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When to see the spectacular 2022 Winter Lights at Wimpole Hall and Anglesey Abbey

There are some spectacular light displays and so much more to see and do at National Trust properties Wimpole Hall and Anglesey Abbey this Christmas.

Colourful illumination during the Christmas Lights spectacular in the gardens at Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire. Picture: Jemma Finch
Colourful illumination during the Christmas Lights spectacular in the gardens at Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire. Picture: Jemma Finch

Wimpole Hall

Visitors to Christmas at Wimpole can expect a host of new light installations and a different route to last year when the festive extravaganza opens. The popular Christmas lights trail, which runs from November 25 until January 1, 2023, features an array of installations from artists across Europe.

The trail, featuring spectacular light installations and seasonal Christmas classics, will transform the estate’s landscaped grounds and garden. Polly Ingham-Watts, general manager at Wimpole, said: “We’re thrilled to have Christmas at Wimpole returning for a second year.

“The trails give visitors the opportunity to see Wimpole Estate in a different light, with some of the most iconic Wimpole views: the grand façade of the hall, walled gardens and pleasure ground, coming alive with twinkling lights and colour.”

Christmas at Wimpole. Picture: Richard Haughton
Christmas at Wimpole. Picture: Richard Haughton

Among the new installations is ‘In Bloom’ by London-based art collective, toystudio, a star-like shape casting colourful intricate shadows across the landscape. Other curated installations include a huge heart-shaped tunnel with more than 1,000 pea lights, a snowflake walk, giant reed-shaped neon plants, and Floraison, which features hundreds of poppy-shaped flowers suspended in the branches of trees.

Independent street food vendors will be offering food and drink. Christmas at Wimpole provides a special way to celebrate the festive season with an enjoyable outdoor experience. The trail is designed for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Book early to ensure your choice of time and date, at christmasatwimpole.co.uk.

Christmas at Wimpole
Christmas at Wimpole
In Bloom by toystudio. Picture: Carrie Davenport (60758800)
In Bloom by toystudio. Picture: Carrie Davenport (60758800)

Christmas at Wimpole is brought to you by Sony Music in partnership with the National Trust. The trail is created by Culture Creative. The trail opens from 4.30pm, with last entry at 8pm, and closes at 10pm. The trail will be closed on November 28 and 29 and on December 5, 6, and 25.

Anglesey Abbey

Nature by Night, Nature by Light, which runs from December 9-21, is the title of Anglesey Abbey’s winter lights display - and biggest annual fundraiser - as it returns this year with added magic. New elements to the display were inspired by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’ The Lost Words and The Lost Spells books.

Offering a memorable experience through the illuminated National Trust gardens, this alternative to more traditional Christmas experiences allows visitors to see the estate brought to life through a series of light installations, projections, sculpture, performance, and sensory experiences, supported by a wealth of talented creative partners.

Robert Macfarlane said: “Jackie and I are thrilled to see the art and poetry of The Lost Words and The Lost Spells find their way into the Anglesey Abbey gardens, as part of the annual Winter Lights festival, for the second year running.

“For me, it's a homecoming of a kind for The Lost Spells, which was written just a few miles away in my south Cambridge home. This year I can't wait to see Jackie's magical art projected at large-scale onto Anglesey Abbey itself.”

Anglesey Abbey has also announced that it will continue working with Pearce Hire and Eddie Barcan for the next three years, allowing the team to build on the previous year’s success and share more of the inspiring stories behind the nature, artists, performers and installations that feature at the event.

Anglesey Abbey Winter Lights. Picture: Phil Mynott
Anglesey Abbey Winter Lights. Picture: Phil Mynott

Eddie Barcan, creative producer at Splendid Events, said: “I’m delighted to once again be working on Anglesey Abbey’s magical and hugely prestigious Winter Lights 2022, alongside the estate team and my long-standing colleagues at Pearce Hire. We are continuing with our theme of ‘Nature by Night, Nature by Light’ to deliver a lighting trail like no other, combining a love of nature, delicacy and technology, with wow factors, to create an enchanting experience.

“It will reflect the beauty of the gardens as well as stimulate the senses and imagination. I’m particularly excited to be working more closely with The Lost

Words, to bring to life some of Jackie Morris’s stunning illustrations. There will be glimpses of some of the elusive creatures who call Anglesey Abbey home, a natural soundscape, stunning projections, music and interactive elements.”

Projectionist team, Ross Ashton and Karen Monid of The Projection Studio, will be bringing their acclaimed visual and audio skills to the event.

The projections will draw inspiration from the world-class collection of books, silver, tapestries and paintings found at Anglesey Abbey. In addition, Gregory Ovenden from The Sound Farmer will be providing soundscapes for the trail, including mallard ducks taking flight and otters splashing. There will also be live performances from Cambridge Folk Festival and Cambridge Jazz Festival, featuring the Cambridge Youth Jazz Orchestra.

The community launch night will see the team at Anglesey Abbey continuing to work closely with local children’s charity Spectrum, providing free access to the launch night for families they support, as well as a number of other local charities and organisations supporting those in need, including Prospects Trust, the Rowan Foundation, students and their families from Bottisham Village College and NHS staff from Addenbrooke’s.

The Winter Lights at Anglesey Abbey. Picture: Mike Selby
The Winter Lights at Anglesey Abbey. Picture: Mike Selby

The route is fully accessible for electric scooters and wheelchairs, a limited number of which are available to hire by pre-booking. Mobiloo will also be on-site for an increased number of dates this year and will be available on December 10, 13 and 18, offering an accessible toilet, hoist, adult-sized changing bench and an assistant to help support any visitors with additional needs.

The Heritage Orchard will be the location for a range of independent street food vendors serving food and drink to enjoy along the route, and the shop will be open late for Christmas presents.

Tickets to Winter Lights must be pre-booked to ensure entry. Adult tickets £18.50, young person (18-25) tickets £16.50, child tickets £14.50, family tickets available from £44.50, carer tickets free. For further information on the event, visit nationaltrust.org.uk/AAWinterLights.

Wicken Fen

Away from the light displays, there’s also plenty to see and do at Wicken Fen this festive season. Children can visit Father Christmas or Mother Christmas at the fen cottage, there’s a drop-in willow wreath workshop, and the whole family can join the festive woodland trail.

Meet Father Christmas on December 3, 4, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21 and 22. Pre-booking is essential. While Father Christmas is away on December 10 and 11, children can come and meet Mother Christmas (again, pre-booking is essential)

The wreath making workshop takes place on November 26, from 10am-3pm (no booking required) and the festive woodland trail runs from November 26 to January 5 (no booking required). For more information, visit nationaltrust.org.uk/wicken-fen.

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