If you love Christmas, then you’re sure to love indulging in a good festive light display, or getting into the spirit with a visit to Santa. In recent years, many gardens around the country have upped their festive game and are now putting on glorious displays of Christmas-themed lighting for the whole family to enjoy. Many of these continue beyond Christmas into January so they are the perfect place to visit between Christmas and New Year, when you need to get the family outside for some fresh air!
We’ve picked a small selection of some of our family favourites to give you some inspiration to get out and about this Christmas.
RHS Garden Wisley is beautiful all year round, but truly magical at Christmas time. You can enjoy a stroll along their Winter Walk, featuring stunning views of the Seven Acre Lake and admiring the stunning frost-kissed scenery. The venue’s main attraction is the Christmas Glow illuminations, promising to be bigger and brighter than ever. This year, it includes a Woodland Realm inside the Glasshouse, where the Wood Elves live, as well as gigantic ‘blooms’ lighting up the gardens and impressive light installations. You can also enjoy late night shopping and if you’ve still got room for a mince pie or two, head to the Glasshouse café for a glass of mulled wine and a tasty treat!
These peaceful Edwardian gardens just outside Cardiff will be hosting their O Christmas Tree Trail every day until 6 January 2019 (including 25 and 26 December). The trail takes in 12 alternative Christmas trees, which will combine to tell the story of Dyffryn gardens. Dyffryn is a National Trust property too so it’s always worth a stop in the café to test out the local produce on offer!
The Eden Project in Cornwall has a whole host of Christmas activities that run right through until 30 December. The Shadows and Light Christmas experience sees the famous biomes lit up in spectacular colours, whilst live music accompanies your visit. In addition, there will be Christmas Craft workshops running from 10.00am till 3.30pm on Boxing Day, then from 12pm till 5pm on 26 – 30 December. And if that isn’t enough, you can even try your hand at ice skating on the indoor ice rink, which will be at the Eden Project until 24 February 2019.
English Heritage property, Audley End, is a Jacobean manor house set in the beautiful Essex countryside. The accompanying gardens were designed by renowned landscape designer, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and, until 30 December, the gardens will be lit up by hundreds and hundreds of twinkling fairy lights. There will be plenty to see and do, with a family of singing trees, a 3D light installation and hands-on artwork, plus food and fairground stalls to keep the whole family entertained. Buy tickets early to avoid disappointment.
The world-famous Botanic Gardens are lighting up for Christmas too, with an outdoor trail that runs until 29 December, including the 70-metre long Cathedral of Light. The trail also features illuminated flowers, snowflakes, stars, reindeer and even gingerbread men! There are plenty of food and drink options along the route too – a firepit primed for marshmallow toasting is particularly popular!
Running until 2 January, the Christmas Carnival at Waddesdon really is a sight to behold! There’s a Woodland trail featuring panto-themed artwork by local school children, a magical light trail around the Aviary garden, a stunning light projection on the stables and a children’s trail around the beautifully decorated rooms in the manor house. The manor itself will also be lit-up, with a light display set to music.
At another National Trust property, the Christmas event at Dunham Massey in Cheshire, runs until 30 December. Over 100,000 pea lights create the stunning Tunnel of Light, whilst the winter trail features glowing icicles, multi-coloured globes and a scented Fire Garden. But the piece de resistance is the Water Fountain Finale, where water jets and beams of light dance in time to Christmas tunes! Watch the highlights of this gorgeous event here.
These are only a handful of our favourite outdoor Christmas attractions. Countless winter wonderlands await you across the UK! So wrap up warm and explore your local parks and gardens, making magical memories for the whole family. Have we missed your favourite Christmas display? Tell us all about it in the comments!