Book in for a bright Christmas: Illuminated tunnels, fluorescent lakes, and talking trees – light shows are now a feature of the festive season, from Kew Gardens to the Eden Project
- Our list also includes Monteviot House, Margam Country Park and Antrim Castle
- READ MORE: Fascinating map reveals where the world wants to spend Christmas
Winter light trails offer dazzling displays and all sorts of treats to get you in the festive mood. Here are some of the best across the UK..
The Eden Project
We can’t rely on the weather to play ball, so play safe by going undercover for the night.
The Eden Project’s biomes are lit up like snow globes this Christmas, with a 1920s jazz vibe and live music in the Mediterranean dome and a tropical festive theme in the Rainforest dome.
Elsewhere at the Cornwall venue, visit Father Christmas, go ice skating and whizz down a night-time zip wire.
The Eden Project’s biomes are lit up like snow globes for Christmas
Book: Until December 30. Adult from £33, child from £11. Activities outside of the biomes cost extra.
Stay: Boscundle Manor — small, stylish and just a mile away. Doubles from £125, room only.
RHS Hyde Hall
Journey around gardens of the world — with a Yuletide twist — in the RHS’s outpost in Essex.
The Glow trail includes willow sculptures twinkling with lights, lantern-lit walkways bordering lawns awash with neon colour, and mirror balls floating on the lake.
New this year, a path to the hilltop rewards with wonderful views. Stop for one-pot suppers at The Thatched Barn and takeaway treats at the Lake Cabins.
Book: Until December 30. Adult £15.95, child £8.45. Under-5s free. Reductions for members.
Stay: The Limes in Maldon is a smart B&B in a 17th-century house. Doubles from £99.
Last year’s impressive displays are trumped with new additions at this Cheshire attraction.
Expect light tunnels, a super-sized sparkling star shrouded in mist, lights dancing across the grass and two giant reindeers (fitting, given there’s a medieval deer park here) flanking the path to the 17th-century house.
The public experience an artwork entitled ‘Mycelium’ on the Dunham Massey festive light trail
Oh, and you might spot Father Christmas en route.
All is accompanied by a snazzy soundtrack, food, drink, and fairground rides.
Book: Until December 31. Adult £19, child £12.50. Under-3s free. Family £60.
Stay: The Belmore is a small pub/hotel in Sale, near Dunham Massey and Manchester. Doubles from £85, room only.
You might expect Christmas in the Garden at Chatsworth to be special. It is. The whole south facade of this stately pile in Derbyshire is transformed with clever lighting into a spectacular advent calendar.
It’s the grand finale to their interactive sound and light show of estate landmarks, including the Cascade, Rock Garden and Maze.
Book: Until January 7. Adult £18.50, child £11, family £46.
Stay: The Peacock hotel at Rowsley is a treat, just a ten-minute drive away. Doubles from £235, including breakfast.
London’s favourite green patch gets a sprinkling of fairy dust.
This year’s new installations at Kew include Hive, a contemporary art work that cleverly recreates a beehive, and a display of candles that appear to float magically in the air above visitors’ heads. The highlight is always the Palm House, with projections on the lake and illuminated fountains.
Christmas at Kew is back for 2023 with a selection of impressive installations and attractions
Book: Until January 7. Adult from £22.50, child from £15. Family £69, Under-4s free.
Stay: The riverside Petersham Hotel is within walking distance of Kew Gardens. Doubles from £176, room only.
Enter the Enchanted Winter Garden for entertainment galore from new friends — the fire juggler, The Grinch, Elsa and Anna from Frozen, not to mention the fairies, elves and pixies of the Wonderland Wood and, of course, the big man — Santa — himself.
Lights twinkle through trees and turrets along the trail through the grounds of this Northern Irish castle. The Festive Fayre dishes up treats sweet and savoury. Maybe best to go on all the fairground rides first, though . . .
Book: Until December 19.
Stay: Dunadry Hotel & Gardens is 3.5 miles from Antrim Castle. Doubles from £119, B&B.
Christmas at Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest in Kent makes use of all those trees.
See them uplit, downlit, and drenched in every colour of the rainbow. The enchanting trail meanders for more than a mile — around lakes strewn with fluorescent lily pads, through an arch of dazzling light and past Santa with sleigh and reindeer, accompanied by Christmassy tunes. Street-food vendors provide giant hotdogs and mulled wine.
Glowing tent like-structures blow in the wind at Bedgebury’s 2022 light trail
Book: Until December 31. Adult from £19, child from £13, under-3s free. Family from £61. Parking is extra.
Stay: The Bell in Ticehurst is a quirky pub with great food. Doubles from £125, room only.
Margam Country Park
Weave your way through the grounds and past the magnificent Grade I-listed castle in Glamorgan, South Wales.
Luminate Wales have set up the light trail, with interactive elements to keep you on your toes.
Check out a talking tree, see tiny ‘live’ fairies, write down your Christmas wishes and leave them on the Wishing Tree and admire the incredible digital animation on the castle facade. Don’t forget to stop to toast marshmallows at the fire pits along the way.
Book: Until December 31. Adult £16.75, child £12.25, family £56.50.
Stay: The Old House 1147, Wales’s oldest pub (with rooms) is a 20-minute drive away. Doubles from £120, B&B.
The Scottish Borders first winter light trail works its magic in the 30 acres of gardens surrounding Monteviot House, Roxburghshire.
It’s the home of the Marquess of Lothian (aka Tory politician Michael Ancram). The wooded grounds are transformed into a winter fairytale with plenty of sparkle and shimmer to emphasise and enhance the natural environment. Local foods will tempt visitors, as will the crafts on sale at the visitor centre.
Book: Until December 10. Adult £18, child £12. See monteviotlights.co.uk for more details.
Stay: Dryburgh Abbey Hotel is a country house hotel close to Monteviot House. Doubles from £100, B&B.
All events must be pre-booked — no walk-in tickets.
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