Westonbirt Arboretum: An Enchanted Christmas

Westonbirt Arboretum (try saying that five times after you’ve had a couple of pints) is located just a few miles out of Tetbury on the Bath Rd – just past Highgrove Estate which is, of course, the home of Prince Charles. More on that when I tell you about Tetbury.

What’s an arboretum, I hear you ask? Essentially it’s a botanical collection of trees – a tree garden if you like – and Westobnirt is the most important one in the UK. At Christmas time – and, I suspect Autumn – it’s also completely magical.

From the end of November through to Christmas fairies cast a spell over the trees to turn them into an enchanted woodland trail.

If you’re very lucky you might even see one of the sprites as they dart in and out of the trees…way too quickly for the camera lens to pick up.

In all seriousness, I came across Enchanted Christmas through a Tetbury hashtag on Instagram – my usual way of researching things to do in an area – and it looked like a lot of fun. Plus, it just so happened that the final night of the display was the Sunday we were in Tetbury – so tickets were booked.

While this is a family-themed activity with actors dressed up as woodland fairies straight out of a Midsummer’s Dream fantasy, and enough Santa and Christmas craft activities to keep the kids entranced, it had plenty to charm big kids like us too.

The trail was full when we were on it, but thanks to tickets being issued for specific timeslots, not overcrowded. There were, however, times when we were shuffling a tad due to prams and the like. #whatever

Despite some drizzle earlier in the day we were lucky to score a clear night that was cold, but nothing we weren’t prepared for. The path underfoot was a tad soggy and not as muddy as I’d expected it to be.

We’d had a light dinner before we came out, but if not there’s food and drink available at the Christmas Village – along with some funfair activities.

Plus, there’s a mini-village at the halfway point. We bought some mulled wine to sip as we walked around.

In 2018 Westonbirt’s illuminations were voted the best in Britain, but if you can’t make it to Tetbury, Blenheim Palace also does fabulous Christmas illuminations, and Christmas At Kew sells out their program every year.

The Details

Enchanted Christmas usually runs from 4pm – 9pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from the last weekend in November through to the weekend before Christmas.

The timeslots fill up quickly so it’s best to plan ahead if you want to go along. I booked our tickets about a month out and there weren’t many spots left on the trail.

Tickets cost (in 2019) £15 per adult and £7.50 for children.

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Author: Jo

I write, I bake, I chase sunrises.

34 thoughts

  1. It looks spectacular and so Christmassy especially with those chilly temps! I love that the tickets have time slots so it doesn’t get too busy, I just can’t do crowds although a glass of mulled wine makes everything bearable 🙂

    1. I detest crowds. There was only a couple of places where there were too many prams etc but other than that there was room to breathe.

  2. That was beautiful Jo – and I bet it was 10X better in 3D real life! I love how Christmas brings out all the lights and colours – it’s such a special time of the year (especially in those colder countries).

  3. Wow, I loved reading this Jo and seeing your fab photos. I loved spending Christmas in the UK and I can so relate to your words and experiences. Mulled wine is just the perfect accompaniment at times like this 🙂 #lifethisweek

  4. Amazing, so many things I still have to learn about my home country. Will put this on our Christmas list for next year with the grandchildren. Thank you for such wonderful photos.

  5. What a fun activiity. I can’t think of any winter like things like that near where we live. We have arboretums, but we visit during the summer when there are lots of plants to see. I enjoyed your photos! The fairies sound like fun! I would have LOVED that as a kid!

    1. Thanks Michele. We have a light show running before Christmas at the local university, but as it’s high summer for us at that time, it doesn’t seem the same. It was such a treat to visit somewhere where it felt like Christmas should feel.

  6. Thank goodness I haven’t had a couple of pints. Yes, magical! Wow! I have never purchased mulled wine before. Coincidentally, I made mulled wine last week. I just google sites for suggestions and work with ingredients I have around the house. I was thinking about you, Joanne, and whether you had any recipes or ingredients you especially liked. Stunning photos!

    1. You know, I’ve never made mulled wine. It’s not something we ever drink here, but it is something I associate with winter up north…

  7. I’m taking a note of that arboretum for my visit to the UK this year (though it won’t be at Christmas). Perhaps I’ll look out for some royals!

  8. I wondered how you found out about this…and then I saw, via Instagram. Such beauty there.

    I visited Hunter Valley Gardens in Spring and they were getting themselves ready for Christmas evenings by lighting the areas and trees and having kids’ rides too. Pretty sure our blogging friend Lydia has done this excursion on her blog too.

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week’s optional prompt is 4/51 Australia 27.1.2020. Hope to see you there too. Denyse.

  9. How beautiful, Jo! While it’s never the same as being there, your photos really gave us a sense of the beauty, the magic, and the fun experiencing an enchanted Christmas! A wonderful family event to make memories. #MLSTL

  10. This seems like such a beautiful place to visit, especially at Christmas time. I love a beautiful tree forest but this is breathtaking! Thanks for sharing these stunning photos! Pinning.

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