Days Out: Luminate Cheshire at Walton Hall Gardens

Every year, we meet up with family and spend an evening, wrapped up against the cold, enjoying one of the Christmas light trails in the North West. This year, because we’d heard good things, we visited Luminate Cheshire at Walton Hall Gardens near Warrington.

We arrived on the first very cold evening of the winter, there was a sprinkling of snow on the ground and we were all well bundled up against the cold. Entry is timed, and the trail takes around 90 minutes to walk around. Although the car park is small, there was a brisk turnaround and we managed to find a couple of spaces and parking is free.

Luminate Cheshire at Walton Hall Gardens

The Walton Hall Gardens Christmas light trail – Luminate Cheshire is approximately 1.4km long. The trail isn’t entirely flat, it is pretty even and was suitable for buggy pushers and people who aren’t always so great on their feet, like me. There are stewards around every corner, so if you get stuck, you’re never far from help if you need it. It feels very accessible and there is matting down at potentially muddy points. It’s always best to wrap up warm for these things and wear sensible boots of shoes.

You begin the trail at the riding stables, which was a lovely start. There were some refreshment stalls and a couple of little Christmassy shops to look around. Since it was very cold, we decided to fortify ourselves with some mulled wine to drink on our walk, which was the very best idea.

Luminate Cheshire at Walton Hall Gardens

Luminate Cheshire at Walton Hall Gardens

This beautiful illuminated trail has new and exciting displays around every corner. I’ve been to a fair few Christmas light trails over the years. I thought I’d seen everything, but Luminate managed to have so many surprising and lovely elements, we loved it. From the enchanted fairy garden, with little cages with a dancing Tinkerbell inside. To the drum pavilion where you and your family can drum away and watch a giant rabbit on a big screen mirror your musical rhythms.

We stopped approximately half way for a toasted marshmallow break. We all huddled around the fire pits, toasting giant marshmallows and gobbling them down greedily. Beyond the fire pits was a “Make a Wish” wall, where you were invited to write your wish on a tag and hang it up. I hope at least some of those wishes come true!

Luminate Cheshire at Walton Hall Gardens

My lad really liked the searchlights which you can control with a joystick. I had a go too and enjoyed making the light dance in the sky. There were several Instagramable light tunnels to walk through, and there was a glitterball forest which we all loved. The talking tree which told terrible jokes and the field of rainbow lights. The Hall was the backdrop to a breath-taking Christmas projection and it just felt like there were so many wow moments and amazing displays to enjoy.

Luminate Cheshire at Walton Hall Gardens

Our group ranged from some giddy 4 year olds, to some equally giddy retirees. Every one of us was dazzled by the displays and impressed with how innovative and interesting some of them were. We really loved it and although there’s no Father Christmas, there is an awful lot to impress and astonish. We were lucky with the weather, though whilst cold, it was clear and bright, with my son pointing out constellations in the night sky!

Luminate Cheshire at Walton Hall Gardens

There is limited availability, and early booking is advised. Admission tickets cost: Adult £19.50, Child £14.50 (age 3-16). Family £62 (2 adults and 2 children). Parking is free. You can book via the Luminate Cheshire website.

Luminate Cheshire at Walton Gardens will run nightly from Thursday 24th November 2022 until Friday 24th December 2022. Tickets must be pre-booked online in advance.

Walton Hall Luminate

If you enjoyed this, you might like to read our round up of Christmas Light Trails in the North West.

Note: We paid for our tickets in full.

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