UK’s best Christmas Lights
Article may contain sponsored links

Where to See the UK’s Best Christmas Lights

You don't need kids to enjoy the stunning displays of breathtaking Christmas lights this winter. The question is, where will you head to first?

Naomi Chadderton
Naomi Chadderton
An experienced editor and journalist specialising in news and lifestyle.

Is there any better way to get in the festive spirit than with a trip to see some Christmas illuminations? We think not. Each year bigger and brighter than the last, the UK’s best Christmas light displays take over parks and zoos to gardens and even palaces, where everything from twinkling tunnels, LED lights, lasers, swirls and glowing lanterns light up the landscape for a jolly good spectacle.

Without further ado, here are some of the best Christmas lights on show this December.

Leonardslee Illuminated, West Sussex

Featuring everything from spellbinding illuminations and projections to interactive installations, the Christmas lights at these Grade I-listed gardens near Horsham are a sight to behold. Awash with light, sound and colour – the centrepiece is a giant illuminated Earth romantically suspended over the lakes - expect everything from large-scale shows and music to theatrical performances alongside seasonal food and drink, funfair rides and a Christmas market.

The setting alone is truly magical with the 24-acre estate boasting rare trees, a deer park, a colony of wallabies and an acclaimed rock garden.

INFO: Leonardslee Lake and Gardens, Horsham, West Sussex. Adults, £16; children aged 2-15, £9; children under 2 and carers go free. 24-26 November, 1-3 December, 7-10 December, 12-21 December 2023.

Christmas at Kew, London

Perhaps the most popular Christmas light display in the capital, Christmas at Kew brings a dazzling display of light, colour and festive magic to southwest London. Made famous thanks to its impressive 2.7km trail of glittering lights, each year the Unesco World Heritage Site gardens are transformed into an enchanted wonderland with projected light shows and ornately decorated flora and fauna that are a feast for all the senses.

New this year, be sure to check out Kew’s contemporary art installation, The Hive, which is a 17-metre high multisensory installation created by British artist Wolfgang Buttress, and is connected to a real bee colony, expressing its life in light and sound, as well as Lili by TILT, which will find guests wandering through three-metre-tall illuminated flowers that will tower over guests on winter evening. Tickets are always in high demand, so be sure to act fast.

INFO: Kew Gardens, London. Adults from £19.50; children aged 4-15 from £19; children under 4 go free. Until 7 January 2024.

RHS Glow, Wisley, Surrey

While there are five different Royal Horticultural Society gardens around the UK with glow trails weaving through their twinkling borders and iridescent trees, our favourite has to be at Wisley in Surrey, which is shaking things up for 2023 with a new lit-up walking route around its picturesque gardens.

Make your way through the Jellicoe Canal and the old Laboratory before meandering through Wisteria Walk and into the Glasshouse, where you’ll be greeted with a stunning white Christmas-themed plant display.

There’s plenty to keep you well fed and watered too including festive food chalets serving up hot drinks, mac ‘n’ cheeseburgers, bratwurst and more, plus the fancier Terrace Restaurant where you can dig into two- or three-course menus alongside delicious cocktails.

INFO: RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey. Adults from £10.45; children aged 5-16 from £5.25; children under 5 go free. 24 November – 2 January 2024 (not including 24-26 December).

Christmas at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

The birthplace of Winston Churchill and an Oxfordshire landmark, Blenheim Palace throws out all the stops come Christmas with its winding, mile-long trail of lights lighting up the gardens with dancing lasers, an 8m sphere filled with over 20,000 moving LEDs, a dazzling waterfall, a rose garden full of flaming torches and a spotlit bust of Churchill himself.

Sleeping Beauty is the theme inside the palace this year while, as always, the Great Court has been transformed into a wonderful Christmas market that makes for a charming spot to browse festive stalls while sipping on mulled cider. We’ll cheers to that.

INFO: Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. Adults from £26.50; children from £19.50; families from £89; children under 2 go free. Until January 1 2024.

Windsor Great Park Illuminated, Windsor

Allow at least two hours for an evening at Windsor Great Park this Christmas – you’ll need it for the whopping 2.2km light trail that follows the woodland near Savill Garden and around the Obelisk Pond. Here the trees come lit up with rainbow-coloured lights, while you’ll also pass holograms of mystical creatures, dancing fairies and fireflies, laser displays and floodlit fountains. End the night with some toasted marshmallows and some tasty hot drinks. You’ll need it in this weather.

INFO: Windsor Great Park. Adults from £19.80; children aged 2-15 from £19.50; families from £56.10; children under 2 go free. Until January 2 2024.

Christmas at the Botanics, Edinburgh

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens, which are once more transformed into a winter wonderland with millions of twinkly lights, sparkling light tunnels and rainbow-tinged branches that are a sight for sore eyes.

With new lights for 2023, this year the trail features cosmic flowers blooming across the lawn, hyper-bright grass and oversized seedheads that float through the air in one of the most impressive Christmas lights the UK has ever seen. Take the grandkids along to see Father Christmas and you’ll be forever in their favour.

INFO: Edinburgh Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh. Adults from £19; children aged 4-16 from £13.50; families from £62; children under 4 go free. Until December 30 2023.

Yorkshire Winter Illuminations at Stockeld Park

Held in the grounds of a majestic country house in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, the Christmas lights at Stockeld Park turn the ancient woodland into an enchanted forest complete with festive music, fairytale creatures, twinkly branches and a lakeside light show.

Seeing crowds as big as 125,000 in the past, it’s a great shout for families complete with Nordic skiing, ice-skating and plenty of chances to interact with Santa Claus, so be sure to keep an eye out for the big man. An impressive array of food and drink stalls seal the deal.

INFO: Stockeld Park, Wetherby. From £20, children under 2 go free. Until January 8 2024.

The Twilight Trail, Manchester

The first ever Christmas light show hosted at Mayfield Park, Manchester’s The Twilight Trail promises 6.5 acres of pure magic including immersive light displays, a fairy-light-tunnel, lantern installations and a fun disco under the bridges lit up by plenty of mirror balls.

Designed with party people in mind, it will all be accompanied by a special music mix produced by DJ Kenny Dope and the Manchester-based La Discotheque, while for those bringing children along, the playground will be transformed by light effects into a ‘night-time adventure’. What more could you want?

INFO: Mayfield Park, Manchester. Adults from £11; children aged 3-12 from £8.80; families from £35.20; children under 2 go free. Until 31 December 2023.