Weekend Wandering: Enchanted Christmas
Last weekend I had the good fortune to see Westonbirt's Enchanted Christmas thanks to a press pass 45 minutes ahead of the public's entry. After what seemed like weeks of rain and miserable grey weather, it felt good to be out in the crisp, fresh air. It was a perfect evening, albeit rather chilly - a great excuse for a sneaky hot chocolate afterwards!
It was the first time I'd visited the famous and award winning Christmas show, despite the Arboretum being a few miles away. The crowds I'd heard about had put me off, but seeing the show's trail is in the Old Arboretum and entry is staggered into various slots over the evening, there is actually plenty of room for everyone to have a good time.
We're starved of light at this time of the year, so a festive offering which shows off some of the Arboretum's most stately trees makes sense and is the perfect antidote to the winter blues. Some of the lights stay the same, but many change through a rainbow of colours if you take some time to stand and enjoy the show.
This is one of my favourite set pieces, and judging by the number of times I've seen it on social media, it's getting a huge thumbs up all round.
There is also some entertainment on the way round with this jolly tree welcoming everyone, and later on some singing trees.
There are interactive elements too. This is one of the tree spirits who freeze to the spot when you look at them. When your back is turned they sing spells and warn each other not to move when we're looking so they can't be seen 😉.
My favourite interactive element were the tree stumps which could be hit with sticks. This altered the lighting of the trees in front and made delightful ethereal sounds which reverberated along the path.
There are plenty of other surprises, both in terms of lighting effects and interactive elements, but I'm leaving those for your own discovery!
Mother nature also joined in with her own lighting scheme. I had the good fortune to bump into Johnny and Tom from SXS Events, a local company who've just taken on the delivery of the Enchanted Christmas event. Their enthusiasm for their work was infectious and they were keen to speak to everyone about what they liked and didn't like about the evening, so they can improve for next year.
I'll leave you with this final discovery, which was one of my favourites.
Enchanted Christmas is open from Friday to Sunday each weekend until December 22nd 2019. Entry is by ticket only from the Westonbirt events website, with a few slots still available. The trail takes around an hour and there is a small fair and refreshment stalls for you to enjoy either before or after your slot. I'd allow plenty of time for parking, or alternatively your ticket also gives you admission to the rest of the Arboretum during the day. Highly recommended.
NB there is a wait list operating for the "relaxed sessions" as tickets for these have sold out already. These are where the flashing lights, smoke effects and sounds are switched off for those needing a calmer experience.