The best Christmas light shows and illuminations across the UK

Back to Days out
Children pointing at Christmas lights

Explore the best Christmas lights the UK has to offer, including winter illuminations, light-up trails and captivating festive displays.

Festive light displays have become a fixture of the Christmas calendar, offering an annual sprinkling of seasonal magic.

Best Christmas light shows in England

Glow Wild

Wakehurst, Sussex

Glow Wild light show Wakehurst 

Dates: Selected dates from 23 November 2023 to 1 January 2024

Prices: Adult £19; Child (4 - 16) £12; Family (2 adults & 2 children) £60. Boundless members receive unlimited access to Kew Gardens and Wakehurst, and can also enjoy an exclusive saving of up to 23%* on Glow Wild at Wakehurst

Located deep in the West Sussex countryside, Wakehurst is the wild botanic garden managed by Kew. Glow Wild is its award-winning, mile-long festive trail, featuring hundreds of beautifully crafted lanterns and light installations that illuminate the garden as darkness falls. This year, it celebrates its 10th anniversary with its most ambitious display ever. As well as the country’s tallest living Christmas tree (a 37m-high giant sequoia) and a 2.5m-high handmade moon, expect your breath to be taken by gigantic whale sculptures, whispering flowers, fire displays, herds of seahorses, puppets and peacocks.

*Subject to availability. Discount valid until 23:59 on 31 December 2023. Members must use their email address used for their Boundless membership to book Glow Wild tickets.

Magical Woodland

Cheshire Outdoors, Sandiway, Cheshire

Cheshire Outdoors Christmas lights

Dates: Selected dates from 24 November to 24 December 2023

Prices: Adult £23.95; Child (2 - 15) £16.50; Family (2 adults & 2 children) £75. Discounts for groups and carers

Touted as “the North West’s best light show”, Magical Woodland is an immersive family attraction that gives you the chance to explore 15 acres of enchanted forest. Along the way, you’ll encounter dazzling light installations, including cathedral canopies of fairy lights, Borealis-style lasers, and clouds of flying lanterns. Once you’ve finished, treat yourself to a warming hot chocolate around the firepit – and don’t forget to tell Mr and Mrs Claus what’s on your Christmas list!

Enchanted Christmas

Westonbirt The National Arboretum, Gloucestershire

Family in illuminated forest

Dates: Selected dates from 24 November to 23 December 2023

Prices: Adult £21 peak, £19 off-peak; Child (3 - 16) £14 peak, £12 off-peak. Discounts for students and jobseekers

With 3,000 tree species spread over 600 glorious acres, Westonbirt Arboretum is a treat at any time of the year. But this Gloucestershire attraction can be seen in a completely new light – actually, many new lights – during the festive season. Around every corner, you’ll discover giant trees illuminated in the most surprising and spectacular ways, providing a magical experience for the whole family. In addition to the light trail, there will be a Christmas village complete with fairground rides, seasonal gift ideas, and festive goodies to tease your tastebuds.

Lanterns and Light

Chester Zoo, Cheshire

Chester Zoo Christmas lights

Dates: Selected dates from 17 November to 31 December 2023

Prices: Adult £22; Child (aged 2 and over) £17. Carers enter for free

Witness the animal kingdom as you’ve never seen it before at this world premiere event. As you make your way around the zoo, you’ll encounter a wide range of  animals – from dolphins to woolly mammoths – lit up with festive colour. Magical birds and stars will be your guide as you make your way along the trails, while the Winter Cathedral tunnel of lights promises to be a truly enthralling spectacle. Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a glimpse of Santa – so, look out for the big man as he delivers presents on his sleigh.

Enchanted Christmas Light Trails

Various English Heritage places nationwide

Walker Castle Christmas lights

Dates: Selected dates from 1 December to 1 January 2023

Prices: Adult £30 peak, £25.50 off-peak; Child (3 - 16) £22.75 peak, £19.25 off-peak; Family (2 adults & 2 children or 1 adult & 3 children) £23.94pp peak, £19.25pp off-peak

Every year, a number of English Heritage places put on a spectacular festive light show for visitors – and 2023 is no different. Kenwood House and Eltham Palace in London, Wrest Park in Bedfordshire, and Walmer Castle in Kent will all feature a themed light trail, bringing the magic of Christmas to young and old alike. Round off your day by browsing for gifts while sipping a delicious warming drink.

Christmas at Kingston Lacy


Girl looking at Christmas lights

Dates: 25 November 2023 to 1 January 2024 (excluding Christmas Day and Boxing Day)

Prices: Adult £18; Child (5 - 17) £9; Family (2 adults & more than 2 children) £49.50; Family (1 adult & up to 2 children) £29.70. National Trust members can enter for free

Built in the 19th century to resemble a Venetian palace, Kingston Lacy and its estate delight thousands of visitors every year. And this special place becomes even more popular at Christmas, when the house is adorned with antique decorations and the gardens sparkle with over a million twinkly lights. Add in storytelling with Santa and vats of steaming mulled wine, and you have a winter wonderland that’ll live long in the memory.

Christmas at Bedgebury

Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, Kent

Bedgebury Christmas lights

Dates: Selected dates from 17 November to 31 December 2023

Prices: Adult £24 peak, £21.50 standard, £19 off-peak; Child (3 - 16) £17 peak, £14.50 standard, £13 off-peak; Family (2 adults & 2 children) £79 peak, £69 standard, £61 off-peak. Carers enter for free

If you go down to the woods this Christmas, you’re in for a big surprise… For a few weeks every year, Bedgebury’s forest trails come alive with breathtaking lights and installations, sprinkling festive magic over this ancient site. Explore sparkling tunnels, neon structures and – new for 2023 – the mesmerising, rainbow-coloured Liquid Sky. Speaking of liquid, why not complement your walk with a tasty seasonal beverage – if that doesn’t get you in the mood for Christmas, nothing will!

