Review: Christmas at Bedgebury 2022

(Gifted)¦ We had a very exciting and festive Friday evening. As soon as we picked Autumn up from school, we hit the road and headed straight to the opening night of this year’s Christmas at Bedgebury. Since the first Christmas light trail at Bedgebury Pinetum in Kent four years ago, it has gained quite the reputation. The last time we attended was actually the first one in 2018 and it was fantastic. We were looking forward to seeing if it had got better and whether it could put us in the Christmas spirit in mid-November! Please note before you start reading that my pictures just don’t do it justice!

As you approach the entrance of Bedgebury Pinetum from the car park, you can’t see much that gives the game away about what you’re about to experience. As we had our tickets scanned, we could see a drink stall and two traditional fair ground rides. Autumn was raring to go on the merry-go-round , but skipped on the swings. Each ride ticket was £2.50 which was quite reasonable for an event like this.

Once Autumn had finished going round and round on a tiny train, we started the walk onto trail. It was off to a strong start! There was large illuminated ‘BEDGEBURY’ sign reflecting on the water, with a backdrop of hundreds of flames over the other side of lake. To the right of the sign, we could see a large light wreath and trees illuminated in a variety of colours, which gently changed.

Behind us, the café was looking amazingly festive too! Christmas music was playing, as it was throughout the trail. At just the right volume, it definitely served its purpose in getting us into the Christmas spirit!

As we began to meander through the trail, it quickly became apparent that Christmas Bedgebury has got even better over the last 4 years. Digital rain was one of my favourite parts. The ‘rain’ dripping down through the forest and its soundtrack was breathtaking. Even Autumn, who is always onto the next thing and never easily impressed stood there mesmerised.

It was very calming, walking through the path with gently coloured trees lit alongside. Christmas songs suiting the ambience played between each light installation, adding to the entertainment. We walked underneath thought-provoking illuminated origami-like ‘ghosts’, before reaching ‘Rays of Light’. This was definitely 22 month old Reuben’s favourite part of the trail. He kept making “Ooooo” noises, saying “Wow!” and even clapped with glee at one point as the colours changed with the music.

Continuing on, we found a traditional Father Christmas dressed in green. He merrily greeted the children and chatted to them in a very friendly manner. He told Autumn he was on holiday at Bedgebury to relax and do some gardening before Christmas and said he liked her dinosaur coat!

I was delighted to find opposite him that Bedgebury have continued to offer marshmallow toasting! It was one of the highlights of the experience last time. On a cold evening as you get to around the middle of the trail, it feels so cosy and wonderful to stand by a fire and eat a gooey marshmallow. This year there were three flavours on offer: vanilla, chocolate or salted caramel. I was so excited I forgot to note how much they cost. However, I think they were just under £2 each.

After our sweet pick-me-up, we continued walking through some suitably Christmassy light installations, past a magical moon and stars reflecting across a lake and through a heart shaped arch!

We soon reached something else I was glad to see again: the Christmas Cathedral! This stunning 39 metre long tunnel is truly something to behold. It’s definitely a favourite – if you don’t take a photo of it or a selfie with it, have you even been to Christmas at Bedgebury?!

We were most of the way round now and both children (aged 6 and 22 months) were absolutely captivated! I’m not sure Reuben could have managed the whole walk, but he walked from just before the Christmas Cathedral which was about two thirds of the way through the trial. Beforehand, we had no problems with the pushchair as the paths were very well maintained.

It was really fun approaching each new area and seeing how the lights changed with the music for each installation. Both children kept smiling (and Reuben kept excitedly yelling) as we travelled through the last part of the Christmas wonderland.

The final part of the trail was the Fire Garden. These were the flames we could see across the water at the start of the water. While in some ways it was one of the simplest parts of the trail, in my opinion it was one of the most striking. If I didn’t need to keep moving because of the children, I could have happily stood there for quite some time admiring them and just taking some time to reflect on things.

I really like that the Christmas trail at Bedgebury is a circular route so you come back to where you started. This allows you to go to the toilets, café or go on the rides again before you head home! Bedgebury’s light trail is definitely one of the best Christmas things you can do in Kent and the surrounding area. It could easily be tacky, but it feels like the light installations work sympathetically alongside nature.

We left feeling very Christmassy, even though it’s still only November! It was without a doubt one of the best Christmas events I’ve ever been to. I enjoyed it so much, I’d really like to go back again. Perhaps for my birthday before it closes on the 2nd of January!

Where is Bedgebury Christmas Lights?

Address: Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Bedgebury Road, Goudhurst
Postcode: TN17 2SJ

Getting to Christmas at Bedgebury

Unless you’re very local, you are almost certainly going to want to drive. The nearest bus stop is approximately a 38 minute walk from Bedgebury Pinetum and the nearest train station is much further!

If you’re local to me, it’s around a 45 minute drive from Rochester or 50 minutes from Gravesend. In my opinion it is well worth it!

How long does it take to walk around Bedgebury Christmas Lights?

The light trail is around a mile long and takes approximately an hour and a half to walk around. It depends how long you spend on the rides, getting food and drinks and just stopping to admire the lights! We were there for about 2 hours in total.

Can you take dogs to the Christmas Light Trail at Bedgebury?

Yes! However, you are expected to be responsible and keep them on a short lead. Extendable leads aren’t allowed.

Is there food at Christmas at Bedgebury?

Yes – there are lots of tasty options at the cafe and food stalls dotted around the trail. I was pleased to find there were a lot of choices for vegetarians too. There are many drinks available to buy too, whether you want soft or boozy. I personally really enjoyed an orange gin hot chocolate from Not Just Gin which was deliciously zesty!

Bedgebury Christmas Light Trail and Parking Prices

Trail entry for adults is £21.50

Trail entry for children (aged 3-16) is £14.50

Infants (aged 0-2) get free entry!

A family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) is £69

If you’re a disabled person with an essential personal assistant, when you book your ticket you can book them one free of charge.

Parking spaces need to be booked at the time of purchasing tickets along with one of your adult trail tickets. Parking costs £8 and there is a blue badge parking space option you can select if you need one.

Please note, there is also a £2 e-ticket transaction fee. You can book your tickets here!

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Disclosure: We were provided in tickets in exchange for coverage of the event. As always, all views and opinions are honest and my own.