PETWORTH has came to life, becoming something of a haven for foodies and historical buffs.
Behind the keyholes of Petworth House hides a glittering winter wonderland, with historically and visually-rich backdrops within each room.
For Christmas, the house has been transformed into a Feast for the Eyes, with stunning and extravagant arrangements.
And there to open it all on Tuesday night (December 3) was Waitrose guru and Michelin-starred celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal.
“I’m so impressed with Petworth’s A Feast for the Eyes. It’s like a cross between a supermarket Christmas ad and one of my ‘Feast’ shows,” said Heston.
“It really brings these historic kitchens to life, but in a way which is pure food fantasy – I love it!”
The chef spoke about his love of ornate food, the ‘gastronomic heritage’ of our country and the ‘dishes that built Britain’.
He detailed how he uses modern technology to replicate ancient recipes.
Visitors can see the servant’s quarters brought to life, the meat larder - home to the Huntsman, and the crisp white dining room with its richly dressed guests and opulent dishes.
The awe-inspiring designs are the brainchild of events coordinator Ian Pearce, who has spent some four months designing the house.
But he had only two weeks to make it a reality.
“I’m really happy with how it all came together.
“This is my event – I built it all up and saw it in my head, so seeing the reality is amazing.
“Working with Heston makes sense because our designs are off the wall – just like his culinary creations.”
Aida Stephens, who runs Whipped and Baked bakery in Chichester, was lucky enough to get tickets for the opening.
She said: “This is very inspiring - seeing normal ingredients used in such an interesting and skilled way.”
The event runs in partnership with company “rhubarb” Cranleigh.
A Feast for the Eyes runs until December 22, Saturday to Wednesday from 10.30am-3.30pm.
Adult tickets are £6 and child tickets are £3. National Trust members go free.
Booking is advised, on 0844 2491895 or online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house.
Entry will be on a timed ticket basis.