It’s not long until Saint Nick dons his finest furs, and Christmas arrives, so of course Bristol and the wider areas are just itching to put on a show. A sparkling array of Christmas light display events will burst into colour this festive season, and luckily this year should be better than the last one. Numerous places are pulling out all of the stops with some magnificent illuminations for you to tour round, including some in the city and others no around an hour away by car. Check out our pick of the best and most dazzling Christmas light events taking place near Bristol this winter that will provide you with a sweet hit of festive cheer.
Walk through the beautiful grounds of Ashton Court Estate this winter and enjoy the wonder of Light Up. This stunning illuminated walking experience in the heart of Bristol will be open to the public from November 19 to December 24. Indulge in a range of festive food and drink located in the courtyard from a range of vendors at this light event after wandering through this 45-minute trail. With something for everyone, stroll through the gardens within the estate with a warm mulled wine or hot chocolate in hand and your closest family and friends by your side.
Drive time from central Bristol: 14 minutes
Discover the trees of Westonbirt Arboretum in a whole new light along their Enchanted Christmas illuminated trail from November 26 to December 21. As you journey through Westonbirt’s trees, you’ll experience stunning light displays and spectacles along the way as you help Father Christmas reunite with his lost reindeer. The trail is also fully accessible for wheelchairs, mobility scooters, prams and push chairs. This light trail isn’t just for little ones as you can arrive up to 30 minutes before your trail time slot to soak up some seasonal cheer in the pre-trail Christmas Village. There is also a post-trail Christmas Village for you to pick up some refreshments after your adventure around the illuminations. Both villages will have festive food and drink stalls, as well as traditional fairground rides at each one.
Drive time from central Bristol: 37 minutes
Christmas at Stourhead, is one of the most spectacular Christmas light events and the magical mile-long after-dark trail will once again light up the magnificent National Trust gardens at Stourhead. Enter a world full of seasonal cheer enhanced by a soundtrack of festive classics, as you wander beneath unique tree canopies drenched in Christmassy colours. Discover sparkling tunnels of light, dancing lakeside reflections and trees drenched in jewel-like colour. For a moment of reflection, pause at mesmerising flickering flames in the fire garden, larger-than-life illuminations and don’t forget to glimpse Father Christmas along the way.
Drive time from central Bristol: 70 minutes
Stourhead, Mere, Wiltshire, BA12 6SH
Running from November 6 to January 3, Christmas at Longleat features thousands of spectacular light sources, illuminating multiple areas across the Wiltshire estate. You can see sensational projections light up the iconic Longleat House, dancing fountains and animated light displays across the ornate grounds and gardens, Half Mile Lake and The Longhouse. There will be lots of festive fun at Longleat, including Enchanted Christmas Tree shows, exciting elf cabaret performances, winter safari drive-throughs and, of course, their Flight Before Christmas shows, where you’ll be able to see some beautiful owls take flight during a special storytelling experience.
Drive time from central Bristol: 60 minutes
Longleat, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 7NW
The Spectacle of Light will return to Sudeley Castle & Gardens for its sixth year this winter, and Bristolians can also join the the magical after-dark experience. From November 26 to December 30, you can follow the new illuminated trail around the beautiful castle grounds with wonderful music in the background. There will be sparkling water features, a flickering field of fire, light beams, lanterns, music and more at their Christmas light events this year. As the nights are drawing in, sip on some winter warming drinks like spiced mulled wine and sprinkled hot chocolate as you wonder the magical trail. You can also tuck into hot food to take away, as well as delicious donuts from the Castle Terrace.
Drive time from central Bristol: 60 minutes
Sudeley Castle & Gardens, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, GL54 5JD
Established for over 15 years, Wookey Hole’s Winter Wonderland will have you feeling festive in the biggest underground cave light spectacular. Experience the magnificent caves illuminated with Christmas characters on your magical tour from November 20 to January 2. Wander through the magnificent grotto in this cave in Wells and be greeted by the elves before meeting the man himself that is Father Christmas. There will also be a Christmas circus show featuring glitzy performers taking to the stage, as well as a 4D cinema showing the animated winter classic, ‘Happy Feet’.
Drive time from central Bristol: 48 minutes
Wookey Hole Caves, The Mill, Wookey Hole, Wells, BA5 1BB
Another enchanting trail of illuminations to visit this festive season is the Enchanted Garden of Light at the American Museum & Gardens from December 9-31. Be transported into a magical after-dark adventure through amazing light displays which will emblazon the entire house, gardens and woodland in glorious seasonal colour. Find sparkling reindeer which will guide your way as you enter the mesmerising tunnels of light and are then greeted with the delightful sights of the most wonderful season of all. And if the lights aren’t enough to enchant you, there will be a banquet of delicious treats from homemade mince pies and roasted chestnuts to mouth-watering hotdogs and gourmet burgers for you to feast on.
Drive time from central Bristol: 53 minutes
The American Museum & Gardens, Claverton Manor, Bath, BA2 7BD