Monday, 10 December 2018

Christmas at Beaulieu

*My family and I were invited to experience the opening night of Christmas at Beaulieu. All opinions are my own.

It is December already so let the festivities begin! Although, this year I have (unusually for me) felt quite christmassy even in November. This is all due to our wonderful visit to the location of the Beaulieu estate and National Motor Museum, as this year, for the first time, Beaulieu offers a spectacular light trail that will delight you every step. Book your visit to Christmas at Beaulieu now to enjoy this experience yourself - it runs until Christmas Eve. 

Keep warm with a drink at the bar at Christmas at Beaulieu

Christmas at Beaulieu family fun on the traditional carousel

With the children snuggled up in warm hats and scarves, Christmas jumper and a Mother Christmas outfit, we began the trail - not before enjoying the carousel of course. The beginning of the trail has a bar, a burger stall, sweet shop and a hot chocolate station, to name a few stalls, so as you can imagine, it smells pretty divine! Within the trail itself, a Marshmallowist gourmet marshmallow stall can be found to further satisfy your sweet tooth, scenting the air with fireside treats.

Christmas at Beaulieu Cathedral of Light
Christmas at Beaulieu offers over 11 individual installations and one of them is the 200ft long Cathedral of Light with 30,000 bus lights.

First, you walk through an illuminated archway canopy, aptly named 'The Tunnel of Light" which felt very majestic and almost cathedral like. I felt like a bride walking up the aisle, especially with the classical music being played!
The one mile after-dark light trail continues to the scented fire garden within the grounds of the medieval abbey ruins. The flickering flames of the Christmas tree had us all captivated as the orange and red glow appeared to ignite the ancient 13th century abbey walls.

Christmas at Beaulieu Fire Garden abbey grounds
Beaulieu Abbey, in the grounds of the attraction, is the ideal setting for the Fire Garden - an atmospheric installation with over 180 flickering torches which will use as many as 5,132 individually hand-crafted candles by Christmas.

From there we bumped into a special visitor who was aboard Beaulieu's vintage red double decker bus and the children enjoyed a good rendition of "Jingle Bells".

Christmas at Beaulieu veteran bus

Following the veteran bus, you'll walk through a pathway adorned by green glowing christmas trees to discover a Lewis Carroll inspired fixture and a very special wishing tree from which you can hang your own wish. You'll walk beneath another canopy of tiny fairy lights, guarded by sentinel Nutcrackers, to be greeted by a brilliant light show to music highlighting the facade of the Montagu family home. This looked particularly spectacular with the full moon in view.

Christmas at Beaulieu Palace Performance
A musical installation set to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" will play over 2,200 times during the course of the event.

Larger than life, gleaming icicles lead you onwards, with white snowflake light displays beside you (which reminded our four year old son of fireworks). The Meadow of Light was probably one of our ultimate highlights of the Christmas at Beaulieu light trail - it certainly had our six year old daughter Lily transfixed. She even spotted a special guest in a tree! Count how many fibre-optic heads there are and watch them change from red to green, to blue and to white.

Fibre Optics Mill Pond Walk Christmas at Beaulieu
Thousands of fibre-optics light up the tree-lined Mill Pond Walk on the banks of the Beaulieu River.

As you wander beneath playful ribbons of colourful light, grand singing Christmas trees herald a festive finale to the trail, but it doesn't have to be the end. I would recommend a cup of hot chocolate before going round again!

The Christmas at Beaulieu light trail is very much a new creative venture and I certainly think it will pay off. I am excited to visit again and in the future.

The Fire Garden Christmas at Beaulieu

You can book your tickets now via the website: Under fives and carers go free but still require a ticket and if you want to visit the motor museum you will require a day ticket too.

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