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10 of the best Christmas light trails around the UK

Published 8th Dec 2023

With Christmas only weeks away, there’s no better way to get into the festive spirit than by wrapping up warm and heading out to a spectacular light trail.  

From twinkling tunnels to dazzling displays, Christmas light trails are becoming hugely popular family activities that can be enjoyed by all ages. It’s more than just a visual treat, it’s a shared journey of joy that brings families and friends together at a truly magical time of year.  

As an early present, we’ve put together a list of the 10 best Christmas light trails around the UK, so that you can make this year’s celebrations that extra bit special.

1. AGLOW at Auckland Castle, Durham

Located just 10 miles from Durham, discover one of the most exceptional Christmas experiences in the North East. Spanning 1.5 miles, AGLOW at Auckland Castle is a visual feast, featuring seventeen incredible illuminations and some of the largest light installations in the country. The mesmerising journey through Auckland Castle's gardens and grounds promises surprises around every corner, creating an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

Prepare to be stunned by the beautiful Son et Lumière projection on Auckland Castle, a captivating interplay of sound and light that adds a touch of magic to this historic site. The trail boasts the longest outdoor light tunnel in the country, stretching over 100 meters, creating a fantastic photo opportunity that will leave visitors in awe. Witness the grandeur of the North East's largest Christmas tree, standing tall at over 30 meters, casting a warm glow over the surroundings.

AGLOW at Auckland Castle goes beyond visual delights, offering immersive sound and light installations such as musical trees. Little ones will be enchanted by Santa's Village, where Mr. Claus himself, along with his mischievous elves, puts on a festive show, adding an extra layer of joy to the occasion. Plus, vintage fairground rides and traditional festive foods are available on site to complete the Christmas experience.

Dates: November 22nd 2023 – December 31st 2023

Website: Click HERE

2. Christmas at Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire

This year, classical tales spring to life at Waddesdon. Inside the manor, you'll find twinkling lights and immersive soundtracks inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and The Snow Queen. Themed installations such as the Mad Hatter’s tea party and the White Witch’s castle transport visitors into a world of fairytales, promising an immersive an unforgettable experience for younger guests.

Follow a newly illuminated path through Waddesdon's Pleasure Grounds, featuring innovative installations, interactive elements and cherished seasonal favourites. Let the music guide you as you walk beneath a radiant canopy of orbs, marvel at starbursts twinkling in the night, and encounter larger-than-life 3D birds adorned with enchanting fairy lights. Then make your way to the Stables, where The Lights that Dance in the Night awaits—a fresh exhibition spotlighting imaginative displays crafted by local schools.

The popular food village makes a comeback to Waddesdon this year, offering a delightful array of seasonal treats. Indulge in the warmth of mulled wine, enjoy a flavour-packed turkey burger, and relish the sweet delights of doughnuts and cinnamon rolls. It's a Christmas experience like no other.

Dates: November 22nd 2023 – January 1st 2024

Website: Click HERE

3. Christmas at Blenheim Palace, Oxford

Christmas at Blenheim Palace is yet another popular experience themed around fairytales and enchantment this year.

Immerse yourself into the world of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, as the palace is transformed to narrate this timeless tale with a contemporary twist. Each room tells a different chapter in Sleeping Beauty's story, and you’ll be able to wander through Auroura’s candle-lit bed chamber and Evil Fairy's spooky wooded lair with fluttering fairies guiding you. It really is a fairytale experience like no other! Of course, there are also plenty of festive decorations to discover throughout the palace, including a towering Christmas Tree in The Great Hall.

This year's illuminated trail promises to be a spectacle, featuring heart-shaped arches glistening in the moonlight, star-filled tunnels, and an impressive eight-meter sphere adorned with over 20,000 moving lights. The Lakeside walk will enchant you with dancing reflections in the Cascades creating a truly mesmerising experience.

Blenheim Palace's Christmas celebration is a must-attend event, blending tradition, magic, and festive joy in a truly spectacular setting.

Dates: 17th November 2023 – 1st January 2024

Website: Click HERE

4. Christmas at Kew, London

Labelled as ‘one of the highlights of the UK’s festive calendar’ Christmas at Kew is an unmissable attraction located in the heart of West London.

