlikely Rudolph and Prancer the ‘reindeer’ – in the form of Suffolk Punch horses donning red coats and festive sleighbell hats, who entertained crowds with rides around the estate.

19/11/11    JT''Christmas Festival at Stansted House & Stansted House Garden Centre, Rowlands Castle. Pictured are sisters L-R Milly Rivers 6 and Lucy Rivers 3 of Hayling Island with Santa in the grotto''Picture: Paul Jacobs (114125-5)

19/11/11 JT''Christmas Festival at Stansted House & Stansted House Garden Centre, Rowlands Castle. Pictured are sisters L-R Milly Rivers 6 and Lucy Rivers 3 of Hayling Island with Santa in the grotto''Picture: Paul Jacobs (114125-5)

There were a host of festive treats within the stunning main house in which youngsters had the chance to meet Santa in his grotto and check out a sleigh-full of innovative gift ideas.

Youngsters were also entertained with displays of magic, juggling and face-painting as well as exploring the house’s new Christmas maze.

Among some of the most popular were a wealth of festive decorations, distinctive Welsh slate wine racks, highly unusual jams and preserves from the Lebanon, to traditional wooden toys and Christmas tipples, which saw brisk trade being done on its dozens of stalls.

One of the busiest sections of the fayre over the weekend were the house’s kitchens. These proved a very fitting temporary home to stall holders offering everything from fine wines and spirits to spiced cheeses, homemade pies and cookware. There were also a number of vintage-themed culinary stalls which fitted the feel of the venue perfectly.

Crowds also took the chance to explore the venue’s garden centre which had a broad range of seasonal flowers, plants and botanical delights for the festive season.

Janet Sinclair, house manager at Stansted, believed there had been a fantastic response to the weekend’s festivities which began with a shopping evening on the Friday night.

She said: “It has been very good this year with something for everyone and we’ve been helped by the weather too which has enabled people to have a lovely day out.

“People have come to the fayre to gain something that’s different, as you won’t find any of the things here in the shops. It’s been going for more than 20 years now and this looks like being its most successful year ever, with ten per cent of the proceeds going to the Cancerwise charity.”