Last night our family took a trip over to Woburn Abbey for the Luminaries Woburnensis, a light, fire and ice event in the Abbey Gardens. We were very lucky to have a beautifully clear night and with the temperature pretty low it was the ideal weather for it.
As you entered the event you were greeted by food stalls and boutique stall holders around the main buildings, all accompanied by the Woburn Sands Band. The very first stop was the lantern making stall where we decorated a paper bag, popped in an electric candle, stuck it on a cane and off we went into the dark like the dwarves from Snow White…
Throughout the gardens lanterns lit paths leading to fire jugglers, incredible ice sculptures and the beautiful Chinese Dairy. The really great thing was that sculptors from Glacial Art were present and carving so that you could watch the sculptures transform before your eyes.The lighting was really great as it really highlighted the contours of the ice so that everything was clear and visible.
My only disappointment in the evening was the ‘interactive ice wall’. My family and I had envisioned a wall of ice that people could all have a go at and chip away as they liked. The reality was a sculpture where one of the sculptors guided your hand as you chipped away for a minute or so where they told you. I only saw little children do this and to be honest there didn’t seem to be much in it for them as they were following a design.
However there were two other parts to the evening that I particularly liked. The first was the Tree of Dreams on which you could hang a lantern with a wish. The tree was the focal point of the central lawns and every visitor passed it on their way to the main grounds. By the end of the evening it was completely covered and it was lovely to read others’ wishes for the future, regrets of the past and messages of joy and hope for loved ones… or lego.
The other highlight of the evening for me was the opportunity to send a lotus lantern out onto the lake. As this was a live flame candle it was a very sweet gesture and made for beautiful viewing, especially as the breeze blew the lanterns out into the centre of the lake.
This was only the third annual event, and I hope that they continue and grow. If you’d like a lovely family event to kick off Winter then the Luminaries Woburnensis at Woburn Abbey is ideal.