As the night falls, the gardens come alive with millions of twinkling lights, creating a mesmerising tapestry of colours against the backdrop of historic structures and lush greenery. Discover glittering tunnels of light, dancing lakeside reflections and trees drenched in jewel-like colour.

The trail is approximately 3km long and can take up to 2 hours to walk around. There will be a variety of independent street food traders along the trail, where you can choose from a range of flavourful food and winter warmers. Visitors can enjoy attractions such as meeting Father Christmas, visiting the fairground, toasting marshmallows, and capturing memorable moments through pictures.

This year, The Hive, a 17-meter-tall contemporary art installation, will be part of the light trail for the first time. Created by artist Wolfgang Buttress, The Hive comes alive with over 1000 LED lights responding to a unique soundscape. Additionally, visitors can enjoy Lili by TILT, a series of glowing, 3-meter-tall flowers making their UK debut.

Dates: November 15th 2023 – 7th January 2024

Website: Click HERE

5. RHS Glow at Wisley, Surrey

Experience the festive magic at RHS Wisley's Glow, a Christmas event that transforms the iconic Wisley gardens into a mesmerising winter wonderland.

Follow the fully accessible trail through the heart of the garden, which reveals Wisley’s landmarks lit up in all their glory. From the illuminated wicker alliums in Seven Acres to the unique Christmas beach-themed Glasshouse, each corner you turn unveils a new spectacle. The Rock Garden and Oakwood glow with festive radiance, while the Alpine Meadow transforms into a breathtaking 'field of fire.' Wander along the Wisteria Walk bathed in a haze of purple, leading to the grand finale at the Laboratory featuring a captivating display of fire and water.

Indulge in the festive spirit with a tempting array of food and drinks, ranging from hot drinks and delectable treats at the Village Square chalets to a delightful festive menu at the Terrace Restaurant and Wisley Café.

For an extra dose of Christmas delight, why not explore the RHS Wisley Garden Centre, where you can pick up an array of decorations and gifts just in time for the holiday season.

Plus, If you’re an RHS member you’ll get early access to bookings and discounted ticket prices.

Dates: November 24th 2023 – January 2nd 2024

Website: Click HERE

6. Lanterns and Light at Chester Zoo, Cheshire

Chester Zoo’s annual light trail is a night time event that welcomes families of all ages to experience the zoo in an entirely new light. As you journey through various enchanting lands filled with colour and festivity, you’ll encounter life-sized and hand-crafted illuminations including orangutans, lions, dolphins and woolly mammoths.

This year however, Chester Zoo is partnering up with Sony Music to bring you ‘Lanterns and Light’, which promises to be bigger, better and brighter than anything seen at the zoo before. Explore exciting new additions, including a 15m-long 3D mammoth hologram, glowing dolphins, a walkway of giant pea-lit animals, and a beautiful fire garden. Enjoy an immersive soundtrack throughout the trail, twinkling lights on trees, and wander through the Winter Cathedral tunnel of lights (An Instagram favourite). Also, make sure you keep on the lookout for Father Christmas in his sleigh!

If you're feeling hungry, indulge in a variety of festive treats at the Christmas Market, which features tempting options like Yorkshire pudding wraps, festive burgers, and hot dogs to satisfy your cravings.

Every ticket purchased will help with Chester Zoo's survival and ultimately its mission of preventing extinction. Meaning that your visit becomes a vital part of safeguarding endangered species and their habitats.

Dates: November 17th 2023 – December 31st 2023

Website: Click HERE

7. Windsor Great Park Illuminated, Windsor

Enjoy a royal evening at Windsor Great Park Illuminated, just a short drive from the historic Windsor Castle in Berkshire. This winter, the park transforms into a magical wonderland, which features dazzling displays and projections that bring the woodland to life.

Travel through the illuminated trails, where mythical creatures like fireflies and dancing fairies light the path. And as you stroll by the lake, don’t forget to grab a picture of the iconic swan illumination, which is projected onto a flood-lit fountain on the lake. The light trail promises a magical experience, featuring both new installations and beloved favourites.

