We visited Stourhead over 10 years ago and will always remember it as among our favourite National Trust properties. So, when offered the chance to return, with the added bonus of beautiful Christmas illuminations, we jumped at the chance.
Stourhead occupies 2,650 acres of the Wiltshire countryside and includes a Palladian house, designed by Colen Campbell, and extensive grounds. For the first time, the National Trust have teamed up with events’ promoter and producer, Raymond Grubbay Ltd, to offer a spectacular illuminated trail for the festive period.
Continuing until 30th December, this atmospheric trail affords visitors a unique view of the already stunning Stourhead landscape. This is an experience everyone will enjoy, regardless of age. My wife and I adored it as much as the kids.
Parking must be reserved at the time of booking and is free for NT members. On the evening we visited, the extensive car parks were already pretty full. In fact, we started wondering if the trail would be so packed that we’d find ourselves roaming around amongst a large crowd. Thankfully, we needn’t have worried because the organisers had the foresight to produce timed tickets, resulting in visitors’ entry being staggered throughout the evening.
The trail is a mile long and takes about an hour, depending on how many times you stop to admire the myriad lighting displays. Believe me, you’ll be stopping a lot!
Actually, we had only just started our trip along the trail when we stopped to marvel at the singing trees whose trunks pulsated with colour in time to festive tunes. Soon after, we were strolling through the Tunnel of Light, an archway festooned in 100,000 pea-lights before reaching the glow of the Fire Garden.
At every twist and turn there was something unique to admire. My particular favourite was the Fibre Optic Lawn; mesmerised by its beauty, I found myself gazing at it for ages as the ever-changing colours of the flower-like lights rippled across the grass. Truly beautiful!
Stourhead’s stunning setting definitely enhances this illuminated display. The lake, meanwhile, simply provides the perfect mirror to reflect the surrounding colours, adding depth to the scene.
It really is a magical trail and it’s clear that much attention to detail has been invested. So, what better way to kick off the Christmas festivities. Highly recommended.
Address: Stourhead, Mere, Wilts. BA12 6SH
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