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Seeing the lights is fast becoming a Christmas tradition

December 2019

Trees lit up for Christmas
The National Trust is putting on some
spectacular light displays for Christmas

A couple of centuries ago Christmas could be a drab affair.  The idea of lighting up homes and streets and even trees would have been greeted with total amazement.

It was really the Germans who started the tradition of Christmas lights. There, wealthier families started adding lit candles to their Christmas trees, often attached with melted wax. The idea spread to the UK, and then, when electricity was introduced, things really began to take off.

Today even the smallest villages often put on specially lit celebrations for Christmas, and increasingly major thoroughfares and locations are organising professional and truly spectacular Christmas lights.  Visiting these spectacular light displays are becoming a new much loved Christmas tradition right across the UK.

London of course has put on famous displays for many years, with the beautifully lit Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square and the famous dazzling displays in Oxford Street and Regent Street.  Covent Garden, Carnaby Street and many other areas are now also providing good competition with trees and light shows.

But right across the UK, from Mousehole in the far west of Cornwall (known for its imaginative Christmas lights including installations on the water) to Norwich (with its Tunnel of Light) and Lincoln (with its floodlit Cathedral) in the east and to all the major towns up to Edinburgh and beyond are all celebrating this time of year with spectacular light displays.

Other areas and organisations are also joining in and the National Trust is helping to lead the way. This year they have set up magnificent illuminations of buildings and lit up spectacular walkways at many locations across the UK

The National Trust’s Enchanted Felbrigg in North Norfolk offers something a little different with a creation  following the tale of the Green Man and Snow Queen for some festive magic. Complete with a story telling tent and food pantry, Enchanted Felbrigg is running on Friday, Saturday and Sunday 6. 7, 8, & 13, 14, 15 December 2019. Gates open at 3pm and last entry is at 6pm (the event closes at 7pm).

In the Midlands, the National Trust has introduced for the first time a spectacular light display at Belton in Lincolnshire.  Here they have put up over 100,000 pea lights together with traditional and laser lights to create a towering Tunnel of Light where tree canopies are drenched in season colour and dripping with light, frosty snowflakes together with a carpet of glowing flowers. A truly magical after dark trail that will enthral all ages. Running until December 30th.

Another first is a spectacular display at the National Trust’s Stourhead gardens in Wiltshire. This beautiful property has a one mile long circular light trail, with tree tops that glisten with colour and glowing blossom rising high into the night sky.  Twinkling hedgerows leads visitors on to a shimmering lawn lit with thousands of fibre optic lights, as well as a laser garden and fire pit for refreshments. Opening times and more details are available at:

At Dyffryn Gardens in Glamorgan, the brand new illuminated Christmas garden trail includes new style decorations that help tell the history of the gardens.

You can find out about all the National Trust’s Christmas displays at

Parks and gardens across the UK are also introducing their own new and exciting Christmas light events. Scotland’s Dalkeith Country Park has put on what they describe as a visual extravaganza of light to accompany a walk through stunning woodland and gardens, across the river and even up into sky-high walkways

Another specialist event is the Enchanted Christmas wonderland at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire

Wherever you live, there should be a lovely Christmas light event happening within reach and for many, a trip to see the lights is becoming a permanent Christmas tradition. How surprised the Victorian’s would have been if they could see how we have moved forward from those few flickering lights on a Christmas tree!

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