Christmas at Blenheim Palace


Blenheim Palace Christmas lights

Dates: Selected dates from 17 November 2023 to 1 January 2024

Prices (light trail only): Adult £26.50 peak, £19.50 off-peak; Child (3 - 16) £19.50 peak, £14.50 off-peak; Family (2 adults & 2 children) £89 peak, £65 off-peak. Carers enter for free

At Christmas, they really go to town at Winston Churchill’s birthplace, filling the palace’s gardens with awe-inspiring lights – expect everything from glowing tunnels of hearts to branches decorated with colourful lanterns. This year, the festive light trail will be complemented by a magical Sleeping Beauty exhibition within the palace itself. Whether you just explore the trail or buy tickets for the exhibition, too, you’re sure to leave with a big smile on your face.

Festival of Light

Longleat, Wiltshire

Longleat Christmas lights

Dates: Selected dates from 11 November 2023 to 7 January 2024

Prices: Various tickets and packages are available

It may be best known for its lions and monkeys, but Longleat also hosts a rather spectacular light show each Christmas. The Festival of Light is brimming with seasonal sights, from the 15-metre-tall Enchanted Christmas Tree to the ever-popular Santa train. This year’s show will focus on beloved children’s stories, so expect installations based on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Wizard of Oz and many more iconic tales.

Christmas at Waddesdon

Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire

Waddesdon Manor Christmas lights

Dates: Selected dates from 22 November 2023 to 1 January 2024

Prices: Adult £22 grounds, £35 grounds and house; Child (5 - 17) £10 grounds, £16 grounds and house. Discounts for National Trust members

This year, Waddesdon’s Christmas festivities will celebrate three classic children’s tales: Alice in Wonderland, The Snow Queen and Peter Pan. As well as the spellbinding lights and projections around the grounds, there will be a range of fun installations to enjoy within the house itself, including the Mad Hatter’s tea party and Captain Hook’s treasure cave. Visit before 17 December and you can also browse for presents at the Christmas Fair; packed with crafts, clothes and treats you won’t find on the high street, it’s the ideal place to find that special gift.

Christmas Train of Lights

Paignton to Kingswear, Devon

Christmas train of lights

Dates: Selected evenings from 24 November to 30 December 2023

Prices: Adult £29; Child (3 - 15) £20; Family (2 adults & 2/3 children) £95

For a truly unique experience, hop aboard the Christmas Train of Lights. A UK first, this delightful steam railway is decorated both inside and out with dazzling lights and fittings, helping to get your festive mood on track. After departing Paignton, the train will trundle through an enchanted forest, illuminated by various seasonal surprises, before arriving at its final destination at Kingswear, alongside the River Dart. A joy for the whole family, this is one polar express you won’t want to miss.

Best Christmas light shows in Wales

Christmas at Bute Park


Christmas at Bute Park

Dates: Selected evenings from 24 November 2023 to 1 January 2024

Prices: Various, depending on dates, times and when you book

Described as “the most popular light trail outside of London”, this immersive attraction captures the imagination with a series of extravagant light shows, sculptures and installations. It promises to be even bigger and better this year, so you’re advised to book early to avoid disappointment. Festive music and food helps to bring the Christmas cheer.

Winter Light Trail

Margam Country Park, Port Talbot

Margam winter light trail

Dates: Selected evenings from 22 November to 31 December 2023

Prices: Adult £16.75 Mon - Thurs, £21.25 Fri - Sun; Child (3 - 15) £12.25 Mon - Thurs, £14.50 Fri - Sun; Family (2 adults & 2 children) £56.50 Mon - Thurs, £69.50 Fri - Sun

Wonder and intrigue are the order of the day on Luminate Wales’s Winter Light Trail. This mile-long walk meanders its way around the beautiful Margam Country Park, taking in mesmerising light tapestries and interactive installations en route. And don’t worry about getting peckish, as there will be places to buy hot chocolate and toast marshmallows as you make your way around.

Best Christmas light shows in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Festive Forest

Beercraigs Country Park, Linlithgow

Festive Forest Beercraigs Country Park

Dates: 1 - 23 December 2023

Prices: Adult £21; Child (4 - 15) £11; Family (4 people) £59

A winter walk through the woods is always magical, but the Festive Forest event at Beercraigs Country Park aims to make it even more special. Brimming with twinkly lights, audio-visual effects and other seasonal surprises – not to mention the longest light tunnel in Scotland – this is one Christmas attraction you won’t want to miss. A Santa’s grotto and festive food stalls only add to the merriment.

Walking with the Snowman

Hillsborough Castle, County Down

Happy girl with snowman

Dates: Selected dates from 18 November 2023 to 7 January 2024

Prices: Adult £10; Child (5 - 15) £5. Discounts for students and over-65s

One of the most popular children’s stories of all time is being celebrated this year as Walking with the Snowman comes to Hillsborough Castle. As you embark on a  festive trail around the grounds of this royal residence, look out for 12 life-size and hand-painted snowmen sculptures – one for each of the 12 days of Christmas. On selected dates, there will also be screenings of the film that’s based on the classic Raymond Briggs tale. Hankies at the ready!

Do more with Boundless

If you sign up to Boundless, you’ll get year-round get free entry to top attractions, discounts on restaurants and savings on high-street brands plus dozens of other deals on holidays, experiences and more. If you're working or retired from the public sector or civil service and not yet a member, discover more about Boundless membership here.

You might also like