18 Christmas light trails in and around the North West

Going to see the Christmas lights each December is now something of a family tradition. Bundling ourselves up against the cold; marvelling at the lights and treating ourselves to hot mulled wine and roasted chestnuts from a food stall is something we’ve really enjoyed in previous years; and we are looking forward to a Christmas light trails again this year.

I’ve heard on the grapevine that tickets are selling fast to many of the more popular trails. I’ve gathered together a list of some of the Christmas light displays in and around Manchester, Cheshire and the North West this Christmas. Some might be a little drive away, such as Alton Towers, or Sheffield, but I’ve included them anyway.

Christmas Light trails in and around the North West

Christmas Light trails in and around the North West (and a bit beyond)

Alton Towers – Enjoy a whole host of fantastical family rides and attractions, show-stopping live entertainment and enchanting Christmas Market. You can even extend the festivities with a truly magical Santa Sleepover! Plus, marvel at the award-winning illuminated trail, Lightopia, returning for 2022 – a seasonal spectacle not to be missed!

BeWILDerwood, Cheshire – Explore brand new areas of BeWILDerwood as you follow The Sparkly Light Trail through the woods. Discover silly snowmen, curious Christmas crackers, a giant Christmas pudding and lots, lots more as you venture through the festivities.

Bolesworth, Cheshire – Bolesworth’s grounds near Chester will again be transformed into a festive wonderland, festooned in seasonal sparkle and yuletide cheer for a month of unforgettable winter magic. Their enchanted Christmas Lights Trail returns for 2022 featuring an all-new route, a spectacular light show incorporating Bolesworth Castle itself and a unique water display on their beautiful lake.

Christmas Light trails in and around the North West

Chester Zoo, The Lanterns – This event has been running for several years now, and it is such a magical evening out visiting the zoo after dark and meeting magical creatures on you travels. Read our review here.

Delamere Forest, Cheshire – Christmas at Delamere Forest is an after-dark illuminated trail with over a million lights and seasonal sounds bringing bundles of festive cheer to the forest. Enjoy a magical time together with your family and friends as you discover glittering tunnels of light and trees drenched in jewel-like colour. Pause at mesmerising flames in the fire garden for a moment of reflection. Wander beneath larger-than-life illuminations and don’t forget to glimpse Father Christmas along the way.

Dunham Massey, Cheshire – This is another family favourite; the gardens are lit up in splendid style at this must-see Christmas event. Read our review here.

Enchanted Winter Walk at Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire – Experience their first ever Enchanted Winter Walk. Wrap up warm and enjoy the magic of Quarry Bank at twilight.

Harry Potter Forbidden Forest Experience – This light trail is available year round, but what a festive treat for a Harry Potter fan! A night-time woodland trail experience filled with magical creatures and wizarding wonders from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films. Explore after dark the sounds, lights, and special effects that bring the magic of the Wizarding World to life. Guests will also be able to enjoy a wide range of delicious food and drinks at the village!

Knowsley Safari Park – Enjoy the safari park after dark at their fabulous Christmas time event, your path will be lit with magical lights guiding you through their enchanted trail. Get into the Christmas spirit with a range of festive food; magical music, amazing illuminated animals and some extra special treats!

Christmas Light trails in and around the North West

Lightopia, Heaton Park – This is another popular and award winning Christmas light trail in North Manchester’s Heaton Park. Embark on a magical journey through the fantasy themed light trail through the parklands. Showcasing bright immersive installations, colourful lasers, and water shows, this is a festive wonderland for all ages.

Magical Woodland, Blakemere, Cheshire – A truly magical start to the Christmas celebrations for all the family. An enchanting event which is open during the evenings in December. This takes place in 15 acres of woodland and incorporates cutting edge lighting and sound to bring a touch of wonder and magic to this stunning location.

Matlock Bath Illuminations, Derbyshire – The 2022 Matlock Bath Illuminations will run every Saturday and Sunday during the 2022 season, which now starts on Saturday 17 September. There will be fireworks finales every Saturday in October.

RHS Bridgewater, Salford – Glow returns to RHS Garden Bridgewater with a new trail full of festive colour and sparkle. New for 2022, weave your way through yew domes festooned with fairy lights. Explore a magical family discovery trail inspired by local folklore and take a selfie with giant, colour-changing stars. Read our review of last year here.

Days Out: Glow at RHS Bridgewater, Salford

Sheffield Cathedral – Sheffield Cathedral will once again be transformed by its Christmas lights spectacular, celebrating the wonder and joy of the festive season. This year’s light show brings us to heart of the Christmas story, to ‘The Manger’ and the tiny baby nestling in the hay who would change the world.

Stockeld Park, North Yorkshire – Experience one of the country’s largest and most creative Christmas light trails set in the grounds of the historic Stockeld Park Estate.

Trentham Gardens, Staffordshire – Returning for 2022, the Christmas at Trentham illuminated trail is designed to sprinkle a little Christmas magic, accentuate the flora and fauna and see the stunning historic landscape in a world of light and colour.

