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10 local light trails for Christmas 2020

In the mood for some Christmas sparkle? Here's where to find the best illuminations in Devon and nearby counties.

Christmas at the Castle, Powderham Castle, Kenton, open daily (except Weds) from 4pm 

A different way to experience the castle, illuminated, Christmassy and Covid compliant. A spectacular light trail will allow you to explore the castle grounds, with festive refreshments and a Santa’s Grotto.

The Great Big Light Switch On, North Devon, until 5 Jan

With the big light switch-ons on hold this year, this local affair started with a synchronised switch-on, and there’s now an interactive map for you to share and see the homes all lit-up for Chrimbo. 

Christmas Nativity, Pennywell Farm, until 24 Dec

It’s that time of year when Pennywell becomes a magical winter wonderland with twinkling lights, hundreds of Christmas trees and plenty of sparkle. This year’s experience will be Covid-safe, with much smaller groups and a bookable Santa but this will doubtless be enchanting nonetheless, especially if there are piglets to cuddle.

Rosemoor Glow, Rosemoor, Torrington, until 19 Dec, then 21–23 & 28–30 December & 2 January

As the nights start earlier and earlier the whole of Rosemoor will be lit with rich colour and light as the artistic team at Rosemoor illuminates this lovely garden and it’s special sculptures added for this event.

Winter Underground, Kents Cavern, Torquay, Sat 5 Dec – Mon 4 Jan

There’s no Santa this year but you can wander through the caverns for on a festive guided tour and see the caves come alive with twinkling Christmas lights. Kids get a free light-up flashing wand with their tickets and can post their letter to Santa in the underground post box. And they’ve thought of the grown-ups, with a festive drink and mince pies included in the ticket price.

Royal William Yard, Plymouth, until Jan

A gorgeous place at any time but at Christmas especially after dark, with the historic naval architecture all lit up with coloured lights. Maybe make a night of it by booking in for a meal at one of newly re-opened eateries, including Bistrot Pierre or Seco Lounge or stay at Residence One.


CORNWALL: An enchanting lantern experience, Lost Gardens of Heligan, Mon 7 Dec – Sun 3 Jan

Experience the Gardens illuminated by hundreds of traditional lanterns and discover a breath-taking display of wildlife lanterns, illuminated in Heligan’s much-loved and iconic locations.

This year, The Lost Gardens are working with the Lantern Company, a leading UK outdoor arts organisation, which works locally, nationally and internationally, bringing artists and communities together to create spectacular illuminated installations, ranging from intimate encounters to large-scale mass participatory events.

The Lantern Company’s illuminated installation at Heligan holds up a nocturnal magnifying glass to the often overlooked wonders and beauty of the natural flora and fauna on our doorstep. From frogs to foxes, badgers to squirrels and hedgehogs and a joyful burst of snowdrops, this illuminated seasonal trail creates a treasure-filled space for families and friends to discover these beautiful indigenous species. Pre-booking essential.

CORNWALL: Christmas at Eden, Eden Project, Lostwithiel

See the biomes all lit up for winter, book to see Santa and his elves with a special Santa show, the fab ice rink, plus a new Christmas reindeer trail around our gardens and Biomes. Get your cheaper locals pass for Devon residents which gets you unlimited entry for around half the price, available to buy until 31 December.

WILTSHIRE: Christmas at Stourhead, National Trust Stourhead, Fri 4 Dec – 3 Jan

Another one that has sneaked outside of the Devon borders but as our lovely Devon National Trust properties are not able to safely perform their festive duties for us this year why not whizz up the A303 to admire the exquisite Illuminations there in the meantime?

GLOS: Enchanted Christmas, Westonbirt Arboretum, Fri 4 – mon 21 Dec

Back for 2020, with a new illuminated light trail leading to West Pole – Santa’s outpost in the Cotswolds don’t you know. Have tons of fun watching the twinkling lights, elves (hard at work) and even a pop-in from Father Christmas himself. There are fairground rides and a fabulous Christmas village to browse for treats, hot chocolate and more.

Find more ideas here

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