Culture Writer Yankie Chow reviews the Luminate Winter Light Trail, finding it to be a magical and immersive experience that creates a festive atmosphere
As Christmas comes, lots of different places have been covered with celebrations or lights for this special occasion, and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens is no exception, with the Luminate Winter Light Trail transforming the whole garden into a lively, magical place.
The Luminate Winter Light Trail is a spectacular, illuminated trail that enthrals your senses, particularly your sight, by leading you into a wonderful, intriguing, and delightful path when you see the lights and the trees around merging together as if entering an enchanted forest. As darkness descends, it is the start of a mysterious but wonderful journey when weaves of captivating lights shine through the stunning, historic grounds of the Gardens. With mysterious background music and stunning lights embedded into the Gardens, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience walking down a mile-long trail, immersing yourself in the garden with unknown surprises lying ahead.
Firstly, the lights near the entrance already catch your eyes as you enter the start of the trail. There are lights illuminating the trees in different colours, mostly purple and white, showing the leafless branches. There are candle-like lights placed around the plain grounds of the grass, lighting up the Gardens and making the whole place mesmerising.
Continuing down the path full of illuminated trees, a path illuminating the road in the form of stripes in rainbow colours brings you towards the next location. There are different stepping interactive boards that are lit up in different colours. The trees glow with colourful lights and fairy lights hang around the trees like fireflies. There is a lot of variation and creativity when walking down the road, with different decorations glowing in the night and props hanging around the trees like baubles, as well as lights in the shapes of Christmas trees. This all works to fill the night with a festive atmosphere.
The place I love most is the decoration lighting up the lake, which makes the place look mysterious and magical at the same time. The addition of the light shifting and changing colours, as well as the low dim sounds echoing around, allow you to immerse yourself in the calm, mystical space of the Gardens. This point has the prettiest scenery of the whole light trail, due to the addition of the interactive lights shifting and changing colours, as well as different props such as the moon reflecting different visual images and videos. The last stop on the Light Trail allows you to write down wishes or comments for the new year, which makes an amazing end to the journey.
The entire trail completely immersed me, with the stunning lighting elements and decorations making the place feel like Christmas has already come. The Luminate Winter Light Trail is a timeless experience to be enjoyed by everyone, especially for families and friends to celebrate this joyful occasion together.
The Luminate Winter Light Trail is at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens until 2nd January 2024
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