Bowood extravaganza will be larger than ever

This Is Wiltshire: ennie Shaw, director of the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust, and Lady Lansdowne with the tree for the Bowood Christmas Extravaganza ennie Shaw, director of the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust, and Lady Lansdowne with the tree for the Bowood Christmas Extravaganza

Bowood’s Christmas Extravaganza opens today and Lady Lansdowne is expecting plenty of visitors after selling three times as many tickets as last year.

This is the second time she has opened up Bowood House to shoppers and stallholders and last night she held a preview evening with carols and cocktails.

This year she has arranged 56 stalls selling a selection of luxury goods from stocking fillers to artist commissions.

The house will be decorated throughout, with a focus on the family library which will house a twinkling 18-foot Christmas tree from the Bowood estate.

There will also be book signing in the library with guests including Country Life editor Clive Aslet and Pen Vogler, the author of Dinner with Mr Darcy.

Lady Lansdowne said: “I am starting to feel very Christmassy and we’ve got a lot of lovely Christmas music, which we’re going to be playing to get everyone in the mood.

“It will be quite similar, but because we’ve got more stalls I’m not going to be able to do my dining room display so I’m going to have to decorate the library more, which is what we use for our family Christmas.”

Last year’s event was attended by the Duchess of Cornwall, who is a patron of the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust.

Last year’s event raised £3,500 for the trust, which provides a home security service for elderly, vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Wiltshire.

Its operators deal with a range of situations, including comforting victims of distraction theft and burglary, and assisting those subjected to domestic violence by partners or family.

Trust director Jennie Shaw said: “Lord and Lady Lansdowne are so supportive, because we’re also supported by the Bowood Dog Show as well.

“These are vital funds – £3,500 would probably see another 30 houses in Wiltshire kitted out.”

The extravaganza runs from 10am to 5pm today and from 10am to 4pm tomorrow.

Tickets are £8 on the door or £6 in advance. To book, call (01249) 812102.

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