Showing posts with label National Trust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National Trust. Show all posts

Monday, 25 November 2019

A Family Visit to Christmas at Dunham Massey 2019 - A Review

On Thursday evening we were invited to the press night of Christmas at Dunham Massey. This was our third year attending and it just gets bigger and better every year. We love this event so much, that it has very quickly become a highlight for the whole family on our festive calendar and never fails to get us into the Christmas spirit.

The magical after-dark illuminated trail is truly spectacular and features the popular favourites that returning guests have come to know and love, such as the Giant Glittering Deer and the Cathedral of Light, in addition to some brand new installations that definitely have that added wow factor.

Our evening began with a welcome reception where we enjoyed some sweet treats and hot beverages in the cafe, before listening to a short welcoming speech about the trail and the huge amount of work involved, which takes place throughout the year. We could hear the Christmas music begin outside and my children couldn't wait to get to the trail and experience Christmas at Dunham Massey 2019.

We made our way to the courtyard and found that there was a new layout to previous years. As you enter through the archway there is a lovely selection of traditional fairground rides, which include a Helter Skelter, Boat Swings, a Carousel and a Merry Go Round. It costs £2.50 per ride if paying on the night, however when you book your tickets online, there is the option to add five rides for a discounted price of £10 when paying in advance.


The food stalls are now located to the right hand side of the courtyard and are placed either side of the walkway. There is a great selection of food and drinks available to buy from the various vendors, which included dirty fries and hot dogs from Diamond Dogs, cypriot cuisine from Cyprus Kouzina, mulled wine and luxury hot chocolate from the Winter Wunderbar and delicious smelling burgers from the Little Heath Farm Shop to name just a few. We also noticed that The Stables restaurant was open selling hot soup and scones, so there is definitely something to suit all tastes and ensure that no one goes home hungry. Prices vary per stall, but the costs seemed reasonable and the food smelt fantastic.

Once you have walked past the food stalls, this then leads the way to the brand new entrance to the start of the trail. This new walkway brings you in facing the magnificent house which is decorated with a festive projection display. I had read in the preview about this and was expecting a few lights going across the front of the building, however I was completely blown away by the highly entertaining display which was absolutely incredible. The quality was amazing and you could see everything really clearly and this immediately created a buzz of excitement amongst the guests.


At the start of the trail there are two giant sized glittering reindeer, along with some large picture frames to help you create the perfect family photo. The reindeer are stunning and have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. They glisten and twinkle beautifully, whilst standing bright and tall and they are the perfect welcome to the one mile long magical walk.

The Heart Walk installation also grabbed our attention as we strolled past a collection of large floating hearts that created all kinds of colours to admire. The cleverly designed artistic hearts, helped us to think about the love that surrounds Christmas and we thought that they were a great addition to the trail.


My son Ben really enjoyed the Firework Trees, which created a beautiful multi-sensory display. The lights would raise up and down whilst sounds would crackle and zoom as they mimicked a firework effect. My children questioned just how long it would have taken to have decorated the trees with so many bulbs and it made us realise how much hard work goes in to creating this mesmerising christmas trail.


The Sea of Light created a breathtaking moment and uses the combination of sound and light to create the most delightful scene. It was so calming and enjoyable just watching the lights flow in waves of colour, that we all found incredible. This feature could be enjoyed from the walkway, or you could take in the full effect by sitting on one of the bright blue benches and enjoy the immersive experience of the Sea of Light travelling towards you.

In addition to the various installations, we loved how trees would just be simply lit with an attractive glow along the way, creating a warm and inviting environment to be in.

 
As you make your way around the trail, there is also the option to toast some marshmallows on the fire pits. My children absolutely love doing this each year and there are always a great range of flavours to choose from. We chose Vanilla, Chocolate Orange and Candy Floss which were all delicious and cost £1.50 each. There was a lovely red glowing trail around the fire pits and Riley and I took a walk around these and through the tunnels, whilst everyone else finished eating their sweet treats.


