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Watch the world-famous Wiltshire Christmas Festival of Lights

Posted on 21st November 2016

If there’s one thing that stays in the mind of people young and old around Christmas, it’s the sight of beautiful coloured lights glowing on fir trees, hearths and in shop windows during the festive season. This year, if you’re looking for a way to take the excitement of Christmas to the next level with a Wiltshire holiday cottage retreat, there is no better way to do so than by visiting the world-renowned Longleat Festival of Light!

 Wiltshire Festival of Lights

Image credit: Papa Studio (Shutterstock)

As Visit Wiltshire explains, “This winter the unmissable Festival of Light at Longleat returns to transform the park into a glowing winter wonderland.” This year, it is Longleat Safari Park’s 50th anniversary and so Europe’s largest Chinese lantern festival will be even more exhilarating. This year’s event is a celebration of all creatures great and small, and will appeal to family members young and old!

The wonderful scene of Longleat’s famous lantern displays is a memory you will never forget. Their momentous giant lanterns will take centre stage with epic scenes honouring the most exciting residents of the park, such as lions and zebras. To mark her 150th birthday, iconic characters from the beloved works of Beatrix Potter will accompany the animals, so you can follow Peter Rabbit and his friends around some of the most famous scenes of the books!

But there’s more to this wonderful festival than the beautiful, intricate lights. The winter safari will be a real eye-opener, taking your mind off the Christmas rush for a moment as you ogle at zebras, rhinos, monkeys and more. As Longleat say, this is a great time to beat the crowds and see unusual sights up close:

“Keep your eyes peeled and you might even see our animals displaying some different behaviours to those they would display during the rest of the year. Our tigers and lions, who are partial to a catnap in the sunshine, are often much more active in the cooler weather.”

There are a huge range of other festive activities that make Longleat’s Festival of Light a prime destination for families on holiday in Wiltshire. Their enchanted Christmas tree show sees a grand 50ft tree made to dazzle with high-tech multimedia technology and mind-blowing projections. Step through the doors of Longleat House and into a real Edwardian Christmas, with each room decorated as it would have been for traditional Christmas celebrations during the early 20th century.

To mark 150 years of Beatrix Potter, the Great Hall will also host a special exhibition of costumes used in The Royal Ballet’s production of Frederick Ashton’s ‘Tales of Beatrix Potter’. For nature lovers, the brand new Arctic Corner is the perfect winter wonderland for kids to play in and learn something new in the process.

There is even an augmented reality experience of being an Arctic explorer to stimulate their greatest ambitions. Take a trip on The Santa Express and take in the beautiful reflections of the Half Mile Lake before reaching the grotto with a special gift for the little ones. Anything is possible during the magical Festival of Light!

The festivities begin on selected dates from 11th November, with fireworks on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. You can also save 10 per cent through online bookings.