We went to see this year’s Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle on the freezing night that later saw the Cotswolds being covered in snow. Getting all wrapped against the cold only added to the festive atmosphere. This is one sure-fire way to give yourself some extra seasonal sparkle.
I was really looking forward to seeing the Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle again. Last year was the first time they had created the light display and I’d loved it.
Sudeley Castle is near Winchcombe, in the heart of the Cotswolds. It’s the only private castle to have a queen buried within its grounds. The 15th century chapel is the final resting place of Katherine Parr, the last queen of King Henry VIII. Now a private home, open to the public, the castle has a royal history dating back 1,000 years.
Sudeley is a special place to me and is one of my favourite places to visit in the Cotswolds – particularly in summertime when the beautiful gardens are full of flowers. It’s wonderful now to have an opportunity to visit in winter too and see the castle in a new light.
Our first glimpse of the Spectacle of Light, this time, was in the ruined Tithe Barn. Peeking out through the ruins, I had a wow moment as I saw the dark lawn filled with umbrellas that changed colour to the sound of classical music. The castle itself a spectacular, floodlit backdrop.
We followed the trail through a fairylit tunnel and spotted a beautiful tree decorated with delicate feathers. En route, we stopped to buy mulled wine from the kiosks (a new and very welcome addition) to warm up.
We moved onto the chapel, which is one of my favourite spots in the grounds. I recall being slightly disappointed by the chapel’s interior in last year’s Spectacle of Light, but this year is a different story. Peering through the darkness, the aisle was lit by glowing candles, while the pews were decorated with decayed foliage and pale pink roses. Towards the altar, ghostly figures appear in silhouette – could this be Queen Katherine Parr herself?
One of the prettiest spots in summer at Sudeley Castle is the Queens’ Garden, named after the four English queens that walked within – Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I. In winter, this garden becomes even more magical with flaming torches and thousands of fairylights, sparkling against the backdrop of the ruined floodlit castle.
Heading towards the café, we came across another light show. Lights moved up and down a tree trunk and around the grass, to music, giving the appearance of a waterfall. Outside the café, we discovered a couple of decorated trailers selling food and drink: sausages, burgers and slow roast pulled pork from the BBQ, mini desserts, churros and crepes with chocolate. I definitely plan to try some of these on my next visit!
On our way out, there was one last surprise. The glitter ball tree from last year had been reincarnated in a different spot.
I loved the Spectacle of Light even more this year. It brings a certain magic to this already beautiful castle. It was great to see the addition of places to buy food and drink dotted throughout. It took us about an hour to wander around the whole of the Spectacle of Light. Although, I did stop to take lots of photographs.
The Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle runs on selected nights until the 30th December 2017. Tickets must be booked in advance online and there are timed entry slots.
Do you have any festive favourites or have you been to any sparkling light spectacles? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.