Bournemouth’s beautiful Garden of Lights started on November 16, and will finish on the January 6, next year.
This new Christmas festival features nine interactive light pods for visitors to explore, touch and be dazzled by.
Each unique pod offers a different experience to excite the senses.
They range from the funky ‘HipPODrome’ which is filled with glittering disco balls, through to the modern ‘Light Lounge’, an archway of changing rainbow colours, which at night stands boldly against the clear winter sky.
The ‘Optical World’ pod, packed with hanging optical lights, leaves those immersed inside feeling like they are lost in a different dimension.
It is completely free to all visitors where it is open every day late into the evening.
The Garden of Lights is a great family night out.
Kids are encouraged to get as familiar as possible with the pods even to the extent of crawling inside hidden compartments.
The closed-off feel of the Lower Gardens creates an open air space for children and adults alike to play and explore making them feel as though they have left the real world and entered one of optical spectacles.
It is also a romantic evening for couples looking to add a little extra sparkle to a date.
Not only can couples roam between the pods, but there is a real ice rink situated in the centre of the gardens which provides an extra buzz for the more adventurous.
From the rink the Garden of Lights becomes a blur of colour. For a reasonable price you can rent some skates and enjoy an hour on the ice. It is recommended to book in advance though as it is expected to get very busy.
The first night of festivities certainly left the people of Bournemouth in a brighter mood. “We think it’s lovely,” said Paul, 82, and Jenny Hewes, 65. “The ice skating is terrific,” they added.
Visitors felt it was a new and fresh way to get into the Christmas spirit. “It’s a really different take on Christmas celebrations,” said Sarah Terry, 18.
“It’s different. It’s something we’ve never seen before,” agrees Sally Crosthwaite, 18.
The Garden of Lights is just one feature of this year’s festivities which has been organised as part of the Christmas Festival.
The Christmas Market, live band and the popular German ‘Moose Bar’ are part of the festival that has transformed Bournemouth town centre into a festive hive of light, sound, smell, and taste.
An evening enjoying the lights is well rounded off by a bite to eat in the market
“It’s really Christmassy,” says Amy Donelan, 20. “It’ll get everyone in the mood.” The Christmas festivities don’t end with just the Garden of Lights and Christmas market.
Bournemouth Pavillion are holding a host of family friendly perfomances, with the highlight being Aladdin starring Scott Maslen, who plays Jack Branning in Eastenders as the evil Abanazar.
Russian dancers will wow and twirl on ice as they lead children and parents alike into the magical world of Peter Pan.
That’ll Be The Day Christmas show returns for more singing and dancing fun that will get people into the festive mood in the lead up to Christmas.
Children will be given the chance to visit Santa in the Christmas grotto and a fun Christmas parade will take place through the streets of Bournemouth.
For those who are more creative, families can create their own traditonal Victorian wreath.
Look at the What’s On Guide page for more details on events in Bournemouth this Christmas or for more image visit the council’s website.