On Sunday, we visited the ‘Spectacle of Light’. This is an illuminated trail around the Sudeley Caste grounds.
We were gifted tickets for the sake of this review, and having not been before we weren’t completely sure what to expect. It completely exceeded our expectations though and we walked away saying how impressed we were and that we will most definitely be buying tickets to next years event…making this a new ‘Cherry Christmas Tradition’.
The event is held at Sudeley Castle which is in Winchcombe. For anyone that hasn’t been there before, the road to the castle out of Winchcombe is very narrow and can easily be missed as you are driving through, so if you are going I would recommend sticking your sat nav on when you are close. We missed the turning and then had to maneuver our way around the narrow streets to turn around and go back. Coming from the opposite direction we saw that the castle was actually signposted- but if coming from Cheltenham direction it isn’t.
The event starts at 5pm, we arrived at 4:50pm and the parking was easy and well chaperoned.
After wrapping up warm in all our layers we made our way into the grounds. Our tickets were checked and the trail began straight away. I must add that we had Odette in the sling and Ivy walked (for the majority anyway!) There were people there with pushchairs, but due to the nature of the trail and with the weather being so unpredictable, I would recommend avoiding them if possible.
The magical illuminated trail took us around the castle grounds, and everywhere we looked there was something new and exciting to see. The lights were incredible and there was music and snippets of dialogue to match at each section of the trail. Ivy was mesmerised by all of the lights and Rob and I loved the atmosphere and could appreciate the effort and thought that must have gone into the entire show. The theme of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was well executed and we were all very impressed with everything we saw. We enjoyed finding all the characters as we made our way around and there were even some characters to interact with too. Ivy wasn’t so keen on the chesire cat, but surprisingly quite liked the Queen of hearts!
Although we were aware of other people around us, at no point did it feel too crowded or busy. There were lots of people enjoying the trail at the same time as us, but because of the nature of the event and the way it is spread out around the grounds we never felt like we were rushed or that we missed anything. We were able to take the trail at our own pace and could stop and take longer at times if we wished. In total the trail took us about an hour and 15 mins- The perfect amount of time for us, as a young family.
Towards the end of the trail Odette woke up and wanted feeding, we kept her going until we stopped at the end, but had I wanted to I could have easily stopped and fed her at any point around the trail as there were lots of benches and places to sit as you made your way around.
When we were ready to leave, there was yet even more to see as the trail continued to the ‘exit through the gift shop’. They had some really lovely ‘Alice in wonderland’ keepsakes and gifts available alongside the usual shop items.
The event was very well organised, throughout the trail there were members of staff to point you in the right direction. At one point we were approached to check we were having a good time and enjoying the trail. The staff then showed us our choices and wished us an enjoyable evening. This was a lovely touch and certainly made us feel welcomed and valued as a customer. The trail is split into two with food and drink placed in the middle. This is then available to you half way through your visit, or at the end. We opted to finish the whole trail before stopping for anything.
Food & Drink
When we had finished the trail, we checked out the Food & Drink. Although it was busy, we were able to find a bench to sit at as we enjoyed delicious Cadbury hot chocolates and shared a bag of sugar covered doughnuts. Odette had her feed and we were all very satisfied. There were a whole host of other food and drink available, and it all looked delicious, but we had fed Ivy before going out and wanted to ensure we got her home for a sensible bed time. And had we not had the kids with us, we would have opted for a mulled wine too!
The tickets are comparitively priced to similar events. We felt that for the amount of time we were there and for the amount that we saw and interacted with then it has been priced accurately. It is clear as you walk around of the effort and amount of time that has been put into making it an excellent experience for all.
For more ticket info you can head to the website here. If you book in advance you can save yourself 10%.
Would I recommend it?
Absolutely, without a doubt. We loved the whole experience and as I have previously said, we will most definitely be buying tickets for next years event. Ivy hasnt stopped saying ‘see lights?’ ever since we left and Rob and I continued to discuss all the different elements of the trail as we got home and looked through our photos. Magical memories were made and we are excited to see what they will come up with for next year!