Last Updated on November 21, 2022 by HodgePodgeDays
We were invited guests of Christmas at Dunham Massey. All images and opinions are our own.
Spending an evening enjoying a Christmas light trail is something of a tradition now in our family. There’s something lovely about wrapping up warm and going for a walk in the dark, marvelling at the lights together. We went to the first Christmas at Dunham Massey event six years ago, and it’s been one of our favourite trails ever since. We decided it was time to make a return, so this week, we did indeed bundle ourselves up, and headed to Dunham Massey near Altrincham to take in the sights and the lovely festive lights.
First off, if you’re planning to go, make sure you’ve pre-booked parking, as it saves a lot of faff and bother if you do. Admission is timed, but they’re not super-strict about you being there on the dot, which was great news because we got caught in the rush hour traffic. The trail begins gently from the car park, with two enormous illuminated stags marking the entrance to the social area, with traditional fairground rides and food (try the Greek gyros, they’re lovely). Once your tickets are scanned, you’re free to explore the trail.
On the night we went, it was raining quite heavily, so despite wearing good stout boots, I was a bit worried the trail might have been slippery in parts. I needn’t have worried, as rubber matting had already been put down in the worst areas and as long as you’re wearing walking boots or wellies, you should be ok.
The start of the trail takes you through a full on sensory experience. There’s a pavilion of lights dangling down, with ambient music playing as you walk through. It’s the kind of thing I could have enjoyed for hours, and my son loved weaving in and out of the lights. Beyond the pavilion, the house itself was illuminated and “DUNHAM MASSEY” is picked out in lights. It was an awesome sight.
The trail takes you in and around the garden. I won’t spoil the whole trail by describing it all in minute detail, but there are some serious highlights. We thought the first Christmas at Dunham Massey light trail was impressive, but they’ve really, really turned the volume up on the awesomeness.
There were many breath-taking sights, including the Gladioli Tunnel where arches of multicoloured flowers bathe visitors in a myriad of different lights. There’s the incredible Laser Garden and Light a Wish – a garden which sees the heads of fluffy dandelions floating in the night sky. There’s the stunning Fire Garden, the Singing Tree and the Christmas Cathedral, which is as Instagram friendly as it gets. When you exit the gardens to the front of the house, Father Christmas is there to greet you. He’s a fine old Santa, really traditional looking and he’s happy to chat to the little ones too.
Just when you think it’s all over, and it’s time to head home, you walk through the courtyard, turn to go back to the car park and the lake is lit up with giant colour changing waterlilies which shimmer on the water. Just beyond, there’s a dancing fountain, beautifully timed to the Frozen hit, Let it Go. We watched it for several minutes, it was a grand finale to a very grand festive light trail.
Christmas at Dunham Massey is full of seasonal surprises and shimmering reflections that cast light on beautiful silhouettes of majestic trees, all choreographed to a soundtrack of festive favourites. It’s a real sensory treat, and despite the rain, we all felt completely festive after about ten minutes. This was helped by the mulled wine stall, which warmed us up a treat. The food and drink available on site are great. While we drank hot mulled wine, the boy toasted a fancy marshmallow, which was a highlight for him.
We have been to quite a few Christmas light trails over the years, each different and marvellous in its own way, but this years’ Christmas at Dunham Massey is spectacular, even in the rain. The lights and music have been beautifully curated and around each corner is a new visual treat. There’s a new something to be wowed by at each turn, and all in all, it’s a superb way to kick off the festivities this year!
Five facts you didn’t know about this year’s trail:
- This is the sixth Christmas at Dunham Massey trail
- There are 1,200 laser beams in the multi-coloured Laser Garden
- It takes the crew 19 days to put up installations and prepare the trail
- The site is run on a combination of hydrogenated vegetable oil and grid power
- The Instagram-friendly Christmas Cathedral is almost 30 metres long
Christmas at Dunham Massey – The after-dark illuminated trail through festive gardens is on from 18 November 2022 – 2 January 2023. Tickets are still available. Book your preferred date and time at christmasatdunhammassey.seetickets.com.
Limited availability, therefore early booking is advised. Advanced Admission Tickets From: Adult £22.50, Child £14.50 (Age 3-16). Family £50-£72 (1 or 2 adults + 2 children). Parking £8 or free for NT Members. Must be booked in advance.