Last week Emma and I had the pleasure of taking a trip across time and space at Longleat’s Festival of Light.
The annual chinese lantern display is a true marvel to behold and the trail was so much bigger than I imagined.
The Longleat Festival of Light
Taking place each Christmas as part of Longleat’s winter season, this year’s theme was ‘A Fantastic Voyage’. The Longleat Festival of Light trail takes you on a fantastical journey alongside Harry, Bea and Monty the terrier, who have found a magical telescope that sends them through time and space.
Together we’re whisked around the world, visiting different eras and places as well as fantastical realms and historical sights.
Our journey began back in the Cretaceous period, with a dinosaur display that had every young wannabe paleontologist we saw stop in awe. But stepping under the open jaws of the T-Rex we were then whisked away to ancient Egypt and some of the most impressive of lanterns – the Sphynx and even a pyramid!
The intrepid explorers came in to land alongside camels in one of the many interactive displays, and then we walked amongst Egyptian gods like Nut and Thoth before entering a new ‘winter wonderland’.
Here the Longleat Flyer steam train greeted our arrival to the Arctic, with its crisp white snow and friendly inuits. In each new area I loved the little signs that brought the story to life. It was like we were walking through a bedtime story brought to life. I can see how why this event is so beloved by families!
But when we reached the formal gardens, we discovered that they’d been replaced with a wild jungle instead! This was one of my favourite areas, Thanks to its giant snakes and big cats.
Vivid colours and creepy sound effects made we want to avoid the giant (literally!) stick insect, but then suddenly we’d be sent to outer space with spinning planets rocketships and shy aliens.
The next stop on our magic mystery tour was back down on Earth, as we wandered through beautiful India and Japan. This was Emma’s favourite area, as she loved the cute trees overflowing with cherry blossom.
The main trail came to an end with a trip to Papa New Guinea before arriving at a giant Christmas tree of lights, which we discovered puts on a magical music and light display several times an evening.
It’s a bit cheesy, but no more so that the spectacular Christmas-y show at Gardens by the Bay I saw in Singapore a few years back. Even so, you can’t help but feel festive when the music starts and the families around you start dancing to ‘Rocking around the Christmas Tree’!
But there was still more to come! Lanterns displays were all around, including a colour-changing chameleon and my absolutely favourite area – the underwater realm.
As I wandered through the area I couldn’t help but hum ‘Under the Sea’ from Disney’s Little Mermaid! I loved the colourful tropical fish, the jellyfish lights floating in the trees and the giant eel. An epic finale to an epic event!
The Festival of Light at Longleat runs until January 6th. Find out more at https://www.longleat.co.uk/festival-of-light.