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What is Christmas at Stourhead?
Following last year's success, surround yourself with sparkle this Christmas as the after-dark trail lights up for 2020.
You'll find new moments to share with family and friends - brand new bright lights for winter nights. Enter a world festooned with seasonal cheer enhanced by a soundtrack of festive classics, as you wander beneath unique tree canopies drenched in Christmas colour. Discover giant luminescent sculptures rising high into the night sky and trees wrapped in light on your way to Crocus Lawn, where a carpet of larger than life flora glows gently in the moonlight. Framed by glittering trees, stroll along Heart Walk and beside reflections dancing playfully on the lake.
What are the dates of Christmas at Stourhead?
Friday 4th December - Sunday 6th December
Thursday 10th December - Wednesday 23rd December
Friday 11th December - Thursday 24th December
Thursday 26th December - Sunday 3rd January
What are the trail times?
4:30pm*, 4:45pm, 5:00pm, 5:15pm, 5:30pm, 5:45pm, 6:00pm, 6:15pm, 6:30pm, 6:45pm, 7:00pm, 7:15pm*, 7:30pm*, 7:45pm*, 8:00pm*
* Not available for every date
Where is Christmas at Stourhead and how do I get there?
Address: Stourhead, near Mere, Wiltshire, BA12 6SH
By train: From Stourhead, the two closest train stations are Gillingham (6.5 miles away) and Bruton (7 miles away)
By road: Follow the brown signs off A303 and B3092 from Frome
If you are planning to arrive and depart from Stourhead by taxi, please pre-book your taxi with local taxi companies in advance of your travel.
Who is Christmas at Stourhead suitable for?
Christmas at Stourhead is suitable for all ages - to be enjoyed by everyone.
Should I arrive in advance of my ticketed time slot?
We would advise arriving at the start of the trail 5 minutes before you are due to begin the trail. If you arrive at the venue earlier, please wait in your car.
I am visiting Stourhead during the day, do I need to leave the site before entering Christmas at Stourhead in the evening?
Last entry to the gardens will be 2.30pm with the gardens closing at 3.30pm, but the Top Courtyard (Shop and Restaurant) and Spread Eagle Courtyard (Gallery and pub) will remain open throughout the day. You are able to remain at Stourhead in these areas when waiting for your trail start time.
Please note that there is no access to the garden after 3:00pm on trail days.
Can we see Father Christmas?
At this time of year, Father Christmas is extremely busy so is unable to meet children individually, however be sure to look out for him as he will be on the trail this Christmas!
Will there be strobe lighting?
There will be lighting sequences created within the lighting design that will have some flashing lights contained within them, however, these will not be strobe lighting. We have worked to guidelines on photosensitive epilepsy and will adhere to the industry standard of synchronising effects and locking the sequences to ensure that lights do not operate at more than 5 flashes per second.
What should I wear?
Christmas at Stourhead takes place outdoors and you may need to queue on busy days. Please wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear for winter weather. We reserve the right to refuse inappropriately clothed patrons access to the trail if it is felt they are open to a greater risk of injury.
When do tickets go on sale?
General on sale for Christmas at Stourhead is Monday 13th July.
Where can I buy tickets from?
You can buy tickets for Christmas at Stourhead online here.
Do I have to book in advance?
We recommend that you book early to avoid disappointment. Each timed entry has a limited capacity and the early evening and weekend slots are likely to sell out.
What are the prices for Christmas at Stourhead?
*Adult/Carer Trail Entry & a Parking Space includes 1 Adult/Carer Trail Entry Admission Ticket and 1 Parking Space. Family Trail Entry & a Parking Space includes 4 Trail Entry Admission Tickets and 1 Parking Space.
** Family consists of 2 adults and 2 children (aged 3-16). Infants (0-2 years) on the day of the illuminated trail and carers go free (carers should be 16+). Infant and carer tickets must be booked in advance.
All orders are subject to a single transaction charge; £2.00 per transaction for E-Tickets.
Can I buy additional tickets?
Yes, subject to availability. If you require any additional entry admission tickets after placing your order please click here and scroll down to “To add to an existing order” to add any ticket types you require. Please note that you will need to have your Reference Number at hand.
Do I need to buy a car parking ticket to park at Christmas at Stourhead?
Yes, parking is limited and a parking space MUST be purchased in advance along with your trail entry tickets online.
National Trust Members park for free but parking tickets MUST be booked in advance with a trail ticket. Proof of valid membership MUST be shown on arrival – failure to do so will result in full price car-parking charge. Members will be charged a transaction fee if parking is booked separately.