Want to make your evening even more special? Why not enjoy a delectable three-course Christmas dinner at Windsor Geat Park Illimunated? This year Windsor Great Park Illuminated have teamed up with The Savill Garden Kitchen to bring a new sit-down dining option to the venue and it’s available until December 14th. Don’t worry if you miss out however, there’s a variety of mouth wateringly delicious food options along the trail including crepes and burgers. Cozy rest spots along the trail also provide perfect opportunities to savour a milled wine or hot chocolate with family and friends.

Windsor Great Park Illuminated promises not only a mesmerizing visual journey but also a culinary adventure, making it the perfect destination for a magical winter evening with family and friends.

Dates: November 16th 2023 – January 2nd 2024

Website: Click HERE

8. Christmas at the Eden Project, Cornwall

During the Christmas season, The Eden Project, renowned for its breathtaking biomes and beautiful gardens, undergoes a magical transformation, turning it into a must visit winter wonderland. This unique light and soundscape will celebrate ‘natures gifts’, exploring humanity’s connection to the natural world.

Begin your adventure in the rainforest biome, where laser light shows and beautifully lit plants transform the biome into a tropical wonderland. Even on an ordinary day, the biomes, especially the Rainforest biome with its towering trees, rope walkways, and waterfall, are impressive. Yet, when bathed in the brilliance of festive lights, they transform into a Christmas spectacular like no other.

Journey into the Mediterranean biome, where captivating live music makes you truly feel like you're in an atmospheric snow globe. The Eden Project Christmas Lights showcase a diverse lineup of bands and singers, ensuring a musical experience tailored to every taste.

Add that extra bit of sparky to your Christmas visit by booking an ice-skating session, or craft unforgettable memories for the little ones with a visit to Father Christmas. Plus, don’t forget to delight your taste buds by enjoying some festive favourites at The Eden Project, featuring mince pies to soul-warming mulled wine.

Dates: Selected evenings from December 1st 2023 until December 30th 2023

Website: Click HERE

9. Christmas at Dunham Massey, Greater Manchester

Dunham Massey's Christmas Light Trail is set to lift spirits once again, transforming the National Trust venue into a winter wonderland!

Created by Culture Creative, the after-dark illuminated trail features new installations, including sparkling tunnels of light, colour-changing batons of lights, dancing lights across the lawn, larger-than-life flower installations, huge illuminations, giant lit-up sculptures, and much more. Keep an eye out for Father Christmas along the way, who will add an extra touch of magic to your experience.

No Christmas event is complete without delicious festive food, and the Dunham Massey Christmas Light Trail ensures that you won't be disappointed. Indulge in a variety of delights, from spiced winter warmers to luxury hot chocolates and marshmallows to toast. There's also a selection of independent street food vendors that line the trail to satisfy your cravings as you immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere.

Make sure to head down to Christmas at Dunham Massey to experience a celebration filled with wonder, joy, and festive magic.

Dates: November 17th 2023 – December 31st 2023 

Website: Click HERE

10. Christmas at the Botanics, Edinburgh

Celebrate the spirit of the season at Christmas at the Botanics, a magical event in the enchanting setting of Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden.

This year at Christmas at the Botanics, the trail introduces new lights such as cosmic crocuses, rainbow-bright grasses, and incandescent seedheads floating through the air. As you explore the mile-long, after-dark trail, witness vibrant pampas, sparkling light tunnels, and the 18th century Inverleith House lit up in all its glory. Christmas at the Botanics also offers breathtaking views across the city, allowing you to admire the beautifully decorated Edinburgh Castle. Additionally, Christmas at the Botanics offers breathtaking views across the city, allowing you to admire the beautifully decorated Edinburgh Castle.

Don't forget to satisfy your seasonal cravings during your visit to the Botanics by treating yourself to delicious offerings from street food vendors along the trail.

Beyond a festive celebration, Christmas at the Botanics is a crucial fundraiser supporting the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh's plant research and conservation. Join the tradition, contribute to the garden's success, and immerse yourself in a truly magical display.

Dates: Selected evenings from November 16th 2023 until December 30th 2023

Website: Click HERE

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