Pure JOY! That’s the only way I can describe the illuminations at Luminate Sandringham last night. I easily ran out of surperlatives to describe how wondrous this place really is.
Luminate Sandringham is a bewitching after-dark, illuminated trail. Set to atmospheric music throughout, you will follow the woodland trail as it meanders through the historic Country Park at The Royal Sandringham Estate. The trail is approximately one mile long and (depending on how quickly you walk through) will take 60-90 minutes to complete. We managed 90 mins with 3 children in tow. If I was on my own or just with Andy It would have been a lot longer. Some of the installations are so captivating you dont want to leave. Just wrap up warm and make sure you have sturdy footwear!
There are plenty of toilets at the start, end and next to the fair adjacent to the Sandringham shop, but we decided to leave this utill last. At the half way point you can warm up by the fire pits and toast giant marshmallows (£2.50 if purchased on site) although I have it on good authority that you can bring your own to help with family budgets. There’s mulled wine (£4.50) and decadent coffee with baileys and cream available. Cash and card payments accepted.
Thankfully there’s also some portable toilets after all that festive drink. We also found another coffee van after the midway point selling ice creams for the children at a very reasonable £2. At the end of the trail you can indulge in some of the food and drink offerings from the Sandringham Courtyard Cafe/Kiosk and a number of food vendors including Tin Van Pizza who sold fresh made-to-order stonebaked pizza from £8.50 for a 10 inch. The staff were also more than happy to fill up our water bottles.
I counted 13 installations but the whole walk is well lit and beautiful. On arrival through the light archway you are met with the spectacular LUMINATE sign. Keen photographers will want to bring their best equipment as there’s so much to capture. We then made our way to the edge of the wood. Wooden carvings come to life to welcome the children. Our three were transfixed at the stories and jokes they told.
The next highlight for us was the fairy hunt. Bo and Wilba are massive fairy fans and to see the projected nymps come to life in the forest is something I dont think they will ever forget. The lawn installation is incredible. Stand at the top for the full effect and watch it at least twice. The fair is perfectly framed in the background through a tunnel of search lights and undulating river of light. Breathe it in. The other WOW moment for me was the disco ball area. Not a 70’s flare in sight. Instead bathe in the millions of sparkling reflections as they move through the forest floor and canopy. The ambient music in this section is particularly good and I wanted to dance along the path. Truth be told…. I did.
Now you’re probably thinking this is all well and good for younger ones and an old romantic like me, but what about the slightly older kids? Well, Luminate Sandringham have thought of that two. The interactive displays were the Boy’s favourite. We tried to play Jingle bells as a family in response to a light sequence and had a go at operating our own search lights. There were also a number of installations you could touch. Great sensory fun for all.
After all that wonder you can jump straight in your car (free car parking) or cross over the path to the fair. As I always suggest if you are thinking of going to areas where additional pounds are needed manage expectations with the kids before you go. We used it as a bit of a carrot for good behaviour and limited them to two rides each. Rides were all £3. There’s no multi-buy discount so just buy what you need. The chair ride was the kids’ fave as it tilted, raised and spun. My heart was in my mouth but the double seats make it feel safer if you are taking on little-uns.
I know I’m a romantic at heart and gush about family experiences like this, but this premium treat is worth every penny. It isn’t cheap but if you think of the work, cost and staffing that goes into an event like this, I think it’s justified.
Up to Wednesday 8th December. Tickets for Mon-Wed are ;-
Adult (16+): £16.50
Child (3-15): £11.50
Aged 2 and Under: Free
Family (2+2): £52.00
Thurs – Sunday
Adult (16+): £18.50
Child (3-15): £13.50
Aged 2 and Under: Free
Family (2+2): £60.00
The staff are an absolute credit to Luminate Sandringham and ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time. They are friendly, helpful and excited about the experience. You know how much importance I give to staff at events and these guys were gold star. The ladies in the shop took time to talk to us and the event staff were gracious even though we arrived slightly late due to an accident en-route that’d added time to our journey. The path is well lit throughout, and is suitable for most wheelchairs and buggies. Luminate Sandringham is on from 12th November till the 19th of December. Look out for other Luminate events across the UK here. Entry start times from 4.15pm till 9pm. Click here for more info.
Whether you’re a couple (there’s been fice proposals so far, just saying), a family or even flying solo, if you can, take a visit, it gave me the warm and fuzzies inside and I couldn’t of been more impressed. Don’t forget to check out some of my other Winter adventures here and find me on instagram for daily fun.
Disclaimer* Our tickets were PR gifted but as always my words are my own.