If you are planning to arrive by car, please ensure that your ticket includes a parking space. Please note that every Adult Trail Entry or Family Trail Entry ticket including a parking space that you select will give you an additional parking space. Please ensure you select the correct amount of tickets with and without parking for your party.
If you require additional parking spaces after your initial order has been made, please click here and scroll down to “To add to an existing order”. Additional car parking tickets cost £8.00 per car and a transaction fee will apply if car parking is booked separately.
As I am a member of the National Trust, do I still need to pay for Christmas at Stourhead?
There is no discount offered to National Trust members on their ticket admission price for Christmas at Stourhead. National Trust members will receive a free parking space for the illuminated trail which MUST be booked online with a trail ticket and one valid National Trust membership card per vehicle is required on arrival. Failure to do either will result in full price car-parking charge. Members will be charged a transaction fee if parking is booked separately.
Is there a dedicated drop-off & pick-up area?
There is no dedicated drop-off area available but the car parking team will assist you on arrival.
How can I organise a group visit and is there a group rate?
There is a group rate of 10% off groups of 15+ adults. Please email SEE Tickets Groups: firstname.lastname@example.org
Group discounts are not available to book online and apply to adult tickets only.
All customers are reminded to be aware of the latest government legislation when visiting the light trail. Please be mindful that legislation may change between time of booking and day of visit.
We will be arriving by coach, do we need to reserve a coach parking space?
Yes, there is space for 2 coaches per evening. Coach parking is charged at £20.00 per coach and MUST be booked in advance by emailing SEE Tickets Groups on email@example.com
How/when will I receive my tickets?
Your E-Tickets will be attached to your confirmation email.
I bought tickets but have not received a confirmation email. What should I do?
Please check your Junk / Spam folders as sometimes the confirmation email falls into these folders. If you still have not received your confirmation email, please use the Chat Bot located in the bottom right corner of your screen and explain that you have not received your confirmation email. Alternatively, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Why are only E-Tickets available?
In order to limit the amount of contact that is required with distributing hard stock tickets, we have taken the decision to only issue E-Tickets this year.
If I am unable to print my E-Tickets or display my tickets on a phone, what should I do?
If you are unable to print your E-Tickets or if you are unable to display your tickets on your phone on arrival at the trail, please email email@example.com where a Customer Service representative will be able to advise you on what to do.
I chose Standard Delivery when purchasing my tickets but have not received my tickets in the post. What should I do?
If you had chosen standard delivery tickets, please note your tickets will now become E-Tickets and will be sent directly to your inbox. As mentioned above, please check your Junk / Spam folders as sometimes the emails fall into these folders. If you are still unable to locate your email, please use the Chat Bot located in the bottom right corner of your screen or alternatively, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
How long is the trail?
The trail is approximately one mile long. We recommend that it will take approximately 1.5 hours to explore and enjoy all aspects of the trail. Please allow extra time if you would like to enjoy the refreshments and shopping in both the Top Courtyard and Spread Eagle Courtyard.
Are there toilets on the trail?
Toilets are available at the start of the trail at the Top Courtyard and at the Spread Eagle Courtyard (both approximately half a mile from furthest point on the trail).
Are dogs allowed on the trail?
Dogs are not allowed on the Christmas At Stourhead trail unless they are registered assistance dogs.
Is the trail dark or covered?
In some areas the lighting will be low level as this is part of the experience. We do encourage visitors to bring along a torch in case of an emergency - this should not be used unless it is necessary.
The trail is not covered and all visitors are reminded that this is an outdoor illuminated trail and the weather may be inclement. Please wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear.
We reserve the right to refuse inappropriately clothed patrons access to the walk, if it is felt they are open to greater risk of injury.
If I am delayed and miss my slot, can I join a later slot?
We will try and accommodate you on the next available slot within the trail operational hours on the day. Please ensure you leave enough time for your journey if you are travelling a long way.
What are the last entry times?
Last entry will be at 7:15pm on the following days:
Thu 24th, Sat 26th & Thu 31st Dec
Last entry will be at 8:00pm on the following days:
Fri 27th & Sun 29th Nov, Thu 3rd, Fri 4th, Sun 6th, Thurs 10th, Fri 11th, Tues 15th, Wed 16th, Thu 17th, Wed 18th, Sun 27th, Mon 28th, Tues 29th & Wed 30th Dec, Fri 1st, Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd Jan
Last entry time will be 8.15pm on all other days.
Illuminated trail close 10pm*
*subject to change, see website for details
What time does the illuminated trail finish?