Of course no Christmas Trail would be complete without an appearance from Santa himself. This isn't a grotto opportunity, but more a brief show that entertains children (and adults), so there is no meet and greet. Personally I prefer this as it means no queues and instead everyone can enjoy the experience. Santa had guests doing a fun warm up, whilst the rabbit told a little tale which everyone seemed to enjoy.


As we continued on our walk we came to the Light Cathedral. This has been one of the stand-out features of previous years and so I was really pleased that it had made a very welcome return. It really looks fantastic in person and my photos don't really do it justice, but there are quite literally thousands of small lights which create a fabulous effect as well as a stunning feature to walk through.


We all absolutely loved the Rings of Fire, which were located in the lake. Light beams filled the air, accompanied by a great selection of music, which was really stunning to watch. I really could have stood there for several hours just watching the spinning snowflakes and fire glow. My youngest son Riley thought that this was amazing and I would absolutely agree.


Overall we had a wonderful time and would absolutely recommend this event to all. The style and creativeness of this magical Christmas trail, really makes it suitable for visitors of all ages. Whilst it is great for families, it is also equally as good for couples, groups of friends or even solo visitors due to its lovely festive atmosphere. The new installations were superb and we particularly enjoyed the projection show on the front of the main house. Christmas at Dunham Massey is a wonderful experience from start to finish and we will definitely be returning again in the future.

For further information on Christmas at Dunham Massey, please visit their website or social media channels which can be found here:

Website - National Trust - Dunham Massey
Facebook - DunhamMasseyNT - Facebook
Twitter - @DunhamMasseyNT

Event Details

Attraction - Christmas at Dunham Massey, the magical, after-dark, illuminated trail.
Location - Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4SJ
Dates - Selected dates from 22nd November to 30th December 2019.
Admission - From: Adult £17.50, Child (3-16) £11.00, Family £54.00
Website - For full details and pricing, please visit the Dunham Massey website Christmas at Dunham Massey

*Additional charges apply for vintage rides, food and drink.


*Disclaimer - We were given press tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of the event. All opinions and photographs are my own, unless stated otherwise. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the events own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Dates for your Diary - Christmas at Dunham Massey 2019

Christmas at Dunham Massey has been one of our most favourite winter attractions for the past couple of years. The magical, after-dark, illuminated trail is simply spectacular and it never fails to get my family and I, into the festive spirit. Our reviews from the past couple of years have also proved to be very popular with our readers and I am therefore delighted to provide further details on this years beautiful event.

Christmas at Dunham Massey will be returning to the historic National Trust property in Cheshire from the 22nd November to the 30th December 2019.

Visitors will be able to discover new immersive installations as the magical winter trail is set to be bigger and better than ever before. Now in it's third year, the seasonal trail is established as a much-anticipated experience for all.

New for 2019 see world-renowned light installations as you enter a grand avenue replanted with gigantic illuminated flowers and the house brought to life by festive projections. Walk through the dynamic, glowing Vortex Tunnels and stroll towards the mesmerising reflections made by Fire on Water. Watch out as lights seem to tumble from the undergrowth and light up trees like fizzing fireworks and take time to pause at the delicate carpet of colour-changing blooms.

Favourite installations will also return, including the larger-than-life glittering deer and the towering Tunnel of Light twinkling with thousands of pea-lights. Take in the Field of Light and discover the woodland world festooned with seasonal cheer, accompanied by festive music along the way.

Image from the 2018 event

Have a holly, jolly Christmas and complete your walk under the stars with spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate.* Gather around the fire-pit with family and friends to toast marshmallows* and end the evening in Dunham Massey's well-stocked shop.*

For the young ones there's a Victorian Carousel*, helter skelter*, and other family rides* and keep your eyes peeled for Father Christmas and his helpers along the way.

