Prepare to be dazzled – the UK’s best Christmas light trails 2023


May your night be merry and bright (Picture: Eric Aydin-Barberini)

Christmas light trails are one of the sparkly new joys of the festive period.

And why wouldn’t they be?

Sparkling tunnels of fairy lights, trees bathed in jewel like colour, historic gardens transformed into real winter wonderlands and the brightest steam train you’ll have ever seen.

We’ve picked out some of this year’s most enchanting offerings…

Dunham Massey


Follow the sparkling bulbs on a trail through the gardens and grounds (Picture: Luke Dyson)

Christmas at Dunham Massey is back for a seventh year.

Look out for tunnels of fairy lights, installations designed to reflect in the surface of the lake, and trees bathed in thousands of baubles as you follow tiny, sparkling bulbs on a trail through the gardens and grounds of the National Trust property.

Food and drink can be found at the beginning and end of the trail, 
with refreshments at the midway point, too.

Until Dec 31, Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Greater Manchester.

Bedgebury National Pinetum

Christmas at Bedgebury (Picture: Luke Dyson)

Few places could be more perfect for a Christmas walk than Bedgebury, home of the National Pinetum – one of the world’s largest collections of specimen conifers.

This month its trees are brought to life in full colour, with softly lit doves balanced on branches, sparkling tunnels of light and trees lit up with the colours of the rainbow for Liquid Sky.

Until Dec 31, Bedgebury National Pinetum, Goudhurst, Kent.

Helmingham Hall


The Illuminated Garden Trail at Helmingham Hall

The Illuminated Garden Trail at Helmingham Hall shines with thousands of lights, transforming the gardens into an enchanted winter wonderland.

Along the trail cross Helmingham’s drawbridge – pulled up every night since 1510 – and warm up with free mulled 
wine within the 500-year-old courtyard. Well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome.

Until Dec 17, Stowmarket, Suffolk

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace Illuminated Light Trail

More than 20,000 moving lights shine brightly in Blenheim Palace Illuminated Light Trail’s Instagram-ready gardens.

Wander through heart-shaped arches and shimmering tunnels of light, marvel at dancing lakeside reflections, and see trees drenched in jewel-like colour.

While you’re there, you may want to book tickets for The Story Of Sleeping Beauty (pictured), in which the grand state rooms are transformed into a fairy-tale land. There’s also a Christmas market in the Great Court until December 17.

Until Jan 1, 2024, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.

Liverpool Cathedral

The Light Before Christmas: The Manger (Picture: Luxmuralis)

The perfect choice if you’d rather stay indoors, The Light Before Christmas: The Manger is set within the magnificent gothic interior of Britain’s largest cathedral.

After last year’s event sold out, artistic collaboration Luxmuralis – sculptor Peter Walker and composer David Harper – are back with an immersive experience to take visitors on a spiritual journey through the Nativity story.

Today, Liverpool Cathedral.

Leeds Castle

The Christmas Lights at Leeds Castle

Back for its second year, the Christmas Lights at Leeds Castle trail has sparkling chandeliers delicately suspended in the trees, 
a laser garden filled with tiny beams of light, and a path of twinkling mirrored hearts.

Make a day of it and add tickets to see A Narnia Christmas, bringing the story of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe to life.

Until Dec 31, Leeds Castle, Kent.

Christmas Train Of Lights

The Christmas Train Of Lights

It’s all aboard for the UK’s first illuminated steam train. The Christmas Train Of Lights starts at Queen’s Park station in Paignton where vintage carriages await, each painstakingly decorated with thousands of lights, inside and out.

From there, it’s on to Churston station, where the show really begins, including the 450m Greenway tunnel, which leads to 
the enchanted forest and its spectacular lights; and on to Dartmouth, where the festive displays are reflected on the 
river Dart.

Until Dec 30, Paignton, Devon.

Belton House


Christmas at Belton (Picture: Andrew Ogilvy Photography)

A magical, after-dark illuminated trail has been created by Sony Music in partnership with the National Trust.

The modern sits alongside traditional favourites – generations of the Brownlow family worked with the finest designers of their age to create everything on the site.

New additions include a jolly flock of glittering robins and rainbow-coloured trees.

Until Dec 31, Grantham, Lincolnshire, nationaltrust.org.uk

Royal Botanic Garden

Christmas At The Botanics (Picture: Phil Wilkinson / Christmas at the Botanics)

A highlight of Scotland’s seasonal calendar, Christmas At The Botanics is just the thing for those with green fingers, and is an important fundraiser for the award-winning gardens.

It’s a perfect family evening out, too, with a glimpse of Father Christmas along the way, and Inverleith House projections with a botanical theme filled with all the colours of the rainbow.

Until Dec 30, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.

Kew Gardens


Christmas At Kew (Picture: Kew Gardens)

Follow a trail through glittering tunnels of light, dancing lakeside reflections and trees bathed in jewel-like colour as Christmas At Kew returns.

It’s a botanical paradise brimming with seasonal cheer as twinkling lights and seasonal sounds fill the air.

Don’t miss Father Christmas along the way, and take the chance to refuel with independent street-food vendors making festive fare including spiced winter warmers and hot chocolate.

Tickets are for timed entry via Victoria Gate, Brentford Gate and Elizabeth Gate.

Until Jan 7, 2024, Kew Gardens, London.


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