CHRISTMAS is coming, and light trails are appearing across the UK to get us in the festive spirit.
There are arboretums decorated with glowing lanterns, colourful water shows at National Trust properties and even Alton Towers is gearing up for a glowing festive makeover.
Sophie Swietochowski uncovers some of the top light trails and where you can stay nearby.
MARVEL at glowing animals and water shows at Alton Towers’ new Lightopia event.
From November 27 until January 2, lanterns will decorate a walkway that takes visitors through the seasons.
Over on Towers Street, there’ll also be a Christmas market.
Make your trip to Staffordshire even more festive with the Santa’s Sleepover package, which includes a stay in one of the themed hotels, tickets to the garden light trail, a visit to Santa’s Grotto and entry to the theme park.
Tickets to the trail and market cost from £20pp, while the Santa’s Sleepover experience is from £85pp. See altontowers.com.
The National Aboretum
KIDS can work their way through this multi-coloured woodland at Westonbirt in Gloucestershire, looking for clues as they reunite Santa with his lost reindeer.
There will be light displays, a Christmas village with food and drink stalls and fairground rides.
Five minutes up the road is the Hare and Hounds Hotel (cotswold-inns-hotels.co.uk), which has cosy B&B doubles from £140 per night.
The Search For The Lost Reindeer experience opens on November 26 and runs until December 21, from 4pm until 9.30pm.
Tickets cost £18 per adult and £9 for children at boxoffice.forestryengland.uk.
THERE will be singing trees, glittering snowflakes and luminous stars hanging in the trees of these Georgian gardens in Tyne and Wear.
From November 26 until January 2, the National Trust property will be getting a winter makeover, with cosy walks and a fire garden.
Head to the Hilton Hotel (hilton.com) up in Gateshead and stay in a four-person family room from £148 per night.
The trail opens at 4.30pm. Tickets cost £18 per adult, £13 per child and £58 per family (two adults and two children).
On-site parking costs £8 per car. See christmasatgibside.co.uk.
FIREWORK trees will be dripping in colour as more than a million lights and lasers brighten the Oxfordshire stately home for Christmas.
There is a Christmas market and for an extra charge, visitors can enter the palace for the Nutcracker experience.
Stay at The Bear And Ragged Staff (bearandraggedstaff.com) ten miles away in Cumnor.
The cosy Tudor pub does cracking food and has family rooms at £264 a night. The light trail will be open from November 19 to January 2.
Tickets cost £22.50 per adult, £16 for kids. See blenheimpalace.com.
THE gardens of Kew in South West London are magnificent enough, but even more spectacular with the colourful winter installations.
The Christmas trail, which launches on November 17, will feature a panoramic light display at the Palm House, a fire garden and stalls selling mulled drinks.
Stay at the Travelodge, a ten-minute walk away. It has B&B family rooms for £56.49pn.
The Kew Gardens light trail is open until January 9, from 4pm to 10pm each evening.
Tickets from £21.50 per adult and £16.50 per child. Be quick, they will soon sell out. See kew.org.
THE Wondrous Woods trail at this stately home near Edinburgh leads you past centuries-old trees and glowing installations.
Children will be on the lookout for Woody the owl as they explore themed areas.
Stay at the DoubleTree By Hilton next to the Queensferry crossing, which has plenty of availability for the next couple of weekends.
Around 30 minutes by car from Edinburgh, the hotel has doubles from £158pn.
Wondrous Woods is open until November 21. Tickets cost from £9 per child and £19 per adult. See wondrouswoods.com.
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