As dark nights lengthen, Ignite at Polesden Lacey celebrates autumn and anticipates the glittering arrival of winter with a spectacular blaze of light. Beneath our boots, autumnal leaves crunch as we follow a three-quarter mile trail through the estate’s 1,400 acres.
Though the house at Bookham, near Dorking, lies in the Surrey Hills, the trail is flat and easy walking, taking advantage of the estate’s wide tree-lined avenues, brilliantly lit for this festival of light.
Children love the hand-lanterns distributed at the beginning of the trail and the terrain is flat enough for pushchairs too.
The current grandiose house, with Regency touches, was extensively rebuilt in Edwardian times for Margaret Greville, a renowned society hostess. Such was the lure of her fine collections of art and furniture that the Queen Mother spent a portion of her honeymoon at Polesden Lacey in 1923.
If Margaret Greville could see one of Ignite’s most spectacular panoramas, a lawn of hundreds of flickering lights leading to the spectacularly lit house, she would wished that she could have created such a scene for one of her renowned, lavish house parties.
This is a spectacular family walk for all the family, children love the autumnal collages of fairies and toadstools, giant wicker weaved creatures and a fire-breathing dragon too. A huge red breasted wicker robin reminds walkers that Christmas is just around the corner.
One highlight, particularly for selfies, is the 100,000 pea lights tunnel of light, which nearly 50 metres long. All part of an immersive and sometimes fiery interpretation of flora and fantasy.
As the walk’s moods fluctuate the soundtrack changes too. Listen for snatches of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Debussy’s Clair de Lune and excerpts from the Harry Potter film score.
Grown-ups are spurred on by the prospect of mulled wine, hot spiced cider, hot chocolate with Baileys or Irish coffee and cream. Other (non-alcoholic) drinks are available as are a range of hot foods.
Ignite also proves Christmas shopping solutions too. An extensively stocked National Trust shop, by the end of the trail, has a range of Surrey beers, Polesden Lacey chutney, local wood crafts and plenty of hats, gloves and scarves for Christmas presents.
Visiting Polesden Lacey
For further information visit Ignite | Illumination event | Surrey | Polesden Lacey | National Trust
Ignite runs though to Sunday November 7th 2021
Images: Copyright Richard Houghton, Sony Music
For more ideas for days out around the UK, visit our Travel channel.Tags: Michael Edwards, Polesden Lacey, Surrey, Travel Last modified: October 25, 2021