Christmas in London is always a magical experience, but nowhere more so than at the Enchanted Woodland at Syon Park. Now entering its final weekend, this vibrant outdoor holiday celebration at the Duke of Northumberland’s estate is the perfect place for a family outing, with something for everyone. As darkness settles over the grounds each night, the crisp air fills with fantastic lights of every colour, casting a rainbow over the trees, pathways, and gorgeous Neo-classical buildings. Of course this inspiring place is a pleasure to visit during the day, but at night it becomes a fairyland of breathtaking beauty and whimsy, all thanks to some clever lighting.
The voices of other visitors sound dim and distant as you and your little ones follow the lamp-lit trail into the park. With a warm coat to ward off the chill, and maybe a hot drink from the on-site cafe, you and the family wander among the lights, gasping with surprise as you come across stunningly lit trees and figures in the darkness. Even benches and statues – mundane enough by day – become glowing masterpieces by the lights. Best yet, all the multi-coloured shapes are reflected on the still, dark waters of the lake, illuminating the scene even more.
The night isn’t entirely silent, though. A mesh of lights dances and twinkles in the grass to the upbeat notes of a sonata. You pass under a hushed forest of oriental lanterns, and as you approach the special “tree of the fairies,” you hear whispering among the branches. The kids’ jaws drop (and yours might, too) as you all listen intently to what the fairies are saying to each other.
When you drift along past that magical scene, you soon reach Syon House, the duke’s manor. The dimly-lit tower looms eerily against the pitch-black sky and sends shivers up your spine. It’s just the right touch of spooky to incite giddy giggles among your little group, and everybody huddles together as you move past. Soon, you’ve gone from eerie to elegant, as the graceful Great Conservatory shines against the night sky. The crystal palace is bathed in rainbow colours. Inside, classical music plays while rapidly changing colours transform the white arched ceilings and columns into an explosion of disco hues in time with the melodies.
You won’t want to leave the spectacle, so linger awhile as the music plays on. Amid the bustling Christmas in London, you’re glad you made it to this ethereal place, and judging by their smiles and laughter, your kids are too.