I’m all for adorning as many things in twinkly lights as possible, beaming neon-coloured lights into the world and making foliage glitter! One of our yuletide family traditions is to visit one of the magical Christmas light trails near Bristol each December and they never fail to get us into the festive spirit! Here are seven of the best Christmas illumination events in Bristol and the surrounding West Country.
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Christmas lights Bristol 2022
From 14 November, Corn Street will be transformed into Bristol’s answer to Carnaby Street, with a love-themed light installation featuring eight love lyrics.
The city centre will be lit up after dark with Christmas light installations on King Street and the Old City, Park Street and Queens Road. The Love Bristol disco balls have also returned, bringing sparkle to the streets outside the Clayton Hotel, Mother’s Ruin, Mr Wolf’s, Four Wise Monkeys and the Queen Shilling.
Christmas displays in Bristol
This Facebook group will be rounding up the best places to find festive house displays around Bristol on Google maps, with coded driving and walking trails. These are Bristol nad South Gloucestershire houses that have gone above and beyond with their outdoor illuminated Christmas decorations.
Christmas lights to visit near Bristol
Avon Valley Christmas Lights Experience (2-31 December)
Combine sparkly Christmas light shows with letter writing to Santa, a miniature train ride (bound for the North Pole – just watch out for the Grinch), a festive fun fair and Christmas disco in the playbarn! Visitors can follow and interact with a family-friendly festive light trail around the park, with the lake providing a spectacular backdrop.
There’s also reindeer food-making, Mrs Claus giving gingerbread-cooking advice in her kitchen, a magical forest, adventure park attractions and the chance to have a piccie taken with Santa himself. Enhance your experience by booking Ice Skating at Avon Valley on the same day as well as/or Santa’s Sleigh Surprise Show (a theatrical performance full of magic, song and dance).
Westonbirt Christmas Lights 2022 (25 November-21 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 to quaff on your way along the mile-long illuminated trail through the trees and witness the wonder and commotion that comes with elves creating Westonbirt’s Christmas lights walkthrough.
Out of the darkness come glittering disco balls, talking trees and colour-changing decorations hanging from sparkling branches – a new surprise awaits around every twist and turn.
As well as mesmerising light displays for Christmas, there are natural crafts and the chance to get a glimpse of a very special guest from the North Pole…Festive treats don’t get much more magical than this!
Enchanted Garden of Light, The American Museum and Gardens, near Bath (1-31 December)
Bath American Museum lights, based at Claverton Manor near Bath, ia 40-minute jaunt from Bristol. Grab a lantern to light your way around an enchanting trail of flickering flames, dancing patterns of light, rainbow-lit trees and glowing installations illuminating a replica of George Washington’s garden at Mount Vernon.
Keep toasty underneath the stars with hot spiced apple, mulled wine and hot chocolate, cocktails, homemade mince pies, roasted chestnuts, hotdogs and gourmet burgers, and revel in the twinkly magic.
Watch a video of our twinkly time at the American Museum’s Enchanted light garden below:
Sudeley Castle Spectacle of Light (25-27 November, 2-4, 8-11, 15-23, 27-30 December)
One of the most beautiful winter lights trails I’ve ever been to, Sudeley Castle’s Spectacle of Light is brimming with wow moments and sparkly thrills. Christmas illuminations are all set against the backdrop of 15th century castle ruins – explore the gleaming grounds, full of glamorous topiary, dazzling plants, flickering flames and sparkling water features.
Fuel the festive merriment with whacking great cream-topped hot chocolates on your way round, and soak up the Yuletide buzz emanating from the Salvation Army band, tooting Christmas classics on their instruments.
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 at Christmas
(26, 27 November, 3,4, 10, 11, 17-24, 27 December-1 January)
Wookey Hole bedeck their caves with 100,000 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 wonderful wizard, 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.
Festival of Light at Longleat (5 November-8 January)
Of all the illuminated Christmas trails near Bristol, Longleat’s Festival of Light is one of the biggest! Be whisked through the wondrous illuminated worlds of Roald Dahl, with lantern scenes bringing key moments from the books to life. The spectacle will feature hundreds of lanterns, including a 5-metre-tall BFG, Wonka’s famous factory gates, James’ Giant Peach and more!
Extra festive flavour comes from mesmerising light displays from Britain’s biggest singing Christmas tree, heading off on a winter safari and boarding the Santa Train to a snow-covered winter wonderland to meet Father Christmas and his elves.
Christmas lights trail at Stourhead (25 November – 1 January)
The National Trust’s Stourhead, with its 18th century landscaped garden, lakeside walks, grottoes and classical temples is transformed with over a million twinkling lights at its Christmas lights event.
Wander along the illuminated mile-long trail to see the beautiful gardens dripping with festive colour. Discover gigantic luminescent sculptures rising high into the night sky, glittering trees swathed in light, giant baubles and a fire garden aglow with flames, all enhanced by a soundtrack of festive tunes.
Old Down Estate Illumination Trail 2022
This is the first year that Old Down Estate have hosted Christmas lights to walk through in the park. Father Christmas’s elves have been busy sprinkling fairy dust to create this festive light trail – follow enchanted Christmas lights and glimmering trees through the fairy garden to the front of the charming manor house.
A selection of warming Yuletide treats will be available from the Barn Café – treat yourself to a hot chocolate or mulled wine, go on, it’s Christmas!
Dog-friendly light trail for well-behaved pups on leads.
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