Feeling festive at Helmingham Hall's Illuminated Garden Trail

Helmingham Hall

Helmingham Hall is lit up until December 19 - Credit: Archant

Christmas parties are once again in jeopardy, and many of us are scaling back out socialising for fear of missing out on Christmas with loved ones.

But we returned to Helmingham Hall for their Illuminated Garden Trail on Wednesday night to once again immerse ourselves in the pre-Christmas festivities - and being spaced out across the stunning grounds of the Tudor-style manor house, it felt completely safe and risk free.

lit up umbrella

An umbrella with lights raining down at Helmingham Hall - Credit: Archant

The trail has this year been reversed, mixing it up for those of us who have been visiting religiously since it launched in 2018.

It starts on the opposite side of the house and you can enjoy the beauty of the lights reflecting on the moat before stopping at the tennis courts for refreshment ahead of the trail beginning in earnest.

This used to be the last stop but it makes sense to fuel yourself up before your hour-long walk among the fairy-lights.

The fire pits were blazing and children were toasting marshmallows (available from the bar at £2.50 for each s'more kit), while adults enjoyed a warming shot of alcohol from the mobile bar or a freshly-cooked hot dog, which come highly recommended.

The trail then leads through the wooded area of the gardens, and this part is usually particularly peaceful and a highlight of the trip for us. It was slightly busier this year and it took some careful pacing to give ourselves the space to be able to take it all in.

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Helmingham's gardens are perfectly manicured, and the lights accentuate each of the features - a swirl of lights even wrap around the banks of a small pond to create an image of greater depth.

The arches in the walled garden are great if you are looking for that perfect Insta shot, and children will love the cascading stars string from those you cannot walk through.

The trail leads over the bridge to the courtyard where guests are offered a complimentary mulled wine to be enjoyed around the giant Christmas tree.

gingerbread lights

The gingerbread were new at Helmingham Hall's Illuminated Garden Trail 2021 - Credit: Archant

Afterwards there is a short walk through the formal gardens which is the most entertaining element with illuminated welly boots and twinkling umbrellas - a new addition I do not recall seeing in the past.

This year the event has been expanded with a mini Christmas market in the stable block. This combined with the resident gift shops offers up a a fair selection of unique gifts, festive foods and decorations.

The trial runs until Sunday, December 19. Tickets cost £13 for adults or a family ticket is available for £34. Visit the website to buy. 

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