What could be better on a cold winter’s evening but to wrap up warm and head out to a Winter Wonderland. You may know some of these gardens by day, but when it’s dark, landscapes take on a new dimension especially when they’re lit up and you can hear music in the distance. Please note that some of these events can only be pre-booked – check out the garden’s website before visiting. And if you are thinking of Kew, be quick, as lots of the times are already sold out.
#1 Kew Gardens
‘As twilight falls, the magic begins….’ – what further encouragement do you need to head over to Kew Gardens? This is the seventh year of the dark trail at Kew and as well as the usual favourites of the Holly Bushes singing, the Tunnel of Light twinkling, the Fire Garden flickering and the spectacular sound and light show at the Palm House Pond, there are a whole of new installations. The Temperate House will be lit up, the immersive vines will change colour while below the branches ‘mysterious fairy-fire known as Will-o’the Wisp [will] softly glow’. There’ll also be food and wine, a Victorian Fairground and a fire-pit to toast marshmallows. ‘And don’t forget to look out for Santa on the way’. Looks like a must.
For the first time ever, Stourhead in Wiltshire is inviting us to enjoy the gardens at night. There’ll be a Tunnel of Light with over 100,00 pea-lights, ‘Singing Trees’, ‘twinkling hedgerows’, ‘glowing blossom’, ‘Laser Garden’ and a ‘Fibre Optic Lawn’. There’ll also be food and drink, Victorian Fairground Rides and a firepit with roasted marshmallows. Maybe see you there!
Anyone who lives near Haywards Heath, will know when Christmas is drawing near when they can see Wakehurst’s magnificent Christmas Tree sparkling with over 1,800 lights. This year, Glow Wild 2019, has more than ten artists creating spectacular installations with ‘lanterns, fire torches, projects and soundscapes’ inspired by the nocturnal world. With food and wine on sale and a firepit to roast marshmallows, this sounds too good to miss.
#4 Blickling Hall
There’ll be festive treats at Blickling Hall in Norfolk with Christmas Trees along the drive to the house and you’ll be able to wander along the Temple Walk and in the Walled Garden.
#5 Fountains Abbey
What could be more magical than to visit Fountains Abbey at night? There’ll be lights and music on certain weekends in December so check out their website and start your Christmas Festivities here.
There’s lots of Christmassy things happening at Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland from a chance to see Father Christmas and his elves to Winter Bumper rides and Winter Stalls. What also looks fun (and is free!) is the Grand Lantern Parade led by ‘Spark’. You will be escorted around the gardens, past the Grand Cascade where there’ll be a spectacle of light and sound and end up in the town of Alnwick.
#7 Waddesdon Manor
Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire is magnificent at any time of year but this year from November 16th until January, the facade will be lit up with two unique light shows. Follow the light trail around the gardens and enjoy the ‘colour, sound and movement’ as you wander through the trees.
If you are lucky enough to live or visiting Cornwall over the Christmas period, make sure your stay includes a visit to Trelissick. The garden will be lit up at dusk and if you can’t wait any longer, you can book your visit to see Father Christmas. And if you get cold, head back to the house where you can warm up in front of the fire.
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December, Knightshayes in Devon will be opening late. Enter a magic wonderland with fairy lights twinkling from the trees and shrubs and dancing lasers as you wander around the magnificent garden. And if you get cold, enter the house which will be decorated for a traditional Heathcoat Amory family Christmas.
Blenheim Palace near Woodstock in Oxfordshire is transforming the estate into a magical Wonderland. Literally! You can journey into the topsy-turvy world of Alice in Wonderland as well as walking through the Tunnel of Light, the woodland Laser Garden and the scented Fire Garden while listening to the Christmas Classics as the facade of Blenheim is lit up.
There’ll also be mulled cider and wine and hot chocolate for sale as well as a Victorian carousel and a fire pit for marshmallow toasting.