Sam and I recently visited Glow Wild at Wakehurst Place in Sussex to celebrate his 37th Birthday. I’ve never been to the Royal Botanic Gardens before and I didn’t get to appreciate the plants and gardens in the same way as if it was during the day, as it was so dark you could barely see but it was really cool to walk around and appreciate the glow from the lights. It has made me want to pay a visit during the day, which I guess is only a good thing.
The weather was cold, misty and there was no wind so the air had a certain stillness to it. Honestly, it was such a magical evening. It was blissfully dark, away from the city lights of London with only the paper lamps lighting the way round the paths at Wakehurst place. I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of Sam by the Christmas trees but I’m not sure he was as excited by them as I was haha! Our first stop was grabbing a bite to eat in the restaurant, I chose chili and a jacket potato, Sam had chili and rice with a portion of chips on the side (he can’t resist chips, especially if they are french fries).
We followed the lights and came to the start of the exhibition where we enjoyed a hot chocolate before setting off along the path. It was one of the most delicious hot chocolates I’ve ever had. A cube of dark chocolate on a stick stirred into hot milk for a luxuriously chocolatey drink. Mmmm! You could also roast marshmallows over fire pits and snack on freshly roasted chestnuts if you wanted to. There was even an option to add a shot of alcohol to your hot chocolate if you wanted a little bit of extra deliciousness! Fed and watered, we were ready to explore the rest of the trail.
All the lanterns looked like they were made of tissue paper and straws, it reminded me of making them in pre-school art class. They were absolutely beautiful and had a really gentle ethereal glow. It was light enough that you could see where you were going but dark enough so that everything just felt and looked magical. Each lantern was different, there were triangles, ovals, cubes, pods, plants, flowers and even a few animals! These two owls were hidden up in the tree towards the end of the walk. It was honestly just such a magical experience.
My favourite lanterns were the moon and stars suspended above a large pond. The reflection on the water was beautiful and the coloured lanterns surrounding the edge of the pond made it feel that bit more mystical. I was quite lucky that our date fell on the random patch of misty weather we had as it just added to the experience. Thank you English weather! I’m actually being serious lol! We continued our way around the lake just taking in and enjoying the scenery. We came across these two mice in the walled garden – they even changed colour!
A quick selfie while exploring the walled garden.
Towards the end of the walk we got an amazing view of the Christmas tree (a giant redwood!) over the lake surrounded by metal lanterns glowing with real fire. The smell of pine in the air was just amazing, it was a teensy bit misty and beautifully crisp. It really felt festive and reminded me of a Viking stronghold with the fire in the trees.
The only downside to this experience was that it was absolutely FULL of kids. I understand that maybe this walk was aimed at parents and their kids rather than as an adult experience but it would have been nice if they had a cut off time for families so that couples and groups of friends could enjoy the lights without having loads of screaming kids running around. Hmmm. Just a thought, I’m not a grinch! I do love kids but sometimes a little peace and quiet is a good thing.
Anyway, its still worth a visit and if you have kids then they will absolutely love it. Its finished for 2016 but I imagine it will be on again next year so check back in the future.