Wakehurst Glow Wild

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Experience the wonder of Wakehurst Glow Wild, a festival of lights that transforms the botanical gardens of Ardingly, United Kingdom, into a radiant tapestry of color and imagination. Throughout the winter months, witness how artists and environmentalists collaborate to create a sustainable, jaw-dropping light exhibition. Perfect for families, couples, and nature enthusiasts, this annual event offers more than just a Christmas light show—it’s a celebration where nature dances in the dark.

Wakehurst Glow Wild
Festival highlights

About the Festival

Wakehurst Glow Wild is nothing short of a spectacle. Imagine stepping into a real-life enchanted forest, where every twist and turn unveils a new wonder. This annual light festival offers a breathtaking illuminated trail winding through the Wakehurst Botanical Gardens in Ardingly, United Kingdom.

But it’s not just about lights; it’s about telling a story that celebrates both artistry and nature. Here, light installations go beyond the ordinary, capturing the essence of the botanical world while adding a magical touch that makes your visit unforgettable.

Featured Lighting Displays

  • Twinkle Light Trees: Trees draped in cascading lights, creating a mesmerizing effect.
  • Fairy Lights: Ethereal strands of lights that weave through the garden like wisps.
  • Flower-Shaped Light Decorations: Adding a colorful bloom to the winter landscape.
  • Video Mapping on Trees: Transforms trees into canvases for dynamic visual storytelling.
  • Light Installations Depicting Flowers and Mushrooms: Nature-inspired light art that brightens your path.
  • Glowing Trail of Lanterns: Handcrafted lanterns that guide you along the trail.
  • Illuminated Sculptures Depicting Butterflies and Bees: Larger-than-life sculptures that come alive in the dark.

Activities to Explore

  • Roasting Marshmallows: Gather around fire pits for a warm and sweet treat.
  • Following the Illuminated Trail: Walk through the botanic garden and let the lights guide your journey.
  • Shopping at the Visitor Centre Shop and Plant Centre: Pick up souvenirs, gardening supplies, or unique holiday gifts.

Whether you’re strolling beneath the canopy of twinkling trees or mesmerized by the fairy lights, Wakehurst Glow Wild is a sanctuary of beauty and imagination. It’s more than just a light festival; it’s a symphony of nature and creativity that you won’t want to miss.

Festival Dates (2023 -2024)

Mark your calendars because the festival of lights at Wakehurst Glow Wild is set to light up your life from November 23, 2023, to January 1, 2024. These are the special dates when the botanical gardens transition into a luminous wonderland, captivating the hearts and souls of those who wander through its illuminated paths. Whether you’re planning a family outing, a romantic evening, or a reflective solo journey, these are the nights when Wakehurst becomes a sanctuary of light and imagination. Don’t miss out!

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

The Wakehurst Glow Wild light festival unfolds its radiant canvas at Wakehurst Botanical Gardens, located in the charming town of Ardingly, United Kingdom. Here, amidst the natural splendor of diverse flora and tranquil lakes, visitors can immerse themselves in the whimsical light exhibitions and displays that the festival has so meticulously crafted. It’s not just a venue; it’s a transformative space where the natural and artistic worlds collide in a luminous embrace.

Gatwick Airport is the nearest airport to Ardingly, and it’s approximately 15 miles away. Visitors landing at Gatwick have multiple options to reach the botanic gardens:

  • Taxi: Around a 30-minute ride from Gatwick Airport.
  • Bus: Take the Metrobus route 270 or 271, which will drop you near Wakehurst.
  • Car Rental: Car rental services are available at the airport for those who prefer to drive.

How to Get to Ardingly by Train from Other Cities:

  • From London: Take a train from London Victoria to Haywards Heath, which is the closest station to Ardingly. From Haywards Heath, you can take a taxi or a local bus to reach Wakehurst.
  • From Brighton: Trains also run from Brighton to Haywards Heath. Once you reach Haywards Heath, local buses and taxis are available to get you to Ardingly.
  • From Manchester: If you’re coming from Manchester, you will first need to reach London via a train. From London, you can follow the same route mentioned above to get to Ardingly.
  • From Edinburgh: Take a train to London, and from there, catch another train to Haywards Heath. Upon arrival, local transportation can take you to Wakehurst.

