Christmas At Kingston Lacy Review


Reviewed by Sian Manning

I have to say I was delighted to get picked to do this review, I have 3 children and really struggle each year to find something that little bit different, festive and magical. I had been looking at the National Trust website only the night before getting chosen to do this review so it must have been fate!

This wonderfully festive, cheery light display is running from now until the 2nd January, time slots start at 4.30pm and the trail closes and you must have left by 9.30pm, this doesn’t mean you will be there for hours – their website suggests 90 minutes to walk the trail.

Booking in advance is advised, you will also need to book car parking, this is separate to your entry and charged accordingly, however you can turn up on the day and hope for the best, but from my experience, I would book, it was incredibly busy when we arrived.

We had the 4.30pm slot, on Friday the 3rd December, I’m not sure I would advise this time is a good one for school aged children that you need to get home, changed, chucked in the car and drive for 40 minutes to make it in time. Maybe a touch of better planning, a slightly later time, some snack options or dinner before hand may have made our afternoon a little easier to handle. A very hangry 7 year old was not fun half way round.

When we arrived our car park ticket was checked and we were shown to our parking space, right out the front and nice and close, perks of getting there for the first time slot! We then had to wait in a queue to have our entrance tickets checked and be let in, we were told the reindeer were running late and that we were waiting for Santa to arrive! While you are waiting be warned that there are a few little rides (swing boats, carousel etc) waiting to occupy your children and your wallet, there is also a hot drinks truck and a couple of options for food, burgers, takeaway meals and the such like, all super tempting to that hangry 7 year old I told you about!

Once you are let though and Santa has been fashionably late you begin on your self guided tour of the twinkling lights you meander around the lawn, past the front of the house, past the man in red himself, who is more than happy to stop and have a chat while he waters his plants. You follow the paths – some paved, some shingle, some dirt and bridge (all pushchair, wheelchair or mobility scooter friendly) around the gardens and get to admire the gorgeous lights and the well paired music. The whole thing really is quite magical and special, there are beautifully lit up trees, fabulous flowers, giant dandelion clocks and much much more to feast your eyes on. They also don’t let too many people in with each time slot so that you are treading down each others heels, you do end up quite spaced out and able to stop and take some beautiful pictures with just your family if you want to, without extra heads in the background.

The pathways are very well signposted and laid out, there are ropes keeping you to the paths and well placed guides to point you in the right direction too should you need them.

You will find some very well placed refreshment vehicles, offering drinks, snacks and sweet treats, this was a red flag to the hangry one and he was very annoyed with me that I didn’t immediately offer to purchase him something to get him to stop moaning! As you finish you end up at the fair ground rides and food vendors, if you are there late and need to grab dinner it all looked and smelt delicious and I think would be worth a visit, the only slight niggle is that there is no where to eat it, so you would have to either stand or go back to the car.

It is worth noting that should you need a toilet, they are only at the start and end of the trail so make sure you go if needed so you don’t end up getting caught short.

My three little ones really enjoyed their evening and spent the car journey home talking about their favourite lights, favourite walks and the best bits of their day, i’m sure they will remember it for a long time to come and request something similar for next year too, it really is a stunning way to see a place that we know so well and visit a lot during the day, to see it so beautiful at night really was a treat.

Rating: 4/5

Tickets cost from: £18 for an adult booking in advance and £14 for a child (3-16), parking is £8 when booked in advance there is also a £2 transaction fee, more prices and options are available on the website.

Christmas at Kingston Lacy is available to book now until 2nd January 2022

For more information or to book tickets visit the Kingston Lacy website here.

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