This week, we experienced our first ever Glow Wild at Wakehurst Park & Gardens.
For years we’ve been meaning to go, but never managed to get tickets. Therefore when we were invited to pop along as part of their opening night we were hardly going to say no – even on a school night!
If you’ve ever been to Glow Wild, you will know why the event always sells out. Not yet visited? Then let us tell you about our first time… (don’t worry if you’re in a rush – check out the reel we made following our visit).
Wakehurst; which is part of the Kew Gardens family, is probably one of our favourite National Trust locations.
Not only does it boast perfectly curated gardens, a manor house and the world’s largest seed conservation, but surrounding Wakehurst is the Loder Valley Nature Reserve. A 150-acre nature reserve which is a haven of wetlands, meadows and dense woodlands. You can easily spend a day here, with more to look forward to upon your return.
Therefore, getting the opportunity to visit Wakehurst at night was always going to be special.
Go Wild for Glow Wild
Glow Wild is an award-winning night-time lantern trail that takes you through on a walk through Wakehurst’s many gardens. Each year has a different theme, with this year’s theme dedicated to the spectrum of colours in nature, inviting you to explore how we see colour and celebrating the role it plays in our daily lives.
Curated over an 18 month period, and taking over 3 weeks to build, Glow Wild is an incredible sensory experience for all – ranging from sound to smell! As soon as you enter Glow Wild you’re invited to take your very own lantern. This is a wonderful feature as it connects you to the other exhibits throughout the trail, and in no time at all you’re immersed.
As this was our first-ever Glow Wild, we didn’t have much to compare it to. But, then I don’t think you can really compare it as it has so much to give. As well as the hand-crafted lanterns; which range in size and colour, there’s also light displays on trees. At one section, there was also an enormous fire display which looked like something out of A Game of Thrones.
One of our favourite pieces, and probably the most impressive, were the displays that were set on water. As well as appreciating the efforts that would have taken to install, adding the sounds of water and the reflection of light made it absolutely captivating.
Throughout the trail are a number of stalls selling hot drinks and snacks. These will no doubt be very welcome when when the temperature drops! But don’t worry if you don’t want to test your bladder strength, because at the end of the trail you’re invited to explore even more stalls. From jacket potatoes and hot dogs, to sweeter treats! There even a Brazier where you can toast marshmallows (and warm those hands!). And that’s not the end of the experience, either! Because, whilst enjoying a hot chocolate there’s also a small area where you can stand and listen to stories. This was such a lovely finishing touch to the experience, and meant it didn’t end so abruptly.
On your way out (and towards the gift shop!) you also pass Wakehurst’s Christmas Tree. This tree is the UK’s tallest living Christmas Tree, decorated with almost 2,000 lights!
Things to know before you book!
The trail is just over one mile long and takes approximately an hour to walk round. It can be viewed from hard standing and/or flat gravel paths. That being said, please be aware that the landscape is undulating. There are some slopes and slight inclines, and not all paths are concrete or even.
Children’s scooters are not permitted on the trail. Only Registered disability assistance dogs are allowed, other dogs are not allowed.
There are accessible toilets and baby changing facilities available at the start and throughout the trail. These are at the Schools Entrance, Visitor Centre, and Stables Kitchen.
During Glow Wild season, there will be a limited number of quiet session tickets. These are suitable for visitors with hidden disabilities, such as autism, to make for a more comfortable visit whilst still benefiting from the sensory elements of Glow Wild.
Quiet sessions offer access before the general public on selected evenings from Friday 25 November 2022 to Sunday 1 January 2023 at 4.15pm. To find out more about these events, check out the link here. (Please note: Wakehurst asks that other visitors respect the quiet sessions and do not book during these limited time slots).
This year is Glow Wild’s 9th year, with next year being their 10th Birthday! Will you be there to celebrate? Tickets go on sale in January, though, so get in there quick!
We were invited to visit Glow Wild in exchange for a review and social media coverage. All thoughts, opinions and imagery are our own.
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