Get ready to embark on a magical Christmas family adventure now that Longleat's Festival of Lights 2023 is back and it's bigger and more enchanting than ever.
In my guide below, I’ll take you through what you can expect as well as everything you need to know to plan your visit.
Longleat is just 10 minutes drive from us and I’ve taken my children to the festival almost every year for the past several years, I’ll admit the Festival of Lights enchants them as well as myself and my partner. In my opinion it is definitely worth booking a ticket!
If you're travelling from afar then why not book one of our self catering holiday lodges near Longleat? For those staying with us we can also secure Longleat Day tickets (Safari and non-Safari) with 20% off - get in touch for more details!
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The Longleat Festival of Lights is an annual event held at Longleat, a historic stately home and safari park in Wiltshire. The event is a celebration of the Christmas season, featuring mesmerising light displays, enchanting lanterns as well as other festive attractions the kids will love. Each year the festival showcases a different theme, bringing beloved stories to life through illuminated characters and scenes.
The Festival of Lights for 2023 at Longleat runs from the 11th of November to the 7th of January 2024 on selected dates. This extended period allows you to choose a date that best suits your family's schedule.
Typically a theme happens throughout the festival which changes every year.
This year's festival is a "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis theme. You can step through the wardrobe and immerse yourself in a world of illuminated characters, from the majestic lion, Aslan to the bewitching White Witch (I’ll admit she terrorised me as a kid!) as well as scenes from Cinderella and Winne the Pooh too.
One of the festival's highlights is the amazing Winter Drive Through Safari, where you can get up close and personal with some of Longleat's famous animal residents. Longleat's stunning grounds and gardens are also beautifully decorated for Christmas, creating a magical atmosphere. Do note some of these Safari attractions close to the public once it gets dark so get there in plenty of time!
Yes, from experience I’d strongly recommended pre-booking tickets for the Festival of Light, especially if you plan to attend on peak dates. This Christmas event is ALWAYS incredibly popular and tickets sell out quickly, so securing your spot in advance is the best way to avoid disappointment.
For the 2023 Festival of Light, Longleat has listened to customer feedback from 2022 and introduced three ticket types to cater for different preferences:
Day Tickets: This ticket type gives you access to the full Longleat experience, including the Drive Through Safari, starting at 9:30am and the rest of the park from 11am. You can enjoy all the festival's attractions until the park closes at 7:30pm. Note last entry for the Drive Through Safari is 2pm.
Non-Safari Day Tickets: This option includes access to all the attractions, such as the House though no Drive Through Safari, with entry from 11am.
Twilight Tickets: These tickets grant you access to the Festival of Light lanterns, festive attractions, and some Main Square attractions from 5pm onwards. These are usually the ones that sell out the fastest so you’ll need to be quick!
Peak and Off-Peak pricing are available for Longleat’s Festival of Light 2023, allowing you to choose quieter times for a more affordable ticket.
Ticket prices for the Festival of Light - known as "Twilight Tickets" start with off-peak at £33.70 for a child (Under 3’s are free) and £44.95 for an adult. Peak admissions are quite a bit more I am afraid at £37.45 for Children 3 to 15, whilst a 16+ ticket is £49.95, but there are different ticket types available which is helpful, so you can choose the one that best suits your preferences. See below for more details.
In addition to the magical lanterns, the Festival of Light offers several other festive attractions that you won't want to miss including:
This breathtaking display features Britain's biggest singing Christmas tree, standing at over 15 metres tall. It's illuminated with more than 88,000 twinkling lights and even produces snow. The show runs every 20 minutes from 4:30pm to 7:10pm and is included with all Festival of Light tickets.
All aboard for the North Pole! Take a train ride to a snow-covered winter wonderland and meet Father Christmas in his grotto. This experience is extremely popular, so be sure to pre-book your tickets.
As the sun sets, Longleat House comes to life with a mesmerizing light show synchronized to festive music. Make sure to follow the Garden Trail for the best view. And don't forget to catch the spectacular fountain display on Half Mile Pond.
Enjoy a seasonal show featuring stunning owls taking flight in the Longhouse. This enchanting performance will captivate both children and adults. Showtimes are at 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, and 6pm and run for 15 minutes. You’ll need to get in early as they close the doors closer to the start time for the birds safety.
Step back in time with a guided tour of Longleat House, classically decorated for Christmas. You can explore traditional decorations, multiple Christmas trees, and learn about the classic works of children's literature that inspired the festival's scenes.
Create unforgettable festive memories with your family at Longleat's 2023 Festival of Lights, you could even make it a part of a Christmas tradition, you won’t regret it I promise!