All customers must exit the car park by no later than 2 hours after the last trail start time and in all cases by 10:00pm.
Can I bring my drone?
Drones are not permitted.
Can I take photographs?
Yes, you are welcome to take photographs and to share these on social media with the hashtag #ChristmasAtStourhead. You can also follow the developments across our Christmas Trails via 'My Christmas Trails' on Facebook and Instagram.
What provision do you have for disabled guests?
The trail will be created to be as accessible as possible within the context of the natural site of Stourhead. The route is all on gravel pathways and the trail is designed so all elements can be viewed from the pathways.
Accessible toilets are situated at the Top Courtyard and at the Spread Eagle Courtyard (both approximately half a mile from furthest point on the trail).
After the Garden has closed at 3:00pm, only assistance dogs will be allowed along the trail.
Do you have disabled parking?
Yes, there are spaces available close to the entrance and these should be booked when purchasing your trail ticket. Blue Badge parking is charged at £8.00 per car.
If you have not included Blue Badge Parking within your order, please scroll down to "To add to an existing order" here to add your parking. Please not that these spaces are limited and must be purchased in advance.
Is the trail accessible for wheelchair users?
The illuminated trail is approximately one mile in length. The trail includes gravel pathways with some gradual and steeper slopes. Wheelchairs are accommodated, though paths can be uneven in places so discretion is needed and it may not be suitable for all wheelchair users.
If weather conditions mean that the trail is not fully accessible for people using wheeled mobility aids, consideration will be made on a case by case basis to allow tickets to be transferred to an alternative date when the ground conditions are more appropriate.
Can I bring my mobility scooter or can mobility scooters be provided?
Mobility scooters will not be available to hire at Christmas at Stourhead. You are therefore welcome to bring your own.
Am I eligible for a free carer's ticket?
Free admission is available for essential carers. This should be booked via SEE Tickets at the same time as purchasing all other illuminated trail tickets and parking spaces.
I need more than one carer, what should I do?
If you require more than one carer, please visit Customer Service here. You will need your Booking Reference Number at hand.
Is there a 'quieter access' session?
Yes. These sessions are for adults and young people who would love to experience Christmas at Stourhead without the usual high volumes of people. The sessions will begin at twilight before the illuminated trail opens to the public, making the transition into the dark much easier. For Christmas at Stourhead 2020, this will be held on Wednesday the 16th of December.
The capacity of these sessions will be limited to ensure that the trail remains less crowded and more relaxed.
It should be noted that on many of our trails the path network is not tarmac, and although there are stewards along the route to assist you, the trail will follow the natural contours of the landscape and paths can be steep at times.
Wheelchairs, mobility scooters and trampers will not be available to hire on site, so please make any necessary arrangements for these prior to your visit. They are accommodated but discretion is required as the trail may not be suitable for all aids. Stewards will assist where possible but this cannot be guaranteed.
Ticket prices for our quieter sessions are consistent with the rest of the illuminated trail, with carers entering for free. When booking, please talk to our staff about any additional support you may need for exiting the illuminated trail through quieter areas or help with parking closer to the start of the trail.
To book these sessions please use this link
Can I purchase food and drink on site?
At present, this area of the illuminated trail is under review. More information regarding catering will follow shortly.
Unfortunately marshmallows will not be available to purchase this year and fire pits will not be installed on the trail.
What shopping facilities are there?
The National Trust shop will be open until 9:30pm. First View Art Gallery will be open until 8:30pm.
How much are Ride Tokens and what rides will be available?
Upon review and due to the ongoing uncertainty, a decision has been made to not offer rides at Christmas at Stourhead this year. We are sorry if this causes any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding
What will happen if the weather is bad? Will the trail be cancelled?
Christmas at Stourhead is an outdoor illuminated trail. If the weather presents a hazard and a risk to safety, any decision to cancel the illuminated trail will be taken by 2pm on the day of the illuminated trail. If you booked your ticket online or by telephone via SEE Tickets, you will be notified by email and text message and you will be informed of the re-booking process. We advise you to check the website for the latest updates and before you travel.
If I am unable to attend on a different day, can I get a refund?
If the illuminated trail is cancelled in line with the cancellation policy and ticket holders are not able to attend an alternative night offered, then a refund will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Where a refund is due, the ticket must be returned within 28 days following the illuminated trail date. We can also offer tickets for the following year. The transaction fee is not refundable under any circumstances.
I have booked for the wrong day - can I transfer over to another day?
No, we are unable to offer exchanges or refunds once tickets have been purchased. It is noted on the website and at the point of booking that you need to make sure that you have chosen the right date and time slot at the time of making your booking.
