I have visited Hestercombe Gardens a number of times before, but never after dark and following a weather warning for wind and rain.

Thankfully, the Illuminate Hestercombe light walk brightened the day, and was an enthralling stroll around the grounds with my family.

Hestercombe have held a Christmas lights trail before, but the 2022 Illuminate is bigger and better than in previous years, and I would certainly recommend it as a fun evening attraction that is great for children and is dog friendly.

Illuminate transports you on a magical journey of colour and light to bring an extra level of wonder to the Hestercombe trails.

The natural features and views of the Landscape Garden come to life at night, with the spotlights and coloured paths drawing you up towards the Great Cascade, towards Sibyl’s Temple and back down past the Pear Pond and into the Formal Garden.

The experience is three times as long as last year, so prepare to be awe-inspired by the beautiful gardens as they come to life.

On arrival, there is the opportunity to get yourself warmed up with a lovely mulled wine or coffee and tea, and there are refreshments available half way around and at the end.

Our children especially enjoyed the chocolate yule log, while my wife and I stuck to the mulled wine.

The circular route took us out to the brightly-lit Octagon Summerhouse, before heading up to the Great Cascade waterfall.

This was a particular highlight for us, as the lighting was particularly spectacular there, making time seem to almost stand still with the water lit up in the way that was truly breathtaking.

Bright spotlights and strip lights led us past colourful balls of light seemingly rolling down a hill and a brilliant lighting effect over the water created by a large disco ball.

On the Formal Garden, there were interactive stars of light, which the children loved playing with, before we finished the route looping back around to the start via the front of the house, which was also a riot of colour.

Advance booking is essential and Hestercombe will not be selling tickets on arrival - they are now on sale and are expected to sell out quickly so I would receommend snapping some up while you can.

Limited capacity slots are available at 15-minute intervals from 5pm to 8pm, which is the last entry time.

Ticket prices are £12.50 for adults and £9.50 for children, with under-2s being allowed entry for free and no booking is needed for them.

For tickets click HERE.