Christmas Light trails in and around the North West

Walton Hall Gardens, Warrington – A spectacular, illuminated trail, full of wonder and intrigue, to delight and enthral your senses. As darkness descends, enjoy an enchanting journey, as they weave a captivating light trail through the grounds of Walton Gardens. Immerse yourself in our mesmerising trail, with breath-taking lighting elements and fabulous light play, all set to ambient music. Read our review here.

Winter Illuminations at Yorkshire Wildlife Park – Their annual Winter Illuminations feature over 2,400 metres of illuminated trails filled with giant awe inspiring hand-crafted lanterns.  Explore the illuminated lands of Fairytale Kingdom, Animal Adventures, Under the Sea and much more. This magical night-time adventure sees our walk-through Wildlife Park come alive with an enchanting spectacle of light. This year promises an experience bigger, better and more electrifying than ever before!

If you’re planning on visiting one of the Christmas light trails in the North West, then I suggest you book early. These events just get more popular every year, and with good reason! They really are a wonderful way to get into the festive spirit.

18 Christmas light trails in and around the North West

Days Out: On safari at Knowsley Safari Park

Last weekend we hopped in the car and visited Knowsley Safari Park, we’d been invited to one of their family workshops, but once that was over we decided to buy a ticket and drive round the safari park itself.

We all have favourite animals, but we were all excited to see the scary lions and the cheeky monkeys. As we drove through the gates we didn’t know what to expect, it’d probably been about 20 years since I was there last and even longer for my husband.

It was Easter weekend and it was really very busy, the cars queued up to look at the ostriches and then queued some more to get into the lion enclosure. We locked the car and closed all the windows, I gripped the door handle, lest the small boy decided to make a bid for freedom at the most inappropriate time. He didn’t, thankfully. The lions were beautiful, majestic and very, very sleepy. I was very much in awe of them, such powerful creatures.

We drove on around the park catching glimpses of rhinos, zebra and an array of antelope; but we were most excited to see the cheeky monkeys. The small boy delighted in them leaping from car to car, running and capering around. Some vehicles had lots of monkeys all over them; we soon realised that despite notices, people were feeding them to encourage them onto their cars. Naughty!

Knowsley Safari Park

We didn’t have any food, nor would we have fed them, so it did take some time to lure a monkey onto our car, much to the screams of excited delight from all of us inside. We saw lots of baby monkeys and lots of mummy monkeys cuddling their babies. A few cars did get a “monkey MOT” which mainly involves removing or damaging windscreen wipes, aerials, mirrors and anything grabby, snappy and bendable. We managed to escape with our car intact.

We loved Knowsley Safari Park, which has much improved in the last 20 years and the small boy has talked of nothing else but the “cheeky monkeys on the car” ever since. It’s a grand day out!

Knowsley Safari Park – Feeding the Animals!

We were invited guests of Knowsley Safari Park. We were given free access to their Family Workshop in return for this review. All images and opinions are our own.

During the gloriously long Easter weekend we hotfooted it to Knowsley Safari Park to feed the boys burgeoning obsession with giraffes and cheeky monkeys.

We went primarily to check out their “Food and Feeding Family Workshop” which is two hours of fun and animal education for just £6.50 each.

The workshop was hosted by knowledgeable rangers, Nicky and Sue. They started by telling us about herbivores, carnivores and omnivores, then we got to meet and touch some. We met a Australian tree frog, some giant land snails, a rat and a pair of weird but harmless hissing cockroaches, as well as looking at some animal skulls and checking out their teeth.

We were then put to work preparing breakfast for the meercats. This involved stuffing fruit, dog biscuits and mealworms into holes drilled in small logs, then plugging the holes with melon. This was great, messy fun. We then carried our logs to the meercat enclosure and watched them eat their goodies. Meercats are really popular and they’re such funny little creatures close up. We watched them for a little while and they seemed to really enjoy their breakfast.

Later moved on to meet the giraffes. We climbed onto the feeding platform and we were set to work feeding Oliver. Oliver was a very handsome giraffe, he’s 14 years old and really very beautiful. We fed him carrots which he ate by reaching his long, black tongue out for, curling it round the carrot, then munching away. The boy loved this, giraffes are one of his favourite animals. I think he was quite taken aback at the size of them though.

Once the giraffes had full bellies we walked back to the safari school. We were soon put to work again making fruit kebabs on ropes for the Egyptian fruit bats. This was sticky, but fun work. Once we’d all made a kebab and washed our sticky hands, we took our bat treats to the indoor bat forest. The rangers hung the fruit kebabs from the trees while we all stood and watched them feed.

Knowsley Safari Park

I’m not easily spooked, but bats brushed my face and hair a few times and I wasn’t keen to stay for long. The boys loved it, so I stayed with them. As our eyes adjusted to the dark we watched the bats swoop onto the trees and devour their dinner.

Then it was back to the safari school to collect our certificates and badges and say goodbye. I think the family workshops are tremendous value and next time we go to Knowsley Safari Park, we’ll be looking to see what’s available. Our boy loved it. He was a bit young though, and the workshops are only really suitable for children aged 6 and over.

The family workshop was so much fun, we all really enjoyed it and we all learned something new. Not only that but we got to get up close and personal with some of our favourite animals. We’ll be back!

Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Knowsley Safari Park and were given free access to their Family Workshop for free in return for this honest review. It was brilliant and worth considering doing if you’re going.