All ticket holders whose bookings are affected by current government restrictions will receive an email from See Tickets with a rescheduled date.
I have lost my ticket, what can I do?
If your tickets are lost or if you require your E-Tickets to be re sent to you, please contact SEE Tickets here. Please note that you will need to have your Reference Number at hand and this will render your original tickets invalid.
The trail will be architecturally lit by experienced lighting designers who have developed sensitive ways of working in heritage and landscape settings.
Responding to the natural darkness of sites is key to the success of the illuminated trails. The best visual work is sensitive to light "competition" and the brightness of one light source relative to another. We therefore take advantage of the environmental darkness to reduce the overall brightness of our lighting interventions, and allow ample space within our audience experiences for people's eyes to attune to the darkness, then to allow them to appreciate the sights and sounds of the natural environment as a contrast to, and context, for our artistic efforts. We try to avoid continuous lighting of trails and paths, and will only use audience area lighting where it is absolutely necessary for reasons of public safety.
Sound installations are created to provide atmosphere and a sense of feeling for an installation. All sounds are targeted and specific to a part of the route and are therefore contained within defined spaces, therefore there is no noise pollution over and above the natural sound level created by the presence of audiences on the trail.
Fuel for power generation is kept to a minimum by efficient use of power loadings and low wattage lighting units where appropriate.
- Consideration for the illuminated trails sustainability has been built into the planning process for the delivery of the illuminated trail, the end result of which we hope will be to inspire and engage new and existing visitors.
- The trail designers, Culture Creative, have been appointed on the strength of their experience of working in environmentally sensitive ways in heritage and landscape settings.
- Specific attention is given to power, and where possible we use mains power. Where generators are needed, these are carefully specified and operated to ensure the most efficient fuel usage. Low wattage lighting units are used where appropriate on the trail.
- Culture Creative's design ethos is to take advantage of the environmental darkness to reduce the overall brightness of their lighting interventions, whilst maximising the effects of their artistic efforts.
- Continuous lighting of trails and paths will be avoided, and we will only use audience area lighting where it is absolutely necessary for reasons of public safety.
- Care is also taken to ensure that we are considerate of our neighbours who live in the immediate area.
Ecological Impact Statement
The illuminated trail will not be open every night and its impact must be considered both from the standpoint of the venue itself and in relation to surrounding sites.
In order to assess the likely impact of the illuminated trail both a desk study and workaround surveys are conducted on each site. The route proposed for the trail, is walked and checked on a regular basis with horticultural staff from the venue, this is an ongoing process and will be constantly checked as the design of the illuminated trail progresses.
The illuminated trail is planned and installed, by private company, Culture Creative Limited. Culture Creative specialises in illuminated trails of this kind which are often in sensitive venues with high biodiversity and important historical heritage. Its' staff have valuable experience in minimising any negative impacts which might be anticipated and work with venue staff to meet and resolve any concerns which arise.
The duration of the illuminated trails spans to the autumn/winter period, the time of year in which there is least wildlife activity. Many protected species such as bats and amphibians should be hibernating. These are unlikely to be affected unless the illuminated trail passes directly over their hibernation sites. The earliest bird nesting activity is to be expected from February onwards but all the equipment will have been removed well before then. In addition it is open for a maximum of six hours only each night. These restrictions on the open nights and times will reduce any impacts upon wildlife particularly as outdoor events take place at the venue regularly and resident wildlife has adapted to the existing level of disturbance.
Generators used on the route are very quiet and will be inaudible from the trail and from any wildlife habituation. The power will be carried using cabling which has been used previously in sites with wildlife populations with no adverse effects. Much of the lighting will be floor based to highlight trees. The trees form part of the cultivated collections at each venue and their welfare is paramount as part of the planning of the illuminated trail.
Where possible routes will be on hard surfaces i.e. paths. They pass through areas which are well-walked by visitors daily and will not take in any sections of grass with sensitive wild floras.
Sound and lighting installations surrounding trees or on areas of water where a number of birds have the potential to roost are modified and designed to minimise any potential for damage to birds.
Reptiles and amphibians
There should be no impact from the illuminated trail upon reptiles or amphibians as they should be hibernating away from the water at this time of year.
Every care is taken to ensure that any potential bat roosting holes in trees are not lit directly to avoid any potential disturbance during the bat hibernation season.
Our illuminated trails are small, tightly contained, and open for limited hours at a very dormant time of year. It is perceived that we do not foresee any adverse effect on wildlife.
The material to be used for the fire displays in the Fire garden and fire pits is soya wax and charcoal respectively.