What is Christmas at Stourhead?
The magical, after-dark, illuminated trail
For the very first time at Stourhead the tree-tops will glisten and the gardens will shimmer and sparkle. It's definitely the most wonderful time of the year to wander beneath unique tree canopies drenched in seasonal colour and dripping with shards of light, frosty snowflakes, stars and baubles.
As you walk through a Tunnel of Light festooned by over 100,000 pea-lights, the mesmerising voices of the Singing Trees can be heard in the distance. Glowing blossom rises high into the night sky and twinkling hedgerows lead you on a path towards thousands of illuminated lights on Fibre Optic Lawn. Stroll towards the lake and pause at the waterside reflections on the shimmering surface.
There are hidden surprises too - immerse yourself within playful ribbons of colour changing light, step into a Laser Garden and stop at the scented Fire Garden for a moment of reflection. Have a holly, jolly Christmas and complete your walk under the stars with spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate*.
Gather around the fire-pit with family and friends to toast marshmallows* and end the evening browsing Stourhead's well-stocked gift shop. Don't forget the journey home, why not pick up some treats to take away. For the young ones in all of us there are traditional Victorian fairground rides* and don't forget to glimpse Father Christmas and his elves along the way.
*Separate charges apply
What are the dates for Christmas at Stourhead?
Friday 29th November - Sunday 1st December
Thursday 5th December - Sunday 8th December
Thursday 12th December - Tuesday 24th December
Thursday 26th December - Monday 30th December
What are the trail times?
4:20pm*, 4:40pm*, 5:00pm, 5:30pm, 6:00pm, 6:30pm, 7:00pm, 7:20pm*, 7:40pm*, 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 by taxi please pre-book your taxi with local taxi companies in advance of your travel.
Who is Christmas at the Stourhead suitable for?
Christmas at Stourhead is suitable for all ages - to be enjoyed by everyone.
Should I arrive in advance of my visit time?
We would advise arriving 15 minutes before your chosen trail start time.
I am visiting Stourhead during the day, do I need to leave before entering Christmas at Stourhead in the evening?
The Garden will close at 15.45 but the Top Courtyard (Shop and Restaurant) and Spreadeagle Courtyard (Gallery and pub) will remain open throughout the day.
If you are visiting Stourhead both during the day and in the evening for Christmas at Stourhead, then please display your pre-booked car parking ticket throughout your stay.
Can we see Father Christmas at Christmas at Stourhead?
At this time of year, Father Christmas is very busy and will not have time to meet children individually. Be sure to catch a glimpse of Father Christmas along the trail!
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?
Friday 14th June
Where can I buy tickets from?
You can buy tickets for Christmas at Stourhead online here or by calling SEE Tickets on: 0844 995 1364 (calls cost £0.07 per minute plus your network access charge).
Do I have to book in advance / can I book on the day?
We recommend that you book early. 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?
All ticket prices apply to National Trust members and non-members.
Adult - ADVANCE £18.00 - ON THE DAY £20.00
Child (3-16 years) - ADVANCE £12.00 - ON THE DAY £14.00
Family* - ADVANCE £56.00 - ON THE DAY £64.00
*Family ticket: 2 adults and 2 children (aged 3-16). Children under 3 and carers go free.
All orders are subject to a single transaction charge. For tickets booked via SEE Tickets: £2.00 per transaction for print at home tickets and £2.50 for tickets sent by first class post.
I'm a member - do I still need to pay or do I get a discount?
There is no discount offered to National Trust members on their ticket admission price for Christmas at Stourhead. National Trust members will receive free parking for the event 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.
Do I need to buy a parking ticket to park?
Yes, parking is limited and a parking space MUST be purchased in advance either online here or by calling SEE Tickets on: 0844 995 1364 (calls cost £0.07 per minute plus your network access charge). Car parking and Blue Badge parking is charged at £8.00 per car and a transaction fee will apply if car parking is booked separately.
National Trust Members park for free but parking 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.
How can I organise a group and is there a group rate?
If you wish to make a group booking for 15 or more people, please contact SEE Tickets by phone on 0844 995 1364 (calls cost £0.07 per minute plus your network access charge).
Alternatively, you can email SEE Groups firstname.lastname@example.org
Group discounts are not available to book online and apply to adult tickets only.
Can I buy tickets at the venue?
There will be an on-site box office from Friday 29th November to Monday 30th December which is located in the Visitor Reception. You will be able to purchase tickets for the Christmas Light Trail; subject to availability. The box office will be open from 2pm.
How/when will I receive my tickets?
Your delivery options are either E-Tickets (print-at-home) or Standard Delivery. If you choose the E-Ticket option, your tickets will be attached to your confirmation email. If you choose the Standard Delivery option, your tickets should be with you a week prior to the event. The fee for Standard Delivery tickets covers the costs of packing and delivering the tickets to you.
