Christmas Lights

Fiona Horan

Welcome

We may have lost a lot of open-air summer events this year, but many of our country parks and gardens are planning to bring back their illuminated Christmas trails this winter. These are a few of those that have been announced so far …

Bedgebury Pinetum

20th November - 31st December

Cathedral of Light at Bedgebury Pinetum

Cathedral of Light at Bedgebury Pinetum

Cathedral of Light at Bedgebury Pinetum

Back for a third year

Surround yourself with sparkle this Christmas as Bedgebury Pinetum in Kent lights up for its third year in 2020, with new lights and a soundtrack of festive classics. The one mile long trail will take visitors through a forest saturated in ever-changing beams of colour, colour-changing water-side reflections, a light maze and the flickering flames of the fire garden. 

Various dates from 20th November to 31st December.

Please note that Bedgebury Pinetum are currently reviewing their Christmas plans following the recent national lockdown, however, tickets are still available for purchase.

Bedgebury Pinetum

Blenheim Palace

2nd December - 3rd January

Blenheim Palace

Christmas at the Palace

Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire has been working hard to retrieve some of its schedule for the remainder of the year – including its celebrated Christmas Trail! This outdoor illuminated wonderland is the perfect way to get any family or group in the Christmas spirit. Attractions promised include Heart of the Stars scattering shards of light across the lawn, a scented fire garden adorning the Water Terrace, dynamic, colour-changing neon tunnels, lakeside reflections and the softly glowing fairy-fire known as Will-o-the-Wisp. For customer safety the number of visitors entering at each time slot will be reduced so that visitors have more space.

Running from 2nd December to 3rd January.

Blenheim Palace

Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens

4th - 22nd December

Leonardslee Illuminated

Leonardslee Illuminated

Leonardslee Illuminated

Leonardslee Illuminated
Leonardslee Illuminated
Leonardslee Illuminated
Leonardslee Illuminated
Leonardslee Illuminated
Leonardslee Illuminated
Leonardslee Illuminated
Leonardslee Illuminated

Fire and flame

Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens in Sussex is holding Leonardslee Illuminated once again after the success of its first season in 2019. Visitors can enjoy Christmas light and lantern displays throughout the gardens, projections onto Leonardslee House, and a spectacular silver moon floating over the lake. New for this year will be a live music show in front of Leonardslee House, interactive projections, and Pathways of Fire and Flame.

Various dates from 4th to 22nd December.

10% discount for groups of ten or more.

Leonardslee Illuminated

Longleat

2nd December - 10th January

Longleat House illuminated for their new winter Land of Light event

Longleat House illuminated for their new winter Land of Light event

Longleat House illuminated for their new winter Land of Light event

The lanterns of Longleat

Longleat is offering a brand new Land of Light event, this year, illuminating seven themed areas across the Wiltshire estate. Specially created for the Longleat Estate, the Land of Light’s technology, art and interactive installations will provide a stunning and unique alternative to the much-loved winter lantern spectacular; the Festival of Light, which Longleat has postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19. Longleat’s 20-metre tall Enchanted Christmas Tree will also be returning to the Stable Yard and the Santa Train will be back to whisk guests away to Father Christmas’ magical woodland grotto.

Land of Light will run from 2nd December to 10th January 2021.

Festival of Light at Longleat

Festival of Light at Longleat which will return in winter 2021

Festival of Light at Longleat which will return in winter 2021

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

26th November - 3rd January

Scottish sparkle

Edinburgh's lovely botanical gardens will be illuminated again this year for their Christmas at the Botanics event. Visitors will enter a botanical world festooned with seasonal cheer, enhanced by a soundtrack of festive classics. The trail leads beneath unique tree canopies drenched in Christmas colour. Watch out as lights seem to tumble from the undergrowth and flash up trees like fizzing fireworks. Expect giant luminescent sculptures rising high into the night sky, baubles and snowflakes where you least expect them, and clusters of trees wrapped in ever-changing ribbons of colour. Inverleith House will spring to life with choreographed beams of light dancing across its historic façade, and the Tunnel of Light returns with twinkling splendour.

Running from 26th November to 3rd January on selected evenings from 4.15pm - 10pm.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

4th December - 17th January

Christmas at Kew 2019

Christmas at Kew 2019 credit Jeff Eden © RBG Kew

Christmas at Kew 2019 credit Jeff Eden © RBG Kew

Capital attraction

Christmas at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is justly famous. Returning for its eighth year, the winter trail will be taking a new route, leading visitors for the first time through the beautifully illuminated Rose Garden. Old favourites and brand new light installations will sparkle and glow, making a winter outing as enjoyable as a summer one. Expect a glittering tunnel of bells, giant illuminated seed heads and majestic trees wrapped in light as well as a dazzling treetop waterfall, where beams of light interplay in a breath-taking aerial dance.

Running from 4th December to 17th January, 4pm - 10pm.

Christmas at Kew

Sudeley Castle & Gardens

4th December - 30th December

Sudeley
Sudeley
Sudeley
Sudeley
Sudeley
Sudeley
Sudeley

Some enchanted evening

The stunning grounds of Sudeley Castle will play host to the beautiful new illuminated trail this winter. Returning for the fifth year, there will be wonderful music to enjoy while discovering the many secrets of this magical environment. Take in the dazzling new illuminations as you stroll through the timeless castle, beautiful gardens and romantic ruins. Along with sparkling water features, a flickering field of fire, light beams and lanterns, be sure to keep a lookout for the magical characters of The Nutcracker as you make your way around the glorious gardens and enchanted woodland. Festive food and drink will be available from the castle terrace, including mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep you warm as you explore the spectacular trail.

Running from 4th December to 30th December, 4.45pm.

Sudeley

Thursford

3rd December - 10th January

The Wonderland Trail at Thursford's Enchanted Journey of Light

The Wonderland Trail at Thursford's Enchanted Journey of Light

The Wonderland Trail at Thursford's Enchanted Journey of Light

A Christmas one-off from Thursford

Thursford in Norfolk have had to cancel their annual, extremely popular on-stage Christmas Spectacular this year. However, they have bounced back with a new special show - Thursford's Enchanted Journey of Light. Visitors begin their festive journey on the new indoor Wonderland Trail: a maze of engines, fairy-tale characters and an immersive experience of light and sound including one of the UK’s biggest kinetic light displays. There will be magical steam engines (intriguing!) and vast decorations covering each corner of the building! Visitors will travel on past polar bears, penguins, elves and seemingly delinquent snowmen (from what I can gather. It sounds quite bonkers!). The journey completes outside in a four acre Lantern Light Extravaganza: a beautiful, breath-taking festival of luminous sculptures, from a fantasy forest of jungle animals to the wilds of the North Pole. Thursford are very good at putting on a great Christmas show, winning awards every year, so this is likely to be a joyful experience.

Running from 3rd December to 10th January from 3pm - 8pm (entry).

The Lantern Light Extravaganza at Thursford's Enchanted Journey of Light

The Lantern Light Extravaganza at Thursford's Enchanted Journey of Light

The Lantern Light Extravaganza at Thursford's Enchanted Journey of Light


Feature designed by Clare Dann

Clare is a designer and, for the last few years, has specialised in publishing. Aside from designing for magazines, she particularly enjoys creating animations and illustrations.


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