2023-09-22T10:12:00Z By Harry Rogers
Light trails at Christmas continue to grow in popularity and now you are spoiled for choice. This festive collection showcases the natural environment of their individual locations and features installations from renowned artists, soundtracks from classical and contemporary festive favourites… and millions of twinkling lights.
Preparations are already under way for a number of fabulous festive trails for Christmas 2022, including three new openings for 2022 at Leeds Castle near Maidstone, Roundhay Park in Leeds and Hatfield Park near Hertford.
As well as new trails to look forward to, tickets are available for returning favourites at locations including Blenheim Palace near Oxford, Stourhead in Wiltshire, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London.
There are so many to choose from, here are 15 of the best options for groups:
South & South West
1. Christmas at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire: 18th November - 2nd January
New for 2022, visitors can explore the palace rooms at Blenheim Palace which will be exquisitely transformed and filled with hidden surprises. Based on the theme of The Snow Queen, discover the Land of Snowflakes filled with a silvery frost-covered forest and venture into the wintry Kingdom of Ice, adorned with larger-than-life crystals. Afterwards, head outside and take in the illuminated Christmas trail featuring more than a million lights and seasonal sounds across the gardens.
There will also be a Christmas market with traditional wooden chalets that will showcase a range of festive treats from designer-makers and artisan food and drink producers (18th November to 18th December).
2. Christmas at Kingston Lacy, Dorset: 2nd - 24th December
The grounds of this elegant country mansion will be transformed into a Christmassy haven once again this year. The Kingston Lacy trail, featuring curated illuminations set to a soundtrack of Christmas music, will illuminate the beautiful garden.
3. Christmas at Stourhead, Wiltshire: 25th November - 1st January
Stourhead is a Palladian house and garden described as a ‘living work of art’. The trail features the stunning Christmas cathedral, in which more than a thousand pea lights will be woven into the forest landscape. Other highlights include the ‘Sea of Light’, neon stars wrapping trees and a brilliant light super nova.
4. Christmas at Leeds Castle, Kent: 25th November - 1st January
Another new opening for 2022, groups can be transported into a seasonal land of joy across the grounds, leading up to the moated Leeds Castle itself. Among the many light installations will be three remarkable new works from creators T-i-l-t, including oversized lampshade clusters and chandeliers. You will be able to walk under giant baubles and beneath beautifully illuminated trees to a seasonal soundtrack.
5. Christmas at Hatfield Park, Hertfordshire: 25th November - 1st January
Just 20 minutes on the train from Kings Cross station, this historic National Trust property was built by Robert Cecil in the grounds where Queen Elizabeth I spent much of her childhood. Jacobean Hatfield Park is home to centuries of historical treasures and 42 acres of beautiful gardens and parkland which will be transformed into a winter wonderland for the first time ever this year.
6. Christmas at Bedgebury, Kent: 18th November - 2nd January
See the trees as you’ve never seen them before in the National Pinetum and Forest at Bedgebury this Christmas. Installations designed by a range of international artists portray the pinetum in a majestic light, beneath canopies drenched in seasonal colour and inspired by the landscape to create a festive adventure for all ages.
7. Christmas at Kew, London: 17th November - 9th January
Described as a botanical world filled with seasonal cheer, Christmas at Kew is now firmly established as one of the UK’s leading Christmas experiences and organisers are suggesting that this year’s magical trail will light up Kew Gardens as you’ve never seen before.
Expect sparkling tunnels of light, dancing waterside reflections, glitter balls and trees drenched in colour on your way to the panoramic Palm House light display. Pause at the flickering flames and you may even catch a glimpse of Father Christmas along the way.
East of England
8. Christmas at Wimpole, Cambridgeshire: 25th November - 1st January
The Christmas trail at Wimpole will return for the second year running with a new route to include sparkling tunnels of light, giant baubles and glowing trees. Curated installations also include a new green laser garden, romantic heart arches, snow flake walk and a Christmas cathedral.
9. Christmas at Belton, Lincolnshire: 24th November - 1st January
National Trust’s Belton House is getting ready to welcome back its glittering illuminated trail with a new route stretching 2km. Be surrounded by over a million twinkling lights, colourful trees and amazing illuminated installations throughout the walkway.
The lights are choreographed to a soundtrack of seasonal music, with the trail including colour-changing spheres, a sea of lights, a sparkling rose garden and stars leading to larger-than-life mistletoe.
North of England
10. Christmas at Gibside, Tyne & Wear: 1st December - 1st January
Tickets are on sale for the Christmas trail at the National Trust’s Gibside estate, near Gateshead. It will be the second time the site has held a seasonal walkway and will feature illuminations choreographed to a much-loved festive soundtrack, plus a giant snowflake walk with sparkly gold, silver and pink snowflakes.
11. Christmas at Roundhay Park, Yorkshire: 8th December - 1st January
This new Christmas trail will light up Roundhay Park in Leeds, one of the biggest city parks in Europe, like never before. Enjoy illuminated oversized lilies, a snowdrop walk, colourful neon trees and fire garden.
12. Christmas at Dunham Massey, Cheshire: 18th November - 2nd January
Discover new immersive installations as the winter trail is set to be bigger and better than ever at the Georgian house and gardens at Dunham Massey. As well as new lights and music, there is a new route, food, drink and fairground rides. This trail tends to sell out each year, so early booking is advised to avoid disappointment.
13. Christmas at Delamere Forest, Cheshire: 25th November - 31st December
Following the success of the first Christmas at Delamere Forest last year, tickets are now on sale for the second illuminated trail at Forestry England’s great estate so more visitors can see the forest in a different light. Chandelier dance floors, firework trees and a 42-metre prism tunnel of neon lights are just some of the installations you can expect to see.
Scotland & Northern Ireland
14. Christmas at the Botanics, Edinburgh: 26th November - 2nd January
More than a million lights and seasonal sounds will fill the air at The Royal Botanic Garden in Scotland’s capital. Returning favourites include Christmas cathedral and the fire garden but there is also a new route, light works and installations to ensure the experience is even better – look out for Inverleith House, cast in a new light.
15. Christmas at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Belfast: 1st December - 1st January
The magical after-dark trail at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens will transform the estate’s beautifully landscaped grounds with a new route up to the castle. Wander beneath tree canopies drenched in Christmas colour, surrounded by giant baubles, glowing spiral trees, glittering snowflakes, and clusters of trees wrapped in ever-changing neon ribbons.
Group discounts are available for 15 or more adults to every venue listed above, with two coach parking spaces available per night.
Tickets and coach parking must be prebooked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.