We have not visited the annual festive illuminations of ‘Knightshayes by Night‘ before, despite being regular day visitors to the house and fantastic grounds. This year I was really pleased to be able to go with a group of friends. There’s something so Christmassy about pretty lights, and the extra excitement of being out in the dark makes it a real treat for the children.
The illuminations are switched on at 4.30 and you can enter the house any time after that, with the evening ending at 7pm. There’s no need to book (unless you want to visit Fr Christmas – booking essential) and entry is free to members. Normal admission prices apply to non members butntheres no additional charge to see the displays.
The house itself is spectacularly dressed for a Victorian Christmas with lavish decorations in each room, around different themes. The dining table set for an elaborate Christmas dinner is particularly special and made me want to sit down and join in!
Throughout the house are a variety of dolls’ houses of varying ages and styles. Each of these is also decorated for the festive season and really intrigued the children – they spent ages looking at decorations inside house that were inside a house where we looked at decorations!!
The children also loved the study, set up for them to write missives to Father Christmas and complete with an ‘Elf Mail’ postbox. They took a good while over their letters and enjoyed popping them in the box themselves.
After exploring the house we moved to the outdoor illuminations – there’s a handy hot drink opportunity on the way! The exterior of the house is all floodlight in rainbow tones and there is a fairylight trail that takes you around the gardens so see all the willowwork sculptures lit up on the lawns.
The children loved finding the different animals and reading about how they had been created, as well as playing numerous shadow puppet and hiding games in the dark!
Before we finished our visit we discovered the cosy second hand bookshop in the gateway arch which has a selection of children’s books and toys as well as a wide range of fiction and nonfiction for adults too.