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What is Christmas at Wimpole?
A brand new after-dark illuminated trail through festive gardens.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year when twinkling lights and seasonal sounds fill the air with festive fun at the National Trust’s Wimpole, near Cambridge. Look forward to some together time as you discover sparkling tunnels of light, walk under giant baubles and beneath trees drenched in jewel-like colour. For a moment of reflection, pause at mesmerising flickering flames in the fire garden, gaze at the specially chosen illuminations and don’t forget to glimpse Father Christmas along the way.
Have yourself a holly, jolly Christmas and complete your walk under the stars with a *spiced winter warmer, *hot chocolate or *toasted marshmallows shared with someone special.
Your very merriest Christmas starts here. Limited capacity with timed entry. Plan now to secure the date and time of your choice.
*separate charges apply
Christmas at Wimpole will run on the following dates:
Friday 26th November – Sunday 28th November
Friday 3rd December – Sunday 5th December
Wednesday 8th December – Friday 24th December
Sunday 26th December – Sunday 2nd January
What are the trail times?
4:30pm*,4:45pm, 5:00pm, 5:15pm, 5:30pm, 5:45pm, 6:00pm, 6:15pm, 6:30pm, 6:45pm, 7:00pm, 7:15pm*, 7:30pm*, 7:45pm*, 8:00pm*
*Selected dates only
Where is Christmas at Wimpole and how do I get there?
Address: National Trust Wimpole, Arrington, Royston, Cambridge, SG8 0BW.
By train: Shepreth is 5 miles from Wimpole and Royston is 8 miles.
By road: 8 miles south-west of Cambridge (A603) and 6 miles north of Royson (A1198). Wimpole’s entrance is via the A603.
By bus: The 75 from Cambridge drops off passengers at Arrington (1 mile from Wimpole) or Orwell (2 miles from Wimpole).
Who is Christmas at Wimpole suitable for?
Christmas at Wimpole is suitable for all ages – to be enjoyed by everyone.
Should I arrive in advance of my trail time?
We would advise arriving 15 minutes before your chosen trail start time.
I am visiting Wimpole during the day, do I need to leave before entering Christmas at Wimpole in the evening?
Yes. To ensure that only ticket holders for Christmas at Wimpole have entry to the illuminated trail in the evening, daytime visitors must vacate the Garden at the closing time.
Can we see Father Christmas?
At this time of year, Father Christmas is extremely busy so is unable to meet children individually, however be sure to look out for him as he will be on the trail this Christmas!
Will there be strobe lighting?
There will be lighting sequences created within the design that will have some flashing lights contained within them. However, there will be no strobe lighting. We have worked to guidelines on photosensitive epilepsy and will adhere to the industry standard of synchronising effects and locking the sequences to ensure that lights do not operate at more than 5 flashes per second.
What should I wear?
Christmas at Wimpole takes place outdoors and you may need to queue on busy days. Please wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear for winter weather. We reserve the right to refuse inappropriately clothed patrons’ access to the trail.
Where can I buy tickets from?
You can buy tickets for Christmas at Wimpole here.
Do I have to book in advance?
We recommend that you book early. Each timed entry has a limited capacity and the early evening and weekend slots are very likely to sell out.
What are the prices for Christmas at Wimpole?
Members Advance On The Day
^Includes a car parking space
Infants (0-2 years) on the day of the illuminated trail and carers go free (carers should be 16+). Infant and carer tickets must be booked in advance.
*Family consists of 2 adults and 2 children (aged 3-16).
All orders are subject to a single transaction charge; £2.00 per transaction for E-Tickets.
Can I buy additional tickets?
Yes. If you require any additional entry admission tickets after placing your order please click here and scroll down to “Already ordered tickets?” to add any ticket types you require. Please note that you will need to have your Reference Number at hand.
Do I need to buy a parking ticket to park at Christmas at Wimpole?
Yes, parking is limited and a parking space MUST be purchased in advance along with your trail entry tickets online.
National Trust Members park for free but parking tickets MUST be booked in advance with a trail ticket. Proof of valid membership MUST be shown on arrival – failure to do so will result in full price car-parking charge. Members will be charged a transaction fee if parking is booked separately.
If you are planning to arrive by car, please ensure that your ticket includes a parking space. Please note that every Adult Trail Entry or Family Trail Entry ticket including a parking space that you select will give you an additional parking space. Please ensure you select the correct amount of tickets with and without parking for your party.
If you require additional parking spaces after your initial order has been made, please click here and scroll down to “Already ordered tickets?”. Additional car parking tickets cost £8.00 per car and a transaction fee will apply if car parking is booked separately.
Car parking AND Blue Badge parking is charged at £8.00 per car and a transaction fee will apply if car parking is booked separately.
As I am a National Trust member, do I still need to pay for Christmas at Wimpole or do I get a discount?
Everyone, including National Trust members, must pay for entry to the trail. Christmas at Wimpole is an illuminated trail held outside of Wimpole’s normal opening hours. The charge for entry reflects the high quality nature of this ticketed trail
How can I organise a group visit and is there a group rate?
