AD | Press event
The season to be jolly has officially started in Kent with the arrival of the Bedgebury Christmas Trail. To mark its opening evening, I was invited to join in with the festive fun at this after-dark Illuminated event and experience the magical light trail as it winds its way around the forest.
The Bedgebury Christmas trail consists of over one million twinkling coloured lights that shine brightly and illuminate the forest trees that grow here in the world’s largest pinetum.
Alongside them are modern light installations, joyful Christmas music that puts you in the Christmas spirit, and of course, the leading man himself welcoming visitors to his forest home.
How to Get Tickets for Christmas at Bedgebury
Christmas at Bedgebury is located in Goudhurst and is open from 18th November to 2nd January 2023. The illuminated trail opens at 4.30 pm, and the last timeslot is at 8.15 pm.
You must book your tickets in advance and choose a time slot to arrive.
Useful information for prices, opening hours and travel directions can be found on the Christmas at Bedgebury website.
What facilities are available?
The illuminated Christmas trail starts by the car park and passes the main food court. Here you can find a wide range of warm snacks and washrooms. You will find more toilets and food vans at the halfway mark.
On my visit, I stopped at the halfway mark for a pulled pork brioche roll and a mulled wine which went down a treat. There was also a pasta van which seemed to be doing a great trade in mac ‘n’ cheese!
You can also buy large marshmallows on sticks to toast on the open fire near the lake.
This seemed to be as popular with the adults as it did with the younger family members as they tried to time the cooking just right to melt, but not burn, the marshmallows. It sounds easy, but it looked like there was some skill involved!
How long is the light trail?
You can walk around the Bedgebury Christmas trail in around an hour. Of course, the time it takes does depend on how quickly you walk and how many stops you make to look at the lights and take photos.
If you are anything like me, you will want to stop to capture the twinkling images on film and grab a bite to eat along the way.
If you have little ones with you, you may be in the forest considerably longer as they will be mesmerised by the magical illuminations.
What can I see on the trail?
The trail for Bedgebury at Christmas is clearly marked and easy to follow, so there’s no chance of you getting lost in the forest at this event!
Stewards can be found along the trail, ready to answer any questions you may have.
You will see many modern light installations ranging from white swans suspended in the trees to dancing strobe lights that change to the colours or the rainbow in time to the music.
Each piece along the trail has a title, the designer’s name, and a QR code to scan your favourites and hear more about them.
Several walk-through installations are along the trail, including the Wreath, the Heart Arch Walk and the Christmas Cathedral.
These are popular places to get Christmas photos and so can get a little congested, but no one’s in a rush when the trail is so magical, so take your time and enjoy the festive atmosphere.
My favourite part of the Christmas trail was where the Christmas lights changed colour and highlighted the height and beauty of the pine trees.
I thought it created a real whimsical forest feel, and can only imagine what the woodland creatures think is happening!
Close to one of the lakes in Bedgebury forest was a photo frame prop which was extremely popular with the parents of small kids wanting to catch that cute Christmas photograph as a memory of the visit.
Behind the Christmas frame, you can just glance upon a half-moon structure reflecting in the water, making it look whole. A very clever concept and one I have also seen at the Leonardslee Lakes Christmas light trail.
The Christmas lighting was also in full swing illuminating the huge trees beside the lake, changing colour and design in time to the music that echoed out all around us. The reflections in the mirror-like water were beautiful to see.
At the trail’s end is the fire garden, where you will find 600 tin cans alight with a single burning flame. All I can say is someone has one colossal job to do every night to light all those containers!
Christmas at Bedgebury is a fun night out for the whole family, and much thought has gone into illuminating such a magnificent forest. So if you want to get in a festive mood for the start of the Christmas season, this is the place for you.
Thank you to Bedgebury National Pinetum for inviting me along to this event. As always, all opinions are my own.
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Linda (LD Holland)
Monday 9th of January 2023
I love finding new things to see over the Christmas holiday season. The Bedgebury Christmas Trail looks like a fun way to illuminate the season. Love the stop fr mulled wine along the way. Helps to fight the cooler temps. I love the views with the reflections.
Tuesday 10th of January 2023
We have a lot of these light trails in the UK at Christmas. It certainly puts you in the mood for the festive season.
Monday 2nd of January 2023
No doubt that Christmas at Bedgebury is a fun night. The lighting trail looks very soothing. But the use of electronic lights is a matter of concern. To light up the streets and forest, they must use eco-friendly lights.
Monday 2nd of January 2023
I am sure that they would be eco-friendly. Bedgebury is a national forest, and the utmost care is taken over its welfare.