What is Christmas all about? Family, of course, then presents and food. But it’s also about that magical sensation you get seeing houses and streets transform into twinkly and dazzling explosions of colour and light. That feeling and more are contained in Christmas light trails – endless gleaming lights that just scream: festivities. So to put you in the festive spirit, here are some of the most magical Christmas light trails you can find near Bristol.
1. Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum
If the changing of the seasons wasn’t magical enough of a reason to visit The National Arboretum this winter, then Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt should be more than enough. Home to thousands of species of trees, watch them come to illuminated life this festive season. With sparkling lights, festive sounds, and mesmerising installations, it’s one of the easiest Christmas light trails to visit from Bristol. Turn up every Friday and Saturday, November 24 to December 23, to Westonirt’s enchanting trees.
Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Tetbury GL8 8QS
2. The Festival of Light
Longleat’s annual lantern festival is back from November 11 to January 7, with more life-sized lanterns than ever before. This year, The Festival of Light invites you to step through the wardrobe into Narnia, where you can discover a world of illuminated characters from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Alongside meeting the likes of Aslan and the White Witch, you’ll also visit the worlds of Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz, and other treasured Children’s tales.
Elsewhere at Longleat this Christmas, you visit Britain’s biggest singing Christmas tree with over 88,000 twinkling lights; see a phenomenal light show at Longleat House; and hop on the Santa Train to the North Pole, where Father Christmas is waiting in his grotto. To learn more about The Festival of Light head here.
Longleat, Warminster BA12 7NW
3. Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park
Reach out and interact with this stunning Christmas light trail near Bristol. Avon Valley Park is teaming up with an award-winning event lighting specialist to illuminate Christmas with stunning light installations and creatively lit-up play areas for kids. Weaving around the park, the light trail intermingles with the backdrop of the lake and trees. From December 1 to 31, you can also ride the miniature festive railway, knock on the Grinch’s door and explore the animatronic Dinosaur Valley at night!
Pixash Ln, Bath Rd, Keynsham, Bristol BS31 1TP
4. Festive Illuminations At Old Down
We simply can’t wait for the return of the Festive Illumination Trail at Old Down Estate when this sensory experience will light up the country park. New this year, an after-dark event will feature a starry night trail to guide you around Old Down Estate, filled with music, colour and interactive areas along the way. On Monday evenings, you’ll find ‘Sensitive Sessions’ featuring reduced noise and less capacity. The Festive Illumination Trail runs from November 26 to December 24.
Foxholes Lane, Tockington, Bristol BS32 4PG
5. Wookey Hole Winter Wonderland
Head down into the caves of Wookey Hole this Christmas where over 100,000 lights magically illuminate the way. And because it’s always dark underground, this Christmas light trail is available all throughout the day – meaning your little ones don’t have to stay up past their bedtime!
Also at Wookey Hole this festive period, you can meet Santa at his North Pole Grotto, where every child takes home a present from the Toy Shop. You’ll also get to watch a spectacular Christmas-themed circus show, performed in the Wookey Hole Theatre. Visit Winter Wonderland at Wookey Hole between November 25 and January 1.
Wookey Hole, BA5 1BA
6. Spectacle of Light
Sudeley Castle’s new illuminated trail (November 24 – December 30) leads around the castle grounds this Christmas, where you can meet all your favourite characters from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Follow Dorothy, Toto, Tinman, Scarecrow and Lion on their way to the Emerald City – and avoid the Wicked Witch! From the light wave on the Mulberry Lawn to the flickering fire flowers of the Queen’s garden, there’s so much to discover. Sip on mulled wine and hot chocolate as you make your way around, and tuck into doughnuts afterwards.
Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Cheltenham GL54 5JD
7. Christmas at Stourhead
The Wiltshire estate, Stourhead, has everything from sparkling tunnels to giant baubles and glistening trees this festive season. Lit up with festive illuminations, the Christmas light trail will run from December 1 to 31. It’ll take around 90 minutes to wander around this world-famous National Trust site, but prepare to be dazzled the entire way.
Stourhead, Stourton, Warminster BA12 6QD
8. Christmas Illuminations at The Bishop’s Palace
By far one of the shortest running Christmas light trails near Bristol, so don’t hesitate to book if you want to visit. Running on select dates between December 2 to 21, these popular Christmas Illuminations are only available during special late openings. Wander around the beautifully lit inner gardens of The Bishop’s Palace, where a stunning display of festive lights and decorations awaits.
The Bishop’s Palace, Wells BA5 2PD