Illuminated Light Trail at Blenheim
There are Christmas lights then there are the Christmas lights at Blenheim Palace. Ever since the first Duke of Marlborough decided to build England’s only non-royal, non-episcopal palace instead of a stately home Blenheim Palace has not done things by halves.
This year, Christmas 2019, the landscape of Capability Brown has been lit with a trail of light installations.
Passing through a circle of lights in to an enchantingly light woodland if orange and green and through a tunnel of over 100,000 pea-lights you enter into an enchanting landscape. It is another world to the one seen in daylight hours on a fine summers evening. One of the first installations is the boathouse clothed in blue and purple light and home to several light created penguins.
The path winds through woodland all moodily lit by up-lights and the occasional spotlights highlighting the shapes, outlines and texture of the trees.
No two light installations are the same and each has its own Christmas music playing from hidden directional loudspeakers so as not to intrude on neighbouring installations. Giant light sculptures represent hellebores also known as the “Christmas Rose” in the meadow between the trees. Animated chandeliers with lights changing shape and colour to Aled Jones singing “Walking in the Air” cause you to stand and stare in wonder.
Technology is to the fore in several of the installations. However, what appears to be rows of lasers bending round the trees is in fact something far more mundane [SPOILER ALERT – scroll to the end to find out what]. Beyond this are the real lasers with smoke billowing from behind the trees creating an other-worldly, sci-fi atmosphere.
There are more lasers beyond the constant changing coloured lights that light the waterfall. This is a laser show to music where people can stop a while, sip coffee or hot chocolate and enjoy a hot snack.
Beyond this are the light installations around the formal gardens and the Christmas video projected onto the facade of Blenheim Palace itself. what a terrific finale to the trail
Light shows and illuminated trails are on the verge of becoming a trend. If the trail at Blenheim Palace is anything to go by then we are in for a real treat around Christmas time when the days are longer and the hours of darkness are early enough for families to enjoy the show together.
The only only light show that I have witnessed that is more spectacular than the one at Blenheim is nature’s very own light show, the Northern Lights.
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The effect is created by simply shining UV lights on fluorescent string art.