A MASK of Christmas secrecy has been unveiled at a stately home near Malton.

Castle Howard is welcoming everyone to a grand Venetian Masquerade Ball in its “most lavish seasonal presentation yet”.

This year’s Christmas spectacular, entitled A Christmas Masquerade, is the third display by theatrical designers Charlotte Lloyd Webber, Bretta Gereke and their team.

Abbigail Ollive, head of marketing at Castle Howard, said: “Castle Howard is a house inspired by theatre, originally designed by playwright Sir John Vanbrugh, and we always endeavour to have our Christmas displays tell an authentic story that unfolds as you walk from room to room.”

Taking inspiration from four of the most significant masked performers from the 16th to 18th century, a pantomime performance will be reinacted throughout Castle Howard with chequered costumes and architectural props.

Items from Castle Howard’s own collections are included in the display, such as dresses, masques and fans worn by ancestors of the Howard family.

Abbigail added: “There is still more time until all the displays are ready for our grand Christmas opening, but already you get a taste of the rich and ornate scheme that the Christmas team are creating.

“We cannot wait to share that once again with our visitors.”

Castle Howard: A Christmas Masquerade runs from November 16 to January 5, with tickets starting from £11.50. For more information, visit castlehoward.co.uk