There is a group rate of 10% off groups of 15+ adults. Please email See Tickets Groups: email@example.com
Group discounts are not available to book online and apply to adult tickets only.
All customers are reminded to be aware of the latest government legislation when visiting the light trail. Please be mindful that legislation may change between time of booking and day of visit.
We will be arriving by coach, do we need to reserve a coach parking space?
Yes, there is space for 2 coaches per evening. Coach parking is charged at £20.00 per coach and MUST be booked in advance by contacting SEE Tickets Groups on firstname.lastname@example.org
How/when will I receive my tickets?
Your E-Tickets will be attached to your confirmation email.
I bought tickets but have not received a confirmation email. What should I do?
Please check your Junk / Spam folders as sometimes the confirmation email falls into these folders. If you still have not received your confirmation email, you can resend your confirmation email to yourself here.
If I am unable to print my E-Tickets or display my tickets on a phone, what should I do?
If you are unable to print your E-Tickets or if you are unable to display your tickets on your phone please use the Chat Bot located in the bottom right corner of your screen and explain that you are unable to print your E-Tickets off.
How can I contact See Tickets?
For ticketing enquiries, please visit the Customer Service tab here and type in your order reference number, followed by either your post code, phone number or last 4 digits of your payment card. Once complete, please click on 'Find Order' and scroll to the 'Contact Us' section at the bottom of the page. Here you can provide brief details of your enquiry and See Tickets will get back to you.
For all other enquiries, please refer to the FAQs here or use the Chat Bot facility in the bottom right corner of your screen.
How long is the trail?
We recommend that it will take approximately 1.5 hours to explore and enjoy all aspects of the illuminated trail.
Are there toilets on the trail?
There will not be any toilets along the trail. Toilets can be found in the communal spaces where the café is located and at the visitor centre at the front of the estate.
Are dogs allowed on the trail?
Only guide dogs and registered assistance dogs are permitted on the illuminated trail.
Is the trail dark or covered?
In some areas the lighting will be low level as part of the experience. We do encourage visitors to bring along a torch in case of an emergency; this should not be used unless it is necessary.
The trail is not covered and all visitors are reminded that this is an outdoor illuminated trail and the weather may be inclement. Please wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear for winter.
If I am delayed and miss my slot, can I join a later slot?
We will try and accommodate you on the next available slot within the trail operational hours on the day.
What are the last entry times?
Last entry onto the trail:
7:15pm – Friday 24th December, Sunday 26th December, Friday 31st December
8:15pm – All other dates
What time does the illuminated trail finish?
All customers must exit the car park no later than 2 hours after the last trail start time and in all case by 10:00pm.
Can I bring my drone?
Drones are not permitted.
Can I take photographs?
We encourage you to take photographs and to share these on social media with the hashtag #ChristmasAtWimpole. You can also follow the developments across our Christmas Trails via ‘My Christmas Trails’ on Facebook and Instagram.
What provision do you have for disabled guests?
There are accessible toilets at the Hardwicke Gate entrance which is close to the car park and visitor centre.
Do you have parking for disabled visitors?
Yes, there are spaces available close to the entrance and these should be booked at the same time of purchasing your trail ticket. Blue Badge parking is charged at £8.00 per car for non-National Trust members.
If you have not included Blue Badge Parking within your order, please scroll down to “Already ordered tickets?” here to add your parking. Please not that these spaces are limited and must be purchased in advance.
Is Christmas at Wimpole accessible for wheelchair users?
The illuminated trail is approximately 1.5 miles in length. The route is designed so that it can be viewed solely from even paths, some interactive elements may invite the audience on to grass where additional pedestrian matting will be provided.
Can I bring my mobility scooter or can mobility scooters be provided?
Mobility scooters will not be available for hire. You are welcome to bring your own mobility scooter.
Am I eligible for a free carer’s ticket?
A disabled person purchasing ticket may bring one essential carer companion free of charge.
I need more than one carer, what should I do?
If you require more than one carer, please visit Customer Service here. You will need your Booking Reference Number at hand.
Is there a relaxed session?
Wednesday 8th December will see the Illuminated Trail open early at 4pm for audiences with specific access requirements. These slots allow an hour before the main evening audience start out on the trail.
These sessions are created for young people and adults who would love to experience the Christmas at Wimpole illuminated trail without the usual numbers of people and at reduced audio volumes. These sessions will also be early enough that they will just about start in twilight making it a less daunting transition in to the dark.
The capacity of these sessions will be limited to ensure that the trail remains less crowded and more relaxed. Audiences will be the first group on-site and therefore all areas will be relatively clear.
It should be noted that on many of our trails the path network is not tarmac, and although there are stewards along the route to assist you, the trail will follow the natural contours of the venue. When booking, please talk to our staff about any additional support you may need for exiting the illuminated trail through quieter areas or help with parking closer to the start of the trail.
Ticket prices for these special access sessions are the same as the rest of illuminated trail – with free carer tickets where required. To book these sessions, please click here
Can I purchase food and drink on site?
