12 of the best UK Christmas light trails from Alton Towers to Kew Gardens

With under 50 days to go, it’s time to start thinking about planning proper Christmassy activities once again.

Great for everything from date night to a wholesome evening out with the kids, Christmas light trails are a festive favourite for a reason.

If you’re looking for places to try, here are some of the UK’s best Christmas light trails you’ll want to brave the cold for.

Kew Gardens, London

Going to Kew Gardens at Christmas is a festive favourite for a reason.

Promising, ‘sparkling tunnels of light, dancing waterside reflections, and trees drenched in jewel-like colour’ there will also be plenty of ‘larger than life illuminations’ to see on your way.

The little ones can also stop in and say hi to Santa, and there’s street food to sample on the way.

On from: Wednesday 17 November – Sunday 9 January

Ticket cost: Off-peak – £21.50, peak – £26.50

Book here.

Christmas at Killerton, Exeter

Guests will walk under giant baubles, through bright tunnels covered in lights and by flames in the fire garden.

You’ll also have to look out for Father Christmas while you’re walking…

On from: 26 November 2021 to 2 January (except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day)

Tickets cost: Adults from £18

Book here.

Christmas at Bute Park, Cardiff

Christmas at Bute Park promises to deliver ‘the biggest festive light trail Wales has ever seen’, which sounds pretty impressive to be honest.

Attendees will enjoy 1.4km comprising a fire garden, a ‘sea of light’ installation, street food and drink, and, of course, lots and lots of lights.

On from: 25 November – 31 December

Ticket cost: Adults (16+) – £18

Book here.

Christmas at the Botanic, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Like the sound of tunnels of light, trees covered in bright colours and ‘dancing waterside reflections’? Then check out Christmas at the Botanic this year.

In addition to street food and drink stalls, attendees are invited to toast marshmallows over fire pits.

On from: 25 November – 2 January

Advance ticket cost: Adult – £20

Book here.

Lightopia Seasonal Wonderland, Alton Towers

Alton Towers’ Lightopia spans 2km, promising to be ‘Europe’s longest light & lantern trail’.

You’ll get to feast your eyes on light installations, lanterns, and ‘colour transformations’ meant to collectively represent the four seasons.

On from: 27 November – 2nd January

Tickets cost: From £20

Book here.

Lightopia Crystal Palace, London

Another Lightopia event, this award-winning show has interactive displays, lanterns, lasers and watershows.

Even the park’s iconic dinosaurs will be given new life thanks to the lights.

On from: 19 November – 2 January

Tickets cost: From £19.50 off-peak

Book here.

Enchanted Winter Garden, Antrim Castle Gardens, Northern Ireland

Attendees will get to enjoy illuminations, a marshmallow fire pit, and food stalls as well as the return of the Big Wheel and The Wonderland Wood.

There will also be ‘An Evening of Inclusive Enchantment’ on 1 and 8 December, which will be designed with adults and children who are sensitive to noise, lights and crowds in mind.

On from: 27 November – 21 December

Tickets cost: Adult – £6

Book here.

Luminate Wales, Margam Country Park,
South Wales

This light show, returning after a sell-out debut year in 2019, takes guests through the historic gardens of Margam Country Park and Castle.

Coming in at a mile long, this year’s trail includes highlights from 2019 and new designs to wow those returning.

On from: 18 November 2021 – 24 December

Ticket cost: Adults £15-£17

Book here.

Even though Santa is isolating this year, Thursford’s light trail offering sounds great, with light-up penguins, polar bears and giant teddy bears.

You’ll see busy elves loading Santa’s sleigh, as well as an underwater world, the wilderness of the North Pole and mushroom gnomes, who are apparently very cheeky.

On from: 19 November – 23 December

Tickets cost: Adults and children starting at £16

Book here.

Winterfest – Reunited in Light, Wembley Park, London

After taking a year off last year, this year’s Winterfest theme is very post-lockdown relevant, and the ‘big switch on’ on 25 November will no-doubt be worth a look in.

The Christmas trail portion of the park sees the return of the 25ft LED Christmas tree decked out with an impressive 100,000 lights.

On from: 25 November – 04 January

Tickets cost: Free

Christmas at Kenwood, London

Bordering Hampstead Heath, the Kenwood House gardens are set to be transformed into a ‘dazzling winder wonderland’ this year.

Attendees will enjoy a range of different displays involving sound, fire and, of course, light.

On from: 26 November – January 9

Tickets cost: Adults – £24.75 (peak), £21.50 (off-peak)

Book here.

Christmas at Gibside, Newcastle upon Tyne

Similar to Christmas at Killerton, Gibside is another National Trust property set to be decked out in more lights than anyone could ever hope to count.

Not only should you also look out for Santa here (he’s tricky like that) you can also enjoy winter warmers and toasted marshmallows on your trip down the trail.

On from: 26 November – 2 January

Tickets cost: Adults from £18

Book here.

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