The south coast town of Bournemouth really knows how to put on a show. The festive period isn’t just celebrated in this fine Dorset resort, it’s transformed into a magical, mystical and memorable period – and this year’s no exception thanks to the Christmas Tree Wonderland, which runs until 2nd January 2019.
This stunning spectacle lights up the resort’s historic, Grade II-listed gardens with over 100 dazzling Christmas trees from around the world. From the big wheel standing on the award-winning sea front, a trail begins which weaves its way through a canopy of lights, cascading illuminations and the Bournemouth Wonderland Tree. Reaching 60 feet into the air, it’s as tall as Gateshead’s Angel of the North and, without doubt, the highlight of this festive treat.
But the illuminations and decorations don’t end there because they extend into the main commercial districts and out to neighbouring towns of Boscombe, Southbourne and Westbourne.
Other attractions in Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens during the Christmas period include the popular outdoor ice-skating rink while the Alpine market cabins and the “Lodge” return to the town centre.
Although we’d visited Bournemouth for a few days in October, we had to return when we heard about Christmas Tree Wonderland – and I’m glad we did because it was wonderful and so atmospheric walking through the park admiring the various attractions, with the pretty pink Warsaw Tree, Seattle Tree and Bethlehem Tree among our favourites.
To help make the most of the event, we picked up a map from Tourist Information and began walking along the trail from Pier Approach where a pair of Santas are spotted clinging precariously to the beautifully lit Wheel with the huge Moscow Tree nearby providing a taste of the delights to come.
Heading down into Lower Gardens, look out for the giant gingerbread men and the cascading lights seemingly tumbling down over the rockery. After strolling along the illuminated Pine Tree Walk, your kids will even get chance to pop-in to see Santa and pass on their list!
This is truly a magical experience for young and old alike and not to be missed in the lead up or during the Christmas period.
To make your visit easier, there is free Thursday evening and all-day Sunday parking in selected town car parks. See the Christmas Tree Wonderland website for more details.
Where to Eat
After strolling along the trail, what better way to round off the evening than with a delicious meal? Ask Italian is ideal. Conveniently situated in the new BH2 leisure centre, overlooking the gardens, it’s the perfect place to warm up after your walk. The menu is varied and caters for vegans, vegetarians and gluten-free diets – plus there’s a dedicated kids’ menu.
Where to Stay
The conveniently located Collingwood Hotel is ideal for visiting Christmas Tree Wonderland, being just a few minutes away from the sea front and town centre. We’ve stayed at the hotel before and love it – the staff are so friendly. Plus, there is plenty of free on-site parking.
The hotel has been beautifully decorated for the festive period with Christmas lights set to rival the trail itself!
(For more information on the hotel, check out the separate review on this site)
www.hotelcollingwood.co.uk, tel: 01202 557575
www.askitalian.co.uk, tel: 01202 295583
[Reviewed: November 2018]