It takes more than 50,000 hours, 90 tonnes of steel, 60,000 light bulbs and 40,000 metres of silk (enough to wrap around Longleat House 145 times) to create the biggest and best Chinese lantern Festival of Light in Britain.
Add 2,000 years of Chinese lantern history, one of the finest estates in England and a liberal sprinkling of Christmas magic, and this helps to illustrate the scale and spectacle which will be on show this year, on selected dates from November 10, through to January 6 2019.
Now firmly established as one of the most-anticipated events of the winter season, Longleat’s Festival of Light will once again not simply take the age-old tradition of the Chinese lantern but also completely transform it for a modern-day audience.
Nothing quite like The Festival of Light had ever been seen in the UK before it first appeared at Longleat in 2014 – as hundreds of illuminated designs helped to transform the world-famous Wiltshire estate into a glowing winter wonderland on a spectacular scale.
More than 1,000 breath-taking, illuminated lanterns – set in over 30 acres of Capability Brown landscaped grounds – will this year send visitors on “A Fantastic Voyage” in the company of three, new, Longleat characters: plucky brother and sister Harry and Bea, and their fearless terrier companion, Monty.
Each lantern scene will show this intrepid trio travelling through time and space exploring wondrous locations: from the exotic to the glacial; and filled with astonishing creatures, magnificent scenery, stunning structures and sensational modes of transportation.
Some of the most eye-catching installations this year will include a glorious hot air balloon; camels; an immense Great Pyramid towering 20 metres into the night sky; a 28-metre-long train, the Longleat Flyer; a rocket ship blasting-off into the dazzling solar system; gargantuan dinosaurs; medieval knights on horseback; and castle battlements.
The nation’s first and foremost Festival of Light will once again run alongside Longleat’s traditional Christmas celebrations, including the famous 20-metre-tall Enchanted Christmas Tree Show; the much-loved Santa Train; and a chance to enjoy all of the regular animal and adventure attractions, including the Safari WinterDrive-through, Jungle Kingdom, Monkey Temple, Jungle Cruise and Longleat Hedge Maze. Alongside these experiences, Longleat’s prestigious Elizabethan stately home will be dressed in traditional 1920s festive décor.
An entire day of festive fun at Longleat (including The Festival of Light, Winter Safari Drive-Through, Longleat House, and Enchanted Christmas Tree) start from walk-up day ticket priced at £34.95 for adults (online £31.45) and £26.20 for children (online £23.55).
There is also a chance to visit the special ‘Lantern Late Experiences’ on Thursdays in November (15, 22 and 29) with tickets priced at £24.95 for adults (online £22.45) and £18.70 for children (£16.80 online).
For ticket information and prices, visit https://fol.longleat.co.uk/tickets/festival-of-light.
Longleat will be open this winter on Friday November 9, and then every Friday-to-Sunday between to the end of November. It will then open daily from December 1 to January 6 (excluding Christmas Day).