It is best to visit the respective train company’s official website for up-to-date information on train schedules and ticket prices.

If you like this festival you should also visit the Kew Festival Of Lights

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

After a captivating evening at the festival, you’ll need a comfortable place to rest and recharge for the next day’s adventures.

The Ardingly Inn

Location: Situated in the heart of Ardingly, just a few minutes away from Wakehurst Botanical Gardens.
Description: The Ardingly Inn offers a cozy and charming experience, making you feel at home with its traditional English hospitality.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, on-site restaurant and bar, private parking, and pet-friendly options.

The Birch Hotel

Location: Located approximately 10 minutes from Wakehurst, offering the perfect blend of convenience and luxury.
Description: The Birch Hotel caters to those looking for a more opulent experience. The establishment boasts elegantly decorated rooms and high-end service.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, spa and wellness center, fitness room, fine dining restaurant, and cocktail bar.

Premier Inn Burgess Hill

Location: Situated in Burgess Hill, which is around a 20-minute drive from the festival venue.
Description: Premier Inn is ideal for those who prefer a budget-friendly yet comfortable stay. It offers straightforward rooms with all the basic necessities.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, on-site restaurant, free parking, and family rooms.

Festival Hours

Time is of the essence when you’re planning to delve into a wonderland of lights. At Wakehurst Glow Wild, the botanic gardens come alive each evening from 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM. That’s the magical window when the entire landscape is transformed into a glowing paradise, resplendent with fairy lights, twinkling trees, and luminous sculptures.

Do note, however, that the last entry to the gardens is at 8:20 PM. Make sure to arrive well before that time so you can savor every illuminated moment that Wakehurst has to offer. Whether you’re an early bird catching the first glimmers at dusk or a night owl soaking up the festival’s twilight beauty, timing your visit well ensures you’ll get the full, radiant experience.

Wakehurst Glow Wild

Cost to Visit Wakehurst Glow Wild

Wakehurst Glow Wild is a ticketed event, so if you’re planning to immerse yourself in this festival of lights, make sure to secure your tickets. Here are the ticket prices to help you plan:

Ticket Details:

  • Opening Week Promotion (from November 23 – 26): $14.08
  • Adults: $23.26
  • Children (4 to 16): $14.69
  • Children (Under 4): Free
  • Family (2 adults plus 2 children): $73.45
  • Wakehurst Members: Adults: $18.97
  • Wakehurst Members: Family (2 adults plus 2 children): $61.20

Given the event’s popularity and limited capacity, it is highly recommended to book your tickets online in advance. Don’t miss out on your chance to experience one of the most enchanting light exhibitions of the year. For more details and up-to-date information on ticket prices, you can visit the botanic garden’s official website.

Weather and What to Wear

When planning your visit to Wakehurst Glow Wild, weather plays a crucial role in shaping your experience. Ardingly’s weather from November to January typically hovers around a chilly 1°C to 8°C. Expect crisp air and possibly frosty evenings as you stroll through the illuminated botanical gardens. The season may also bring occasional showers or mist, adding an ethereal quality to the lights.

Recommended Clothing:

  • Thermal Clothing: A base layer for extra warmth.
  • Insulated Jacket: To keep you snug as you explore.
  • Waterproof Outer Layer: For those damp or misty nights.
  • Gloves and Scarf: Extra protection for your hands and neck.
  • Warm Hat: A must to conserve body heat.
  • Comfortable, Waterproof Footwear: You’ll be walking a lot, so make sure your feet are both warm and dry.

What to Eat

Exploring a light festival can work up an appetite, so knowing where to grab a bite is essential for a complete Wakehurst experience.

