Christmas means adorning as many things as possible in twinkly lights and I am all for it! We’ve tried to create a yuletide family tradition by visiting a Christmassy light show near Bristol each December and they never fail to get us into the festive spirit! Here are four of the best places to see magical Christmas light festivals near Bristol.
Where to see Christmas light festivals near Bristol
Westonbirt’s Enchanted Christmas (29 November-22 December)
By day, Westonbirt Arboretum is breathtakingly beautiful, come Enchanted Christmas nights, the forest is transformed into a magical festive feast for the senses, ablaze with colour, twinkly fairy lights and sensory surprises. Grab a hog roast bap and mulled cider from one of the stalls at the start to quaff on your way along the mile-long illuminated trail through the trees, past bubble-blowing psychedelic neon fairies, glittering disco balls, giant smoke rings and colour-changing decorations hanging from sparkling branches. A new surprise awaits around every twist and turn in the path, some of which are interactive – think fun stuff like bashing out beats on a drum kit to make the trees gleam, riding a bike or belting out a carol for a glowing reaction. You’ll also find natural Christmas crafts, towering Christmas fairies on stilts, a choir serenading the crowds with a festive soundtrack and St Nick dressed in green.
One of the most beautiful light festivals, Sudeley Castle’s Spectacle of Light is brimming with wow moments and sparkly thrills. The evening is inspired by a literary theme, against a backdrop of 15th century castle ruins, complete with flickering torches. The 2019 festive light show will centre around J.M. Barrie’s timeless classic, Peter Pan and Wendy, and families will be able to piece together the story while exploring the gleaming grounds. Expect glamorous topiary, dazzling plants, visual effects and an enchanting wander through the dark. Fuel the merriment with whacking great cream-topped hot chocolates on your way round and soak up the Yuletide buzz emanating from the Salvation Army band, who toot Christmas classics on their brass instruments at the entrance. Keep your peepers open on the journey from Bristol – the Cotswold town of Winchcombe is a quintessentially English town that wouldn’t look out of place in a Hollywood blockbuster’s re-imagining of England in winter.
Wookey Hole bedeck their caves with thousands of festive lights for the Christmas season, turning the subterranean world into a colourful twinkling grotto (with a few Santas and reindeer thrown in for good measure). Guided tours take you through the magnificent caverns (home to the legendary Witch of Wookey) and then you’re free to explore above ground, where you’ll find a gigantic gorilla, fairy garden, animatronic dinosaurs, 4D cinema, live shows, soft play, a Victorian-style arcade and a chance to meet Santa and his elves.
Longleat Estate’s Festival of Light is a luminous adventure through thousands of Chinese lanterns and stunning structures in the magnificent ‘Capability’ Brown-landscaped grounds of the Estate. This year’s theme is Myths and Legends, so expect the parkland to be set aglow with extraordinary creatures, legendary figures and mythical beasts, conjured from British folklore and ancient Greek tales. Extra festive flavour comes from an Enchanted Christmas Tree Show, the Longleat mansion dressed for an authentic 1920s-style Christmas (there are serious Downton vibes here!), an illuminated hedge maze and a Santa Train.
Where else can you see festive lights in Bristol?
- Bristol’s Christmas Market, Bristol Shopping Quarter: 8 November-23 December
- Festive fiesta at Cabot Circus when the Christmas lights are switched on: 8 November 2019.
- Explore the animal-shaped lights and Santa’s grotto at Bristol Zoo: 30 November – 23 December.
- The Big Clifton Christmas Tree Switch On: TBC
- Christmas lights switch on at Wapping Wharf: TBC
- The Mall at Cribbs Causeway: TBC
- Millennium Square, Bristol: TBC
- Bristol Insight Twilight and Illuminations tour: TBC
- Christmas Steps Light Up: TBC
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