This winter, visitors to Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens in Horsham, West Sussex, can enjoy a captivating after-dark light trail as the gardens come alive with colour and sound during this year’s Leonardslee Illuminated event. Group Travel Information.
Open between 4pm and 10pm, with light trails running from 4.15pm to 8.15pm, the event will take place on various dates from 24th November to 21st December: please visit the Leonardslee website for details of ticket prices and free and discounted offers for Leonardslee members.
Now in its fifth year, Leonardslee Illuminated at the historic 240-acre Grade I Listed estate will transport visitors into a magical world as the gardens are transformed with illuminations, large-scale installations, and atmospheric soundscapes. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed with a Victorian funfair, a small Christmas market, a selection of seasonal food and drink, and other entertainment before entering the mile-long trail.
"Visitors can explore the lit trails and walk down through the valley, decked with fairy lights and lanterns, giant flowers and mythical animals. There will be displays of massive stars and planets suspended over the seven lakes, reflecting the sparkling lights and the towering lakeside trees," says Adam Streeter, general manager.
“We’ve worked hard to make the event even more affordable this year, given the rising cost of living: there is a price reduction from last year, and Leonardslee members will get free entry on selected days, and 50% off at other times.
"There are fairground attractions, mulled wine and other food and drink to enjoy either before or after the trail, which is around 60 to 90 minutes long. The market features arts and crafts and other gifts for sale from local artisans, and our shops will be open, with wines from our sister estate’s vineyards at Benguela Cove in South Africa."
Streeter says that the illuminations and other events are vital to maintaining the estate, helping to fund the major programme of works needed to preserve the woodland gardens, which were originally created by the great Victorian plant collector, Sir Edmund Loder. The estate is now a protected ecosystem for fauna and flora that are threatened elsewhere in the UK and beyond, including several rare ‘champion’ trees.
Tickets are available online, at a reduced price this year, from £16 for adults and £9 per child, down from £18 and £10 last year, with 10% off for groups of 15 or more. There are special free and discounted ticket offers for Leonardslee members. Annual membership at Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens starts from £60.
PHOTO: Ray Gibson