Audley End is a 17th Century Manor house in Saffron Walden in Essex managed by English Heritage. During December they run special Enchanted Audley End events where you get the unique opportunity to walk around the gardens at night and see them lit up with colours and lights.
Author: Katie. Disclaimer. Katie and her family were provided with complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review
Enchanted Audley End
We were lucky enough to be given tickets to go along and see this spectacular for ourselves and spectacular it was. We have been to a couple of similar events in the past and this is definitely one of our favourites.
There is special parking for the enchanted event and is clearly signposted from the nearby roads. There are lots of staff on hand to help you park and guide you to where you get your tickets. We were in the first group to go through at 16:30. It was a quick and easy transition to collect our tickets and start our journey.
To start the trail, you walk past a tree which talks to you about living in Audley. It immediately set the standard of what we could expect on the trail.
We were very lucky, the night we chose had clear skies and a full moon, which although cold, added to the festive feel. All the pathways are lit by mini fairy lights which twinkled in the night sky. We turned the first corner on the trail and were immediately met by coloured fountains dancing along to music. The pathway led us through some trees where we watched the fairy’s in cages dance around, they were quite mesmerising. Look out for fairy doors at the base of the trees.
We had to be very brave after this and follow the trail over the bridge and be aware of the trolls that were underneath. Watch out for that dry ice! A tent on the side of the trail gave children the opportunity to light the large oak tree using morse code to spell out their names.
Next was the light maze, literally thousands of little fairy lights creating a maze to guide your family though. After getting out the other side, you are rewarded with the opportunity to purchase mulled wine and a mince pie for £4.75. There are two giant fire pits where you can toast super-size marshmallows. The warmth of the flames was very welcome on little cold hands.
We followed the trail around the front of the house where the façade came alive with bells and fairies and a light show. The animation was breathtaking and very beautiful, we spent a while just watching this and listening to the music.
The path led us in between the buildings where you could use the toilets and purchase a small selection of food from the café. There were three children’s fairground rides which were £2 each for a ride. A mini big wheel or teacups were the favourites on the night. This area also had BBQs which served hotdogs and burgers for £5 each.
We then followed the lighted trail around the start past the massive oak trees. There were giant ball balls hanging from the trees catching the lights that shone from the ground up. The final part of the trail was a wish tree where children could write their wishes and hang them from the tree.
We loved our time at the enchanted event. The trees were all lit in beautiful colours and the pathways were stunningly guided with little fairy lights. The perfect addition to every festive season. The event is fully wheelchair and buggy accessible meaning everyone can enjoy the enchanted event. Well done Audley End for putting on such a magical event.
It is recommended that you pre-book your visit in advance and you will need to choose a time slot. Popular dates can soon sell out. A standard adult ticket is £14.00 and £12.00 off-peak. Children are £9.50 or £7.50. A standard family ticket is £37.60. Adult members of English Heritage benefit from a £4.00 reduction and children £2.50. Children under 5 are free. Please note that fairground rides and games are available at a small additional cost.
On selected dates until the 30th of December. All dates have sold out pre-Christmas day. This is one to book in advance in 2020.
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