Set to be one of the most eye-catching events of the winter, The Festival of Light at Longleat will bring the curtain down on the Safari Park's very own 50th birthday celebrations in truly spectacular style.Starting on November 11th, and running through to January 2nd, the winter spectacular will once again take the age-old tradition of the Chinese lantern and completely transform it for today's modern audience.
As well as lighting the candles on its 50th birthday celebrations, however, Longleat's Festival of Light will this year also mark 150 years of Beatrix Potter - by combining a collection of its own majestic safari animals with some of the author's key animal characters in a series of delightful scenes built by Longleat's creative partners in China.
Nothing quite like The Festival of Light had ever been seen in the UK before it first appeared in 2014 - as hundreds of illuminated designs (some measuring up to 20 metres in height, and 70 metres in length) helped to transform the world-famous Wiltshire estate into a glowing winter wonderland on a spectacular scale.
Around 40 types of animals, from rabbits to lions, will be depicted in in this year's light show. But the single biggest illumination, amongst a total of around 2,500 individual lanterns this year, will be the cake. Standing 20 meters high, and 12 meters wide, the icing on the cake will (quite literally!) be 1,100 meters of silk in 17 different colors, all topped-off by 2,000 meters of LED lights.
Another highlight will be three elephants made of porcelain pieces from 30,000 Chinese rice wine cups, tea cups, fish dishes, plates and Chinese soup spoons!
The scale of the show is put into some kind of perspective by knowing that 146 specialist workers in China have been taking parts in the process of making the lights, and that 39 of them will be making the journey to the UK to oversee their installation. Some 4,000 meters of LED lighting and 30,000 light bulbs will be needed for this year's light show, along with around 20,000 meters of silk fabric.
The Festival of Light will once again run alongside Longleat's traditional Christmas celebrations, which include the Santa Train, and a new Giant Musical Christmas Tree which, as well as taking the place of the old one, will also feature special light projections. And this year, Longleat House will be decorated for an Edwardian Christmas while also featuring some of the costumes from Royal Ballet production from the tales of Beatrix Potter.