Christmas at Dunham Massey is brought to you by leading events promoter Raymond Gubbay Limited, a division of Sony Music, in partnership with the National Trust (Registered Charity 205846). The trail is created by Culture Creative Limited.

For further information on Christmas at Dunham Massey, please visit their website or social media channels which can be found here:

Website - National Trust - Dunham Massey
Facebook - DunhamMasseyNT - Facebook
Twitter - @DunhamMasseyNT

Event Details

Attraction - Christmas at Dunham Massey, the magical, after-dark, illuminated trail.
Location - Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4SJ
Dates - Selected dates from 22nd November to 30th December 2019.
Admission - From: Adult £17.50, Child (3-16) £11.00, Family £54.00
Website - For full details and pricing, please visit the Dunham Massey website Christmas at Dunham Massey

*Additional charges are applicable for vintage rides, food and drink.

Image from our attendance at previous event

*Disclaimer - Details provided in this post are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but can be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the events own website in order to obtain the most up to date information. This post is a combination of our own opinion of the event from previous years, as well as a press release which was kindly provided to us. Images in this post are my own from previous years.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Christmas at Dunham Massey 2018 - A Review

One of our most popular festive reviews last year, was of the spectacular Christmas at Dunham Massey event, that featured the most wonderful and magical illuminated light trail. We were therefore extremely excited to be invited to the preview of this years event, which we attended as a family on Thursday evening.

Christmas at Dunham Massey has been made possible by a joint collaboration of the National Trust and leading events producers Raymond Gubbay Ltd, who have both worked together to transform the grounds and gardens into an incredible winter wonderland offering lights, music and plenty of festive fun.


On arrival we made our way to the restaurant where we were provided with some tea, coffee, mince pies and biscuits, whilst we listened to a short introduction to the event by one of the creators. After this brief talk we were invited to make our way to the courtyard and then onwards to experience the lights.

As we entered the courtyard we found that it varied slightly to the last year as there were more traditional rides for children which included a carousel, swings and a beautiful helter skelter, along with more food vendors to choose from. There were plenty of dining options available ranging from wood fired pizzas to pancake stacks & waffles. I also felt that the prices were very reasonable as well, with a lot more choice.

It was slightly too early for us to eat as none of the children were hungry just yet, so we made our way straight to the Christmas Light Trail. We had expected it to be very similar to our previous visit, but we were in for a huge surprise as this years event is even bigger and better than before!

As we made our way past the main property towards the trail, there was a mini-show featuring Mr & Mrs Claus, welcoming everyone to the event. The mansion was covered in a projection of snowflakes as Santa Claus asked for help to find his reindeer and for guests to look out for them around the trail. A short story was told in rhyme and the children were told to collect a wooden stick bearing a reindeer's name. They were then told to look for the reindeer on their stick and to tell a member of staff at the end of the trail where they had found it, in order to receive a large sticker. My children had Donner, Blitzen and Prancer and they loved trying to find the reindeer whilst walking around.


We were immediately blown away right from the very beginning, as we entered the trail through an incredible tunnel adorned with thousands of pea-lights. This certainly set the scene for the remainder of the trail as we were greeted with stunning displays at every turn. Each display was accompanied by well known festive tunes, apart from one area that featured the Harry Potter theme music instead, much to my children's delight.

Due to the poor weather, we had anticipated the path to be muddy and therefore came prepared with wellies, but it certainly wasn't as bad as we expected. Whilst a few small areas were a little squishy under our feet, the majority was absolutely fine, with some parts covered in rubber matting which showed that they were well prepared for any rain.


The singing trees were superb with lights wrapped around the trunks that moved in time to the music and we continued past coloured spheres that were scattered amongst the woodland. Riley was the first person in our family to find his named reindeer of Donner and he was absolutely delighted to have discovered it before his siblings. My daughter's favourite part of the trail came soon after as we walked through twinkling green lights accompanied by the theme music to Harry Potter. This led to her dancing through the trail, pretending to wave a wand around whilst singing along and I must admit that I did join in with this too!

