The Festival of Light at Longleat: an experience you won't forget
PUBLISHED: 10:29 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:32 31 October 2019
Are you ready for a dazzling journey through thousands of incredible life-size lanterns? 'Longleat's Festival of Light' is set to bring a Christmas glow to the Wiltshire countryside and an unmissable experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Kevin Ashley, Brand and Campaigns Marketing Manager at Longleat, told us about what's new this year, the theme and a few of the amazing lanterns you can expect to find on your journey around the park.
Show-stopping lanterns light up Longleat
This year's theme, 'Myths and Legends', draws inspiration from epic stories from around the world; from the gods and magical beings of ancient Greece, to heroic tales of British folklore.
Kevin said: "This year's 'Festival of Light' includes more than 3,000 lanterns, crafted using 50,000 LED lights and 30,000 metres of silk. Among the legendary figures are St George slaying the mighty dragon, the trickster spider god Anansi, Atlas and King Midas with his golden touch."
This year the Festival of Light takes place from November 9 to January 5 2020. The Main Square at Longleat will be dominated by a huge Tree of Life and there's also a life-size recreation of a palace from the Arabian Nights, alongside dozens of other spectacular, brightly-coloured, illuminated tableaux spread across 30 acres of grounds.
Festive light shows will be projected on to the front of the house for the very first time as part of a stunning new feature, and visitors will be able to paint their very own lanterns using special light projections.
Kevin said: "Visitors can immerse themselves in the magic of storytelling with the 'Flight Before Christmas' - a unique festive experience featuring real flying owls, plus enjoy all of our popular animal and adventure attractions, including the Safari Drive-through, Jungle Kingdom, Koala Creek, Jungle Cruise, Adventure Castle and Longleat Hedge Maze."
As part of the festive event, on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day there will be spectacular firework displays lighting up the evening sky.
All aboard the Santa Train
Why not make this festive season extra magical for the kids with a journey on Longleat's Santa Train? It runs daily on Festival of Light opening dates through to December 29. A valid Festival of Light ticket or annual pass is required to book the Santa Train and you will need to arrive at Longleat Railway (in Main Square) at least 15 minutes before your booked train is due to depart. Pre-booking is essential.
Kevin said: "The Santa Train will take you past the stunning Half Mile Lake and to North Pole Halt; an enchanting snow-covered winter wonderland. After that you'll visit Father Christmas in his grotto, and if your little ones have been good this year his elves may even have a gift waiting for them."
Visit furry, feathery and scaly friends
It's getting a little chilly but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy Longleat's world famous Safari Drive-through. The winter safari is included with a Festival of Light day ticket or annual pass. Last entry is at 2pm and Longleat recommends that you allow at least three hours for the safari as there are a lot of animals and wildlife to enjoy.
Kevin said: "Lots of our animals will still be out and about. Our lions and tigers, who are partial to a catnap in the sunshine are often much more active in the cooler weather."
Ready to book?
Kevin told us: "As well as day tickets, we have 'Lantern Late' tickets available on November 14, 21 and 28 from 4pm onwards, and 'Twilight' tickets available on selected dates for arrival from 2pm onwards.
"We're expecting this year's Festival of Light to be extremely popular so advanced booking online is essential. Tickets may sell out, and if they do, walk-up tickets unfortunately won't be available for purchase on the gate. Don't miss out!"