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10 lovely light trails in Kent and beyond

You glow, girl! At least, you will at one of these fabulously festive light trails to visit in Kent and beyond. Scarf on, boots strapped: let's admire some twinkling.

Christmas at Bedgebury, Goudhurst, until 3 Jan 

Visit Bedgebury Pinetum at night to experience Christmas at Bedgebury, a magical spectacle of light. We’re talking singing trees saturated in colour-changing lights, giant baubles and snowflakes – and of course you won’t wanna miss the breath-taking tunnel of light. There’ll also be a special appearance from the big man himself. This event sells out early every year but there are a handful of tickets left so be quick!

Christmas at Hever Castle, until 3 Jan 

There’s plenty of Christmas magic at Hever Castle this year, with a fairground, Santa’s Grotto, and a visit from the huskies (weekends 12-8pm until 24 Dec). If you’re up for a longer stomp, try Hever’s after-dark Christmas Light Trail which takes approx 1.5 hours to see the Castle’s much-loved landmarks lit up in glorious colours. Starting from 4pm, wrap up warm, enjoy a walk under the stars and witness the enchantment of the Castle, gardens and lake festooned with fabulous colours and twinkling lights. 

Christmas Lights, Canterbury

Want to feel festive but not keen on a kiddie light trail? Why not kickstart your Chrimbo shopping in stunning Canterbury, where historic cobbled streets meet with indie shopping heaven. And this year the town centre will be shining brightly with 5 miles of lights designed to complement and enhance this historic city and make your visit even more magical. Plus there’s a fabulous Christmas Market complete with mulled wine stall.

Leonardslee Illuminated, Horsham, Sussex, 25 Nov – 22 Dec

With a brand new route for 2021, the grounds of Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens will come to life with spellbinding illuminations, large scale projections, music, fairground rides and theatrical performances. The trail takes 60 – 90 minutes to compete (depending on how many times you stop to take a snap en route), with seasonal refreshments at both ends, plus a Christmas Market. 

Light up Trails, Cowdray Estate, Midhurst, Sussex, 24 Nov – 1 Jan

The light display at this stunning historic country estate in the South Downs National Park is inspired by ‘Joy’ this year with works created by a select band of international artists peppered around the grounds. There’ll also be a festive show, the chance to watch a Tudor Christmas come to life on the ruins, street food to munch and a pop-up restaurant in the Walled Garden. 

Glow Wild, Wakehurst, selected evenings, Sussex, 25 Nov – 2 Jan

Including the UK’s largest natural screen and the tallest living Christmas tree adorned with 1,800 lights. New for 2021, don’t miss Brighton-based light artists, Ithaca, who will transform the Walled Garden into a tranquil twilight trail illuminated by dazzling glow-worms.

Glow 2021, RHS Wisley, Woking, Surrey

See the garden come alive at night with fantastical illuminations to light your way on Wisley’s enchanting festive trail. This year, the garden will glow even brighter with more lights, fire candles and fountain displays, as well as the return of a spectacular horticultural display inside the Glasshouse. It’s on from Fri 19 Nov until 4 Jan, and all tickets must be booked in advance.

CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY

Christmas at Kew, Kew Gardens, Richmond, London

Christmas at Kew Gardens.
Christmas at Kew. Photo credit Jeff Eden

Returning for its ninth year, Kew Garden’s winter trail is back lighting up the night skies with sparkling tunnels of light, dancing waterside reflections and trees drenched in jewel-like colour as well as the panoramic Palm House light display. It’s on from Wed 17 to Sun 9 Jan, 4pm-10pm. Its timed entry and capacity is limited, so advance booking is essential.

Palace of Stardust, Hampton Court, London

Enter a whimsical world of planets and stars on an enchanting new light trail at Hampton Court Palace this winter. The trail winds through the palace’s formal gardens, where you’ll find a fantastical wonderland of clocks, moons, planets and sundials. It’s on from Wed 8 Dec until 3 Jan from 4pm-8pm.

Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, London, 26 Nov – 9 Jan

New this year, the sweeping grounds of this neoclassical stately home (which you may recall from the end of Notting Hill) are to be decked out with a magnificent, glowing path. It’s set to be a multi-sensory experience, and there’s even a VIP terrace bar for festive cocktails after. 

Lightopia Festival, Crystal Palace Park, London

This year Lightopia moves to Crystal Palace Park in south-east London. The award-winning lantern and light festival is a visual spectacular with interactive exhibits, immersive light installations and a magical illuminated trail. It’s on from Fri 19 Nov until 2 Jan.

Want more festive fun? Check out our round-up of the best ice rinks for 2021.

Find more ideas here

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