We walked past a large tree with lights that replicated coloured raindrops falling from the branches, which was really beautiful to watch and quite mesmerising too. We also came across some giant sparkling reindeers that glistened against the night sky. You could also walk directly under one of them which Riley found fascinating. Another highlight for the children soon followed as we walked through another tunnel of lights, only this time they filled the entire walkway, so you needed to move the lights around you to make your way through.


My personal favourite of the entire trail was the huge grass area that had been filled with hundreds of football sized coloured balls. These lights shone brightly as they were perfectly choreographed to the relaxing music. It really was an incredible sight and something that must have taken a lot of planning to put together.

Photo Credit: This image was taken by a friend L.G (image not to be used elsewhere without permission from owner)

About three quarters of the way round, we arrived at the fire pits where you could purchase gourmet marshmallows for £1.50 each. Both Emma and Ben chose vanilla flavours, whilst Riley opted for a hot chocolate flavoured one. The marshmallows were mounted on sticks and we were directed to the fire pits where my children enjoyed toasting (and eating) them. There was a great range of different flavours to choose from including some extravagant choices such as blueberry & sipsmith gin, along with popcorn & cranberry.


As we made our way towards the end of the trail, we walked past a huge fire display that had a large quantity of stands that featured flickering flames. My youngest son thought that this was really interesting and it stood out as being something a little different to all of the other lights we had observed so far. We could also spot the fountain finale from across the water and Ben correctly guessed that he could hear the music from one of his favourite films 'Home Alone' in the distance.


Nearing the end of the trail, we found Ben's named reindeer which made him very happy as he had become slightly concerned that we might have missed it, but it was simply the last reindeer of the walk. There was a member of staff located shortly afterwards, who rewarded each of my children with a sticker.

It had been my intention to purchase some food to eat once we arrived back in the courtyard, but my children still weren't feeling hungry, so we headed straight towards the fountain finale. As you make your way there through the white exit gate, you finally spot the most famous reindeer of all, before following the path along the lakeside.

The finale at the end was superb and we sat on the conveniently placed benches as we watched the water fountains light up in time to the music. This was absolutely amazing and watching the lights against the watery backdrop to the soundtrack of "Somewhere in my Memory" by John Williams, was the most perfect way to end our evening.

Overall we absolutely loved the Christmas at Dunham Massey event. The effort that has clearly been put into this is tremendous and we didn't want the evening to end. My children grew increasingly excited to see what was coming next and around every corner there was something new to entertain us. In addition to the lights, we found the fire display and fountain finale to be spectacular and the festive courtyard added to the evening and made it a lovely place to relax both before and after we had entered the trail. The whole experience was wonderful from start to finish and I wouldn't hesitate to return in the future. I would definitely recommend this event to all and for me this was the perfect event to get us well and truly into the Christmas spirit!

For further information on Christmas at Dunham Massey, please visit their website or social media channels which can be found here:

Website - National Trust - Dunham Massey
Facebook - DunhamMasseyNT - Facebook
Twitter - @DunhamMasseyNT

Event Listing

Attraction - Christmas at Dunham Massey, the magical after-dark illuminated trail.
Location - Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4SJ
Dates - Selected dates from 30th November to 30th December 2018.

Admission

Advance - Adult £16.50, Child (5-16) £10.00, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £50.00
On the day - Adult £18.50, Child (5-16) £12.00, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £58.00

Tickets can be purchased from the See Tickets Website here: See Tickets - Christmas at Dunham Massey (affiliate link)

*Transaction charges/print at home charges/postal charges/agent charges may also apply.

Please note that advanced booking is recommended, as some dates are already sold out.

