Review: Christmas at Wollaton 2020

Words: Emily Thursfield
Photos: Christmas at Wollaton and Tracey Whitefoot
Wednesday 09 December 2020
reading time: min, words

At the end of a year that’s been filled with darkness, Christmas at Wollaton’s multi-sensory experience really does feel like light at the end of the tunnel…

Living in this COVID-led world has forced many of us to adapt our daily habits and rituals, including everything from the weekly shop to how we catch up with friends. How we go about celebrating Christmas in 2020 is the most recent of these challenges we’re having to face – with no market stalls or ice skating in the square, no Santa’s grotto for the kiddies or raucous office parties, after a year of such hardship, I feared our options would be looking rather bleak. 

Christmas at Wollaton’s light-up experience is certainly an antidote to that. Located in Wollaton Hall and Deer Park, households can follow a festive, 50-minute trail around the grounds, illuminated by twinkling lights, lazers, fire and magical installations. The family-friendly event has been designed by Manchester-based production company dbnAudile in collaboration with Salford-based outdoor arts company Walk The Plank, the former having designed productions all over the world, including the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2019 Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi. 

Upon arrival at Wollaton Park, we grabbed a couple of glasses of (non-alcoholic) mulled wine and joined the queue for the start of the trail. Social-distancing and COVID-safe measures are ensured throughout the experience: masks were to be worn throughout the event, and staff were on hand to manage the flow of traffic if things got a little too crowded. 

The trail takes the visitors through nine different areas, including a lazer garden, a sparkling light tunnel and a moonlit glade, which sees a soft glowing installation and hundreds of twinkling projections light the way forward. My personal highlights included the Winter Woodland, in which trees are wound with fairy lights and luminous animals are nestled into the landscape, and the Solstice Flames, where the warm amber glow and heat from the fire offer a tranquil escape. 

The finale is spectacular, and the perfect roundoff to leave you in a festive mood – and something I won’t spoil for anybody looking to go. Seeing such delight on faces of the couples and families on a cool winter’s night was – after the year we have suffered through – very heartwarming to say the least.

Tickets are available now on the Christmas at Wollaton website, adults from £19.25 and children from £13.75. Christmas at Wollaton runs from Friday 4 December 2020 to Wednesday 6 January 2021.

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