Enchanted Woodland at Syon Park

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Having seen some of the stunning photos of last year’s event my hopes for this event were high, and I wasn’t disappointed. The organizers of this event have wonderfully transformed the historic and beautiful Syon Park with illuminations, mist and other brilliant effects.

After collecting our tickets from the kiosk we entered a dark tunnel into the illuminated walkway. This had luminous shapes interspersed in the darkness and it really felt like you were entering a different world. Leaving this tunnel we walked around the lake, which was beautifully shrouded in mist and spotlights.

The walk was around a mile long but it was so full of varied illuminations and interactive lighting experiences that I would leave up to 2 hours to fully experience it. We happily strolled through these illuminated woodlands and took in the wonderfully illuminated trees and bushes, awash with stark colourful lighting effects.

We came to a stop and looked at line of huge trees on the horizon. In the foreground was an illuminated tent. That’s a strange place to camp I thought! I went on the question whether they had a valid camping permit and just as I was about to report them to the authorities the symphony from The Nutcracker blasted out from inside the tent. One of trees in the distance suddenly burst into light, then another and then another. I realized they were being illuminated in different colours in time with the music. It’s hard to describe just how stunning this was to watch, but we stayed to watch the whole section twice. I used shazam on my phone to find out who the song was before trying to impress my friends by feigning knowledge in classical music.

One of the interactive exhibitions was a cannon type structure with 4 switches. We pressed the first 3 switches and a line of lights shot out across the cannon. That was good, I thought, even if it was a slight anticlimax. Suddenly a large pillar in the distance burst into light. I was about to push the fourth switch but had horrible visions that this may make the pillar genuinely explode. Although this would have been spectacular to watch I really didn’t want to partake in the resulting clean up. I was wearing new shiny shoes and I wanted to keep them looking that way.

In addition to the mist and lighting effects there were real artistic and surreal flourishes under some trees, like hanging baskets, wooden owls and other brilliant creations. These touches made it brilliant for children as well as adults and we saw several families happily entertained. A large screen allowed you to make shadow animals, with instructions. My girlfriend, attempted a horse, but either didn’t read or understand the instructions, and it looked like a mutated spider. We quickly moved onto another section to escape the screams of other spectators.

This fantastic tour ended inside Syon House with a spectacular light and waterfall show accompanied by classical music. An array of amazing shapes and creatures were illuminated onto a waterfall, the final one I exclaimed was a “unicorn”. To my embarrassment my girlfriend stated that this was in fact a sea horse. I watched the rest of this display quietly. This rivaled the illuminated horizon in time to the Nutcracker music and was a phenomenal end to a fantastic event.

We finished off in their Christmassy café, which sells cakes, hot drinks and alcohol, and compared photos. I guarantee that this is the best £7 you will ever spend and you will never see anything quite like it. The Enchanted Woodland is open next Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and then it will close for another year. Go and see it this coming weekend as it is a spectacular and unforgettable start to the festive season. It also makes for a great early Christmas present, as it seems much more expensive than it actually is.

Written by Martin Stocks

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