*Disclaimer: We were invited to this event as guests of Dunham Massey for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. Thoughts and opinions are my own. Any event details provided are believed to be correct at time of writing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the attraction's own website in order to obtain the most up to date details. This post contains an affiliate link, which means that I may receive a small commission should you choose to purchase tickets.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Dates for your Diary - Christmas at Dunham Massey 2018

One of our most favourite events last Christmas was the magical, after-dark, illuminated trail at Dunham Massey in Cheshire. Our review also proved to be extremely popular with our readers and was one of our most popular festive blog posts. We were therefore delighted to hear that it would be returning to the historic National Trust property for a second year, on selected dates from the 30th November to the 30th December 2018.

Christmas at Dunham Massey is brought to you by leading events producers Raymond Gubbay Ltd, in partnership with the National Trust. We thought that last years event was absolutely incredible, but this year the magical winter trail is set to be even bigger and better than before.

A larger-than-life glittering deer will greet customers, along with the sights and sounds of Christmas. Features will include a stunning Tunnel of Light adorned with over 100,000 pea-lights, an incredible scented fire garden, Bubbles on the Bridge, playful ribbons of colour-changing lights and the mesmerising voices of the Singing Trees.


Last year, we were treated to an incredible Water Fountain Finale and this year will be no exception. Guests will be able to enjoy this showcase spectacular of water jets and beams of light, which dance in time to much-loved Christmas classics.

The trail is specially designed to appeal to visitors of all ages. My husband and I attended the event last year, with our children aged 4, 9 & 11 at the time and it is safe to say that we all shared the same opinion - It was wonderful!

The historic courtyard will play host to some fantastic festive food outlets*, with the Manchester Food & Drink Festival providing the stalls. There will also be a vintage carousel ride for younger guests to enjoy*. Fire pits will also be placed along the trail where you can gather to toast your own marshmallows. This was one of the highlights for my children last year and they loved picking their flavours and toasting them over the fire.

This year, The Stables Restaurant at Dunham Massey will be serving a two-course traditional Christmas Dinner*. There will be a choice of two sittings, so visitors can dine before or after they visit the trail.

You can read our review of last years event here: Christmas at Dunham Massey Review

For further information on Christmas at Dunham Massey, please visit their website or social media channels which can be found here:

Website - National Trust - Dunham Massey
Facebook - DunhamMasseyNT - Facebook
Twitter - @DunhamMasseyNT

Event Listing

Attraction - Christmas at Dunham Massey, the magical after-dark illuminated trail.
Location - Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4SJ
Dates - Selected dates from 30th November to 30th December 2018.

Admission

Advance - Adult £16.50, Child (5-16) £10.00, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £50.00
On the day - Adult £18.50, Child (5-16) £12.00, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £58.00

Items marked with * will incur an additional charge.


Disclaimer: Details provided are believed to be correct at time of writing, however are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the events own website, in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Christmas at Dunham Massey - A Review

Last night we had the absolute pleasure of attending the opening night of Christmas at Dunham Massey and what a spectacular evening it was. Leading events producers Raymond Gubbay have teamed up with the National Trust to transform Dunham Massey into a beautiful winter wonderland, with a magical, after-dark illuminated trail.

Our evening began with a short introduction into why the Christmas event had been created and how hard the two teams had worked together, in order to help their vision become a reality over the last six months. Dunham Massey is such a beautiful venue, but it is a location that is normally closed to guests in the evening, so what better way to welcome families to a night of festive fun, than with a beautiful display of lights, that lead you through the stunning grounds.


The trail has been specially designed to appeal to visitors of all ages and there is definitely something for everyone along the sparkling one mile path. Accompanied by the sights and sounds of Christmas, you can follow the winding path through the woodland whilst adoring the marvellous illuminated canopies, trees and oversized snowflakes, reindeer and baubles.

Although it was very cold outside, our family wrapped up warm in our hats, gloves and scarves and made our way out to the trail. As we entered the main courtyard, we were welcomed by a selection of food and drink stalls, as well as some traditional fairground rides including swings and a carousel. Riley absolutely loves carousels, so we purchased a token for him to have a ride at a cost of £2.