I chose Standard Delivery when purchasing my tickets but have not received my tickets in the post.
If you have not received your tickets a week prior to the event please call SEE Tickets on: 0844 995 1364 (calls cost £0.07 per minute plus your network access charge). Alternatively, you can contact the SEE Customer Service team here. You will need to have your Reference Number at hand.
What are the last entry times?
The last entry time onto the trail will be 20 minutes after your chosen time slot.
If I am delayed and miss my slot, can I join a later slot?
Yes, we will try and accommodate you on the next slot.
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 event.
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.
Where does the trail start and what is the route?
It is a circular route which starts from Visitor Reception, sweeps past the house and drops down in to the landscape garden to finish by the Bristol Cross.
Are there toilets on the trail?
Toilets are available at the start of the trail at the Visitors Reception and at the Spread Eagle Courtyard (both approximately half a mile from furthest point on the trail).
Are dogs allowed at Christmas at Stourhead?
Dogs are allowed in the Garden in the daytime until 3:45pm. After the Garden has closed, only guide/assistance dogs will be allowed along the trail.
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 event 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.
Can I take photographs?
We encourage you to take photographs and to share these on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #ChristmasAtStourhead. You can also follow the developments across our Christmas Trails via 'My Christmas Trails' on Facebook.
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 another trail is designed so all elements can be viewed from the pathways.
Accessible toilets are situated at the Visitor Centre at the Spread Eagle Courtyard (both approximately half a mile from furthest point on the trail).
Do you have disabled parking?
Yes, there are spaces available close to the entrance and these should be booked at the same time of purchasing your trail ticket. Blue Badge parking is charged at £8.00 per car.
Is the trail accessible for wheelchair users?
The illuminated trail is approximately one mile in length. Wheelchairs are accommodated, however due to the natural landscape, short sections of the trail include steep descents and mixed terrain and may not be appropriate for domestic scooters and wheelchairs. There will be stewards throughout the trail to assist patrons, specifically through these sections.
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 at Christmas at Stourhead. You are therefore welcome to bring your own.
Can I purchase food and drink on site?
There will be a number of seasonal food and drink options serving seasonal hand-held food, catering also for younger visitors. Hot chocolate, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts will also be on offer. Visitors can also toast marshmallows at one of our purpose-built fire pits. Please note that there is no cash point on site.
Please do not bring in external food and drink.
What shopping facilities are there?
The National Trust shop will be open until 21:30.
How much are Vintage Fairground Tokens?
Ride Token Vouchers can be purchased in advance for £10.00 here (in exchange for 5 x Ride Tokens on site). Alternatively, Ride Token Vouchers can be purchased on the night.
What rides are available and are there height or age restrictions?
There will be a selection of vintage fairground rides for children under 6 to enjoy.
What will happen if the weather is bad? Will the trail be cancelled?
If the weather presents a hazard and a risk to safety, any decision to cancel the event will be taken at 2pm on the day of the event. 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 our website for the latest updates here.
If I am unable to attend a different day, can I get a refund?
If the event is cancelled due to weather 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 event date. We can also offer tickets for the following year.
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.
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 these events. The best visual work is sensitive to light "competition" and the brightness of one light source relative to another. We therefore take advantage of environmental darkness to reduce the overall brightness of our lighting interventions, and allow ample between audience experiences for people's eyes to attune to the darkness. That allows them to appreciate the sights and sounds of the natural environment in contrast to, and in the context of our artistic installations. We try to avoid continuous lighting of 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 event's sustainability has been built into the planning. The end result of which we hope will inspire and engage new and existing visitors.
• The trail designers, Culture Creative, work closely with National Trust advisers at all times and 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 roads adjacent to the venue.
Ecological Impact Statement
The event 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 this event 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 event progresses.
This event is planned and installed, by private company, Culture Creative Limited. Culture Creative specialises in events 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 this event spans from the end of November to late December, the time of year in which there is least wildlife activity. Many protected species such as bats and amphibians should be hibernating. 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, and with two rest nights on three out of the five weeks of operation. These restrictions on the open nights and times will reduce any impacts upon wildlife.
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 this event.
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 installations 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 this event upon reptiles or amphibians as they should be hibernating away from the water at this time of year.
We monitor activity in setts close to the trail for any adverse effect on the badgers underground. It is quite possible that visitors will glimpse them since the badgers are to some extent used to public presence in the evenings and are very inquisitive. To protect them from ingesting unsuitable foods, badger-proof bins are used at the catering points and any litter put into them at the end of each open evening.
The material to be used for the fire displays in the Fire garden and fire pits is soya wax and charcoal respectively.
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 events 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.
Raymond Gubbay Limited - http://d28dgqydv1gb3f.cloudfront.net/media/1546/gdprdoc1.pdf
SEE Tickets - https://www.seetickets.com/content/terms-and-conditions