After a stunning transformation last year, the world-famous Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Romsey are set to shine even brighter this Christmas with a brand-new outdoor light trail opening onThursday 30 November.
Once again, the much-loved visitor attraction throws open its gates after dark for the mesmerising Light Up Sir Harold Hillier Gardens At Christmas. Created by Light Up Trails, the award-winning Hampshire-based designers who specialise in bringing wonder in light to inspirational places, Light Up Sir Harold Hillier Gardens At Christmas is a magical walk under the stars with the magnificent collections of trees and rare plants illuminated by millions of LED lights in a series of spectacular light art installations.
And with an expanded menu of amazing food and drink from around the world, including a wide range of vegetarian and vegan choices, as well as mulled wine, hot chocolate and Irish coffees, there's plenty to keep the midwinter chill at bay.
"The reaction to our first light trail was just incredible and we're absolutely thrilled to be back again in this wonderful location," says Light Up Trails director Libby Battaglia. "We've spent months planning this second edition - it's bigger and even better than last year. Nearly all the light and sound installations are new and our fabulous artists and have designed some mind-blowing interactive and immersive pieces that will take your breath away."
Libby's co-director Lucinda Croft is equally enthused, adding: "It's a real privilege to be challenged to illuminate these fantastic spaces again and bring a new dimension to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens.
"There are more off-peak times available on week nights and with everyone feeling the pinch we've reduced some of our ticket prices, but you can be sure the sights and sounds will be nothing less than out of this world.
"And don't forget you'll be able to smell the earth and the woods after dark - so, with the tempting street food and bar menu it's a fully multi-sensory experience!"
The highlights include the premiere of an exciting new work by The ProjectionStudio, specialists in creating art on an architectural scale at locations allover the world. Presented in partnership with Oxford University, the details of the piece are a closely guarded secret, but they have revealed the piece will be projected on the pine tree collection at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and will tell the story of the pine Christmas Tree.
Certain to be a talking point for visitors is the beautiful sculpture Moment of Flight, by artist Michael Condron who is known for his dynamic, larger-than-life pieces. The four-metre high structure outlines an osprey bathed in light and references the successful conservation projects to restore a breeding population of ospreys to the South Coast.
Light Up Sir Harold Hillier Gardens At Christmas places the accent on festive fun for the whole family with loads of selfie opportunities at installations such as The Gift, where visitors step into a giant Christmas present bathed in golden light, and Winter Wonderland with its large-scale reindeer scene opposite the Oak Field.
Many of the pieces are linked by the irrepresentation of the elements, in line with this year's Christmas theme, but there's a peak into the new year ahead of us in the shape of Spring, a shimmering sea of 5000 pink and white flowers that immerse viewers in 360° light and sound; while James Smith's dramatic walk-through installation Beyond places the visitor inside a world of reflected light using infinity mirrors to create what could almost be a portal to somewhere else.
Advance bookings can be made now at www.lightuptrails.com.
* Please note details of installations and attractions may be subject to change.