If ever we’ve needed to adorn as many things in twinkly lights as possible, beam neon-coloured lights into the world and make foliage glitter, this is the year! 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 five of the best Christmas illuminations near Bristol.
Christmas light trails near Bristol
Bristol City Centre (1-24 December)
Bristol ADVENTures, a new arts project, will see jolly festive messages projected onto a new (surprise) building each day in December, with a trail of 24 locations complete by Christmas Eve. Light locations will be revealed at dusk on the Visit Bristol website!
Westonbirt’s Enchanted Christmas (4-21 December)
UPDATE: if you’re coming from Bristol (tier 3), you ARE still able to go to Westonbirt’s Enchanted Christmas (tier 2) – check their website for more details.
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 to discover the little-known ‘West Pole’ – Santa’s workshop in the West Country! 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 in the path, some of which are interactive – think fun stuff like bashing out beats on a drum kit to make the trees gleam.
As well as mesmerising light displays, expect natural Christmas crafts as well as a chance to meet the elves… and maybe even a glimpse of a very special guest from the North Pole…Festive treats don’t get much more magical than this!
Sudeley Castle Spectacle of Light (selected evenings 4-30 December)
One of the most beautiful Christmas light trails I’ve been to, Sudeley Castle’s Spectacle of Light is brimming with wow moments and sparkly thrills.
2020’s illuminations are inspired by a the magical characters of the Nutcracker, all set against the backdrop of 15th century castle ruins. Follow Clara on an enchanting wander through the dark as you piece together the story while exploring 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, who might be tooting 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.
Winter Wonderland at Wookey Hole Caves (5 December – 3 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.
Longleat Festival of Light (3 December 2020 – 10 Jan 2021)
This year, as a unique alternative to Longleat’s much-loved annual Festival of Light winter lantern spectacular, Longleat Estate presents the Land of Light – a magical world of interactive installations.
Seven themed areas will be illuminated across the Wiltshire estate with projections lighting up the mansion house, dancing fountains and spectacular animated light displays dancing across the shimmering historic grounds and ornate gardens.
Experience immersive choreographed lights, stroll through motion-detected splashes of colour and sound, and make your way through a sensory tunnel to a 360° infinity experience in The Longhouse, featuring fully mirrored walls and hundreds of diffracted laser beams in a floor-to-ceiling optical and aural experience.
Extra festive flavour comes from a winter safari (if you have all-in-one tickets), Santa’s storytelling den, festive food and drink huts and a Santa Train to meet Father Christmas himself.
Christmas at Stourhead (4 December – 3 Jan 2021)
Wander along the illuminated mile-long Christmas light trail to see the beautiful National Trust gardens at Stourhead 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.
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