A magical atmosphere: Step back into the 18th century with a candlelit tour of a magnificent Georgian York townhouse

| 24 April 2015

Fans of Georgian design are in for a treat at a glorious townhouse in York this Museums at Night

A photo of a group of people in Georgian costumes standing at a candlelit dining table
(From left) Julia Mander as the housekeeper, Roger Ward as Lord Fairfax, Hannah Phillip as Anne Fairfax and Victoria Harrington as the cook in an illuminated performance at the glorious Fairfax House© David Harrison
In a festival not short of spectacular settings, Fairfax House, the York time capsule which might just be the country’s most beautiful Georgian townhouse, is a must-visit for anyone who adores the decadence of the period (or enjoys indulging in the occasional delusion of grandeur).

Performers will lead the way around a house full of the dramatic interiors and furnishings of the high society figures who once shared pleasantries here, created by highly-skilled craftspeople commissioned by Viscount Fairfax, the creator of the house for a family during York’s winter social season of events, balls and assemblies. A ringer for Lord Fairfax will be just one of the 18th century impersonators carrying the candles.

“Until you have experienced it, it is impossible to imagine what a different place it is and just how magical the atmosphere is that is created,” says Hannah Phillip, the Director of a venue which has enchanted its audiences since becoming a museum in 1984.

“Fairfax House changes its character completely once its doors are closed – especially so when all the lights are turned off and candlelight comes into play.

“We want people to go away feeling as though they had stepped back in time to a different place and to have a glimpse of what life was like and the interplay between the inhabitants above and below stairs.”

Booking is strongly recommended for this unvarnished two-night insight into life more than 200 years ago. Tickets include refreshments.

  • Fairfax House After Dark starts 7.30pm on May 15 and 16 2015. Tickets £7-£14. Telephone 01904 655543 to book.

A photo of a group of people in Georgian costumes standing at a candlelit dining table
Viscount Fairfax turned to York's most distinguished architect, John Carr, to redesign the pre-existing building on the Castlegate site© David Harrison
A photo of a woman in a Georgian costume lighting a candle inside a townhouse
Decorative flourishes, stucco ceilings and reliefs, intricate wood carvings and wrought ironwork adorn the house© David Harrison
A photo of two people in Georgian costumes standing in a candlelit drawing room
The house passed through the hands of a number of different families following the Viscount's death in 1772© David Harrison
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