Lightbulb moments: stately homes switch to festive festoons

Deprived of revenue by Covid, historic venues are embracing the soaring popularity of ‘light trails’ at Christmas

Winding along the wintry footpath at Audley End House and Gardens in Essex, visitors might be forgiven for thinking they had entered a fairytale kingdom. Glittering strings of festoon lights decorate trees, the reflection of thousands of sparkling bulbs dance on the surface of the River Cam and the formal gardens are bathed in ethereal colours.

The grounds, designed by Capability Brown and maintained by English Heritage, are one of dozens of venues across the country playing host to magical family-friendly light trails this winter – a trend that is becoming increasingly popular.

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