Haughley Park transformed for Spectacle of Light illuminated trail until February 27
As dusk fell on Friday, we made our way to Haughley for its night-time Spectacle of Light trail around the country estate's gardens.
It was opening night for the 2022 event, which sees the grounds transformed with eye-catching and vibrant light installations along the family-friendly illuminated trail.
We were there wearing our hats, scarves and gloves for a family 'date night' with our five-year-old daughter, hoping to see trees lit under the light of the moon and stars while enjoying music along each new element of the walk.
And from the off, we were enchanted by each magical sight.
Visitors are greeted by the 'Field of Fire'. The flickering field looks enticing from a distance, but once you are walking within the ground-level lights – each glowing like the embers of a fire – you almost feeling like crouching down to warm your hands.
Next we turned a corner to see the hall illuminated in the distance on the right. Meanwhile, to our left brightly-lit trees made colourful reflections in the still waters of a pond.
Conveniently, a 'selfie frame' by the banks gave us the opportunity for a family photograph before hitting the next path.
Soon we were at the Barn Courtyard pit-stop, where mulled wine, hot chocolate, hot food and sweets were available (we swiftly diverted our daughter away from any sight of sweets), before we encountered a woodland with its own cellophane wrapped sweeties – but of the colour-changing illuminated variety.
After emerging from the candy-filled woods we followed lit paths to the walled garden, with its illuminated archways.
But the 'wow' moment has to be when you finally turn a corner to see the hall close-up, lit with a seasonal hearts display.
If there is one picture to illustrate the Spectacle of Light, the 'love'ly hall is it and there was a short wait for the best vista at which to view – and photograph – the sight.
Other installations along the trail include the carpet of colour – a very fitting finale – the walk-through kaleidoscope, mirrorballs, Moroccan lanterns and more.
There is something about the light installations combined with atmospheric music at points which is moving, calming and uplifting.
Our daughter flitted gracefully along paths lit with rotating hearts and boogied under the mesmerising reflections of glitter balls, while we all stood in awed silence as a rainbow of colours swept along the 'carpet' at the trail's end.
It was the best part of an hour after starting the trail when we made our way back to the car, having enjoyed a practically perfect date night.
Spectacle of Light is open February 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27, with entry times from 5.30-7pm.
The estimated walk time is 60-75 minutes, parking is free, dogs are welcome on a short lead and the event is wheelchair friendly.
Tickets cost £20 for adults, £10 children aged three-15 (under threes free), family £52 and disabled carers free.
For more information and to book, go to https://www.haughleypark.co.uk/public-events/spectacle/