The Gardeners Arms

Location: Located right in Ardingly, a convenient stop before or after your festival visit.
Description: The Gardeners Arms is a quintessential British pub, offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Foods They Serve: Known for hearty British meals such as fish and chips, steak and ale pie, and classic roasts.

Tarana

Location: Just a short drive from Wakehurst Botanical Gardens, making it a convenient dining option.
Description: Tarana offers an upscale dining atmosphere and serves an array of Indian dishes that are as beautiful as they are flavorful.
Foods They Serve: Specializing in Indian cuisine, expect to find classics like butter chicken, tikka masala, and a wide range of naans and biryanis.

Galloping Horse

Location: Slightly farther away but well worth the drive for a culinary treat.
Description: This gastro pub elevates the dining experience by pairing a relaxed pub atmosphere with fine dining quality meals.
Foods They Serve: They offer a wide range of dishes from grilled meats to seafood, all accompanied by an extensive selection of wines.

More Things To Do In The Area

While Wakehurst Glow Wild is the main attraction, the surrounding area offers its own set of enchanting activities to fill your itinerary.

Ardingly Reservoir

Location: Located near the village of Ardingly, a short drive from Wakehurst Botanical Gardens.
Description: This scenic reservoir is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Activities to Explore: Perfect for water sports like kayaking, sailing, and paddleboarding. For the quieter soul, it’s also an excellent spot for bird-watching.

Bluebell Railway

Location: Situated in nearby Sheffield Park, around a 20-minute drive from Wakehurst.
Description: The Bluebell Railway transports you back in time with its lovingly restored vintage steam trains and authentic stations.
Activities to Explore: Take a picturesque ride through the Sussex countryside, and don’t forget to visit the on-site museum to learn about the history of British railways.

The Priest House

Location: Found in West Hoathly, not far from Ardingly.
Description: A 15th-century timber-framed house that now serves as a museum, The Priest House is steeped in history and charm.
Activities to Explore: Wander through period rooms that showcase local history, discover ancient artifacts, and take a stroll through the beautifully maintained gardens.

A Final Sparkle: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Visit to Wakehurst Glow Wild

As the winter nights draw in, there’s no better way to embrace the season than by exploring the illuminated wonderland that is Wakehurst Glow Wild. From twinkle light trees and fairy lights to culinary delights and comfortable accommodations, this festival offers a complete experience that caters to all your senses. So pack your bags, grab your tickets, and let the glowing trails of Wakehurst lead you to a magical holiday season you won’t soon forget.

FAQ

1. Is there parking available at the festival?

Yes, there is on-site parking available at Wakehurst Botanical Gardens. However, it’s advisable to arrive early as parking spots may fill up quickly during the festival season.

2. Is smoking allowed?

Smoking is not permitted within the festival grounds, to ensure the comfort and safety of all visitors. Designated smoking areas may be available outside the main entrance.

3. Are pets allowed at Wakehurst Glow Wild?

Pets are not allowed on the festival grounds, with the exception of registered service animals.

4. Is the festival wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the festival aims to be as accessible as possible. There are wheelchair-friendly paths and designated viewing areas for light installations. However, some parts of the gardens may be challenging for wheelchairs due to natural terrain.

5. Can I bring my own food and drinks?

Outside food and drinks are generally not allowed within the festival grounds. There are various food and beverage options available to meet everyone’s tastes.

6. What happens in case of bad weather?

The festival is held rain or shine. However, in extreme weather conditions, the event may be canceled for safety reasons. Always check the official website for up-to-date information.

7. Is photography allowed?

Photography for personal use is encouraged! Feel free to capture the magical experience of the light festival, but please be respectful of other visitors when taking photos.

8. Are group discounts available for ticket purchases?

Yes, group discounts may be available for large parties. It’s best to check the official website or contact the ticketing office for more information on group rates.

For any other questions or concerns, it’s always a good idea to visit the festival’s official website or contact their customer service for the most current information.

Sources:

https://www.kew.org/wakehurst/whats-on/glow-wild-2023

https://www.facebook.com/wakehurst.kew/

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