Once Riley had finished his carousel ride, we enjoyed a bite to eat, before continuing on the trail. Our adventure began by being welcomed by Father Christmas himself, who saw us on our way through the sparkling hedgerows. There were also plenty of staff on standby to help guests and provide a friendly hello. The huge building looked absolutely magnificent, lit up with stunning snowflakes.


We spent a short while simply admiring the amazing mansion, which looked extremely impressive, before embarking on our journey through the festive twinkling trail. We were fortunate that the last couple of days had been dry and so the path was very clear without a hint of mud in sight. However, we had come prepared with wellies in the car just in case, as I can imagine that with a bit of rain and a lot of footfall, it could get quite muddy throughout December.


Riley was immediately captivated by the tress and branches adorned with sparkling lights. It would be extremely hard to not be impressed by the beauty of seeing the woodland lit up so spectacularly and even as an adult, I could not help but say 'Wow' numerous times whilst walking down the path. Staff members continued to be a visible presence throughout the walk, always happy to help and guide you in the right direction. Several of the staff also interacted with the kids, engaging in conversation and asking them about what they had seen so far.


In addition to the lights, there were numerous benches and wooden huts, selling a selection of mulled wine and cider. These were placed at regular intervals along the path, so that you could treat yourself to a nice warm tipple whilst taking in the sights.


The giant baubles and Christmas decorations were stunning to see, but my children's personal favourite was the fascinating giant reindeer, who I believe has been named Cranberry Sparklesnaps, through a competition held by Dunham Massey on their facebook page. A wonderful name to go with what is truly a remarkable reindeer.


Mid way into our walk, we came across a fire lit wonder, which looked fantastic. This led us to the fire pit, where you could purchase a wide range of weird and wonderful flavoured marshmallows and toast them over the pit.  The marshmallows cost £1.50 and were extremely popular amongst guests with a short queue to purchase these delightful treats. This really added to the experience and it was lovely to see so many families enjoying themselves together.


The finale of the Christmas trail, was an astonishing water spectacular, that saw brightly coloured water jets, dancing in time to some music classics. There were benches placed along the walkway here and it was a delightful place to have a sit down and watch the display. My photo of this really doesn't do it justice and is something that really needs to be seen, in order to appreciate it's enchanting performance.


Overall, we had an absolutely amazing time and we are even hoping to return again before Christmas with other members of our family as we loved it so much. Whilst we enjoyed our walk as a family, I feel that this event is also very suitable for both individuals and couples too. I would definitely return here for a lovely Christmas evening just my husband and I, to spend a couple of hours taking our time around the trail and enjoying the offerings available in the courtyard. All of the staff we came across were extremely courteous and we were made to feel welcome by everyone. We would like to say a huge thank you and also well done, to everyone at Dunham Massey & Raymond Gubbay for putting on such a wonderful event, that left us all feeling magical and ready for the festive season ahead.

For further information on Christmas at Dunham Massey, please visit their website or social media channels which can be found here:

Website - National Trust - Dunham Massey
Facebook - DunhamMasseyNT - Facebook
Twitter - @DunhamMasseyNT

Event Details

Attraction - Christmas at Dunham Massey, the magical after-dark illuminated trail.
Location - Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4SJ
Dates - 1st December to 30th December (the event is not open on all dates so please check for availability).

Admission

Advance - Adult £16.00, Child (5-16) £10.00, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £48.00
On the day - Adult £18.00, Child (5-16) £12.00, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £56.00
National Trust Member - Adults £14.50, Child (5-16) £8.50, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £42.00

Disclaimer - We attended the opening night of Christmas at Dunham Massey as guests for the purpose of providing an honest review of the experience. Details are subject to change, so I would always recommend obtaining the most up to date information from the attractions own website.