Our PR Manager Holly was invited to Longleat’s Festival of Light where unicorns and fairies have joined the Safari’s resident lions, monkeys and giraffes. Read on to find out what she thought of this year’s festival theme of Myths and Legends… 

Land of the Gods at Longleat Festival of Light

I was lucky enough to be invited to Longleat’s Festival of Light last weekend. I haven’t had the opportunity of attending this beautiful event before, which is why I jumped at the chance to go during it’s opening weekend. 

The Festival of Light at Longleat runs from 9 November 2019 to 5 January 2020 and encompasses a large part of the Longleat grounds that are open to the public. This is very popular event so advanced booking is recommended. Buy Festival of Light tickets.

To make the most of the day I would recommend booking a day ticket and visiting Longleat House which this year is marking its 70th anniversary of being open to the public, and has been seasonally dressed for Christmas. I don’t think any trip to Longleat would be complete without visiting the Safari Park but during the Festival of Light and when I attended, the last entry to the Safari was at 2pm before the animals were put to bed. Other ticket types are available including a Lantern Lates Ticket, for those that only want to see the lantern installations in the evening. 

Before you set-off, The Chameleon Tree Restaurant and Coffee House located near the entrance, offers hearty meals for an early dinner to fill your belly before the lights come on at around 4.30pm – but this is dependent on when the sun goes down. There are also a number of sweet treat concessions conveniently placed near the entrance, including a hot chocolate and waffle stand which is a warming treat before you embark on your journey through the lantern installations. 

Light installations at the Longleat Festival of Light 2019

This year’s theme of Myths and Legends transports you into a world of rainbows, fairies and unicorns, brought to life with music. Adjacent to Longleat House you can explore the Land of the Gods, where you can meander through stories of Greek Gods such as Zeus, Poseidon and Aphrodite, as well as the Underworld, which explores the darker stories of Hades and mythical monsters that look very impressive amongst the night’s sky. 

At every turn there is something more to see. The lanterns, which are beautifully crafted, make you feel like you’re in a Hollywood movie set and just when you think you’re done you stumble upon another world full of imagination. 

As well as mythical creatures there are plenty of traditional festive attractions to enjoy, such as the Santa Train which takes you on a tour through Longleat, past the Half-Mile Lake before you disembark at the North Pole Halt where children have the chance to meet Santa. Tickets for the Santa Train can be booked in advance online. 

Santa Train at Longleat Fesitval of Light

The star of the show is most definitely the 50ft giant Christmas tree based at the heart of Longleat and can be seen from across the park. The tree comes to life at scheduled times throughout the event with the use of projections and snow machines. Projections are also displayed on the front of Longleat House which looks truly looks magnificent, especially as your drive down the long driveway to the House.

I really can’t explain how wonderful this event is and what a great place it is to make memories with your family and friends. The changing themes means that even if you’ve been to the festival before, there is something new to see. Do dress warm though, it gets a bit chilly at night. 

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