There will be a number of seasonal food and drink chalets serving hot, hand-held food, catering also for younger visitors and certain dietary needs. Hot drinks will also be on offer. Visitors can also toast marshmallows at one of our purpose-built fire pits.
Can I bring my own food and drink?
Only food and drinks purchased on-site are permitted to be consumed during the illuminated trail.
How much are Ride Tokens and what rides will be available?
At present, this area is under review. More information regarding rides will follow shortly
What will happen if the weather is bad? Will the trail be cancelled?
Christmas at Wimpole is an outdoor illuminated trail. If the weather presents a hazard and a risk to safety, any decision to cancel the illuminated trail will be taken by 2pm on the day of the illuminated trail. If you booked your ticket online or by telephone via See Tickets, you will be notified by email and text message and you will be informed of the re-booking process. We advise you to check the website for the latest updates and before you travel.
If I am unable to attend a different day, can I get a refund?
If the illuminated trail is cancelled due to weather and ticket holders are not able to attend the alternative night offered, then a refund will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Where a refund is due, the ticket must be returned within 28 days following the illuminated trail date. We can also offer tickets for the following year.
I have booked for the wrong day – can I transfer over to another day?
No, we are unable to offer exchanges or refunds once tickets have been purchased. It is noted on the website and at the point of booking that you need to make sure that you have chosen the right date.
I have lost my ticket, what can I do?
If your tickets are lost or if you require your E-Tickets to be re sent to you, please contact See Tickets here. Please note that you will need to have your Reference Number at hand and this will render your original tickets invalid.
The trail will be architecturally lit by experienced lighting designers who have developed sensitive ways of working in heritage and landscape settings.
Responding to the natural darkness of sites is key to the success of these illuminated trails. The best visual work is sensitive to light “competition” and the brightness of one light source relative to another. We therefore take advantage of the environmental darkness to reduce the overall brightness of our lighting interventions. We allow ample space within our audience experiences for people’s eyes to attune to the darkness. This allows them to appreciate the sights and sounds of the natural environment as a contrast to, and context, for our artistic efforts. We try to avoid continuous lighting of trails and paths, and will only use audience area lighting where it is absolutely necessary for reasons of public safety.
Sound installations are created to provide atmosphere and a sense of feeling for an installation. All sounds are targeted and specific to a part of the route and are therefore contained within defined spaces. There is no noise pollution over and above the natural sound level created by the presence of audiences on the trail.
Wherever possible fuel for power generation is kept to a minimum by efficient use of power loadings and low wattage lighting units where appropriate.
· Consideration for the illuminated trail’s sustainability has been built into the planning process which we hope will be to inspire and engage new and existing visitors.
· The trail designers, Culture Creative, have been appointed on the strength of their experience of working in environmentally sensitive ways in heritage and landscape settings.
· Wherever possible we use mains power. Where generators are needed, these are carefully specified and operated to ensure the most efficient fuel usage. Low wattage lighting units are used where possible on the trail.
· Culture Creative’s design ethos is to take advantage of the environmental darkness reducing the overall brightness of their lighting interventions, whilst maximising the impact of their artistic efforts.
· Care is also taken to ensure that we are considerate of our neighbours who live adjacent to the venue.
In order to assess the likely impact of the illuminated trail both a desk study and ecology surveys are conducted on site. The route proposed for the trail, is walked and checked on a regular basis with horticultural staff from the venue, this is an ongoing process throughout the design of the illuminated trail.
The illuminated trail is planned and installed by Culture Creative Limited. Culture Creative specialises in illuminated trails in sensitive venues with high biodiversity and important historical heritage. Its staff have valuable experience in minimising negative impacts which might be anticipated and work with venue staff to meet and resolve any concerns which arise.
The duration of the illuminated trail spans from December to the New Year, the time of year in which there is least wildlife activity. Many protected species such as bats and amphibians are hibernating. The earliest bird nesting activity is from February onwards but all the equipment will have been removed by then. In addition, the illuminated trail is open for a maximum of six hours only each night. These restrictions on the open nights and times will reduce any impacts upon wildlife.
Generators used on the route are very quiet and will be inaudible from the trail. The power will be carried using cabling with no adverse effect on wildlife. Much of the lighting will be floor based to highlight trees. The trees form part of the cultivated collections at each venue and their welfare is paramount as part of the planning of the illuminated trail.
Where possible routes will be on hard surfaces i.e. paths. They pass through areas which are well-walked by visitors daily and will not take in any sections of sensitive wild floras.
Sound installations on areas of water where a number of birds have the potential to roost are modified and designed to minimise any potential for damage.
Reptiles and amphibians
There should be no impact from the illuminated trail upon reptiles or amphibians.
We monitor activity in setts close to the trail for any adverse effect on the badgers underground. It is quite possible that visitors will glimpse them since the badgers are to some extent used to public presence in the evenings and are very inquisitive.
Every care is taken to ensure that any potential bat roosts are not lit directly to avoid any potential disturbance during hibernation.
Our illuminated trails are small, tightly contained, and open for limited hours at a very dormant time of year. We do not foresee any adverse effect on wildlife.