Last Thursday evening we went to the Glow Wild Festival at Wakehurst Gardens in West Sussex, a brand new event for this year. It was fabulous, and well worth braving the cold night air! With our own triangular lantern on a pole, we followed the marked pathway through a darkened landscape, lit by thousands of lights and lanterns in different shapes and colours. Throughout most of the mile long trail we could see in the distance the tallest living Christmas tree in the UK, standing in front of the Mansion House, and lit with garlands of lights.
After collecting our lantern, we followed the path down and away from the house. Colour changing lanterns floated on the Mansion Ponds like enormous water lilies, their coloured reflections mirrored in the still water.
Further on, to where a huge white crescent moon and a galaxy of stars were hung above the Water Gardens, reflecting clearly in the dark waters beneath.
Up the steep trail from the Water Gardens, we came upon a huge spiral of fire lanterns, the heat rising in an orange-red haze, and bringing a welcome warm glow to our cold cheeks.
The trail then wound in amongst the trees, where coloured lanterns inspired by seeds and seed pods were hanging high up in the branches. These had been created by local school children.
In the first area of the Walled Garden were scores of tiny braziers, burning with the aromatic scent of frankincense and myrrh. Standing tall in the distance was the Christmas tree, the lights twinkling high above the warm glow of the braziers. The path then passed through a gateway, and wove between huge lantern sculptures of exotic flowers.
Then we were back to the Stables Restaurant, where there was mulled wine and hot chocolate. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and well planned event, that covered four evenings last week. My only disappointment – I was looking forward to the advertised roasted chestnuts, and on Thursday there were none as far as I could see! Despite that, I do hope Wakehurst will repeat the Glow Wild evenings next year – I shall be looking out for them!