A CASTLE will open its doors in December – for the first time offering visitors a taste of preparations for an Edwardian Christmas.

The rooms at Raby Castle, near Barnard Castle, will be decorated for Christmas, as they would have been in days gone by as the household readied itself for seasonal guests.

Visitors will be able to explore the lower floor of the Castle and soak up the atmosphere of a traditional family Christmas during Edwardian times – the Downton Abbey era.

The route will include a glimpse inside the Butler’s Pantry which has never been seen by the public before.

Families are welcome and there will be a trail for children to follow with things to spot in every room.

A spokesperson said: "The Castle is normally closed to the public at this time of year, making this an extra special occasion and one not to be missed."

Raby Castle will be open on weekdays from December 1 to 18. Tickets are limited and are available online at raby.co.uk/raby-castle/tickets/