To kick off the 2023 festive season, we embarked on a mesmerising journey through the Enchanted Garden at Webbs of Wychbold. What awaited us was not just a Christmas light trail but a magical odyssey inspired by the timeless story of Peter Pan. As we wandered through the illuminated pathways, we couldn’t help but feel like we had stepped into the whimsical realm of Neverland. The first time I visited the enchanted gardens I was overwhelmed with emotion and I wasn’t sure that the experience could be topped but this year the team have really pulled it out of the bag.
Our adventure began as we walked along an illuminated pathway, through the gates and along a street lined with doors, before happening upon the children’s bedroom, a scene that transported us to the very heart of Peter Pan’s world. Each scene opens with a storybook giving an outline of the story. Soft glows and twinkling lights recreated the magical moment when Tinker Bell first sprinkled fairy dust, setting the stage for the extraordinary flight that awaited us.
The evening of our visit was also my dads seventieth birthday and as an avid gardener, and an attentive grandad it was lovely to share the experience and see him taking it all in for the first time, just as it’s exciting to see Arlo’s reactions too. These gardens are a special space at the height of summer but the light trail just brings that festive magic which makes you feel wonderful and it’s fun for all ages.
Following the guidance of the illuminated path, we soared past the moon, following the second star to the right and straight on until morning.
The ethereal glow of the moon and the twinkling stars mirrored the enchanting flight that Peter Pan and his companions undertook as they ventured towards Neverland. The journey through the night sky became a celestial dance, blending the magic of the season with the timeless allure of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale.
Our next discovery was the mesmerising Mermaid Lagoon. The natural water features in the garden seamlessly blended with the enchanting portrayal of mermaids, creating a scene straight out of Barrie’s classic tale. The soft glow of underwater-themed lights and the gentle murmur of the water features transported us to a world where mermaids playfully swam in iridescent waters, beckoning us to join their aquatic revelry.
Continuing our odyssey, we wandered through Neverland and its mystical woods. At one point we met Peter and Tinkerbell, before pausing for a hot chocolate treat. Towering Christmas trees adorned with sparkling lights mirrored the lush forests where Peter and the Lost Boys roamed freely. The air echoed with the cheerful melodies of festive tunes, inviting us to embrace the childlike joy that permeates Neverland.
Our journey through the Enchanted Garden continued, leading us to the heart of Tiger Lily’s camp, a hidden gem within the foliage. The display transported us to the vibrant world where Tiger Lily and the Native American inhabitants of Neverland held their ground against the antics of Captain Hook and his crew. The cultural elements and thoughtful design painted a vivid picture, making us feel like honorary visitors in Tiger Lily’s camp, witnessing the spirit of camaraderie that defines Neverland.
Another enchanting discovery awaited us as we ventured further—a stunning Wendy house nestled amidst the twinkling lights. The intricate details of the Wendy house, adorned with delicate lights and surrounded by the magic of Neverland, invoked the charm of Wendy Darling’s nurturing spirit.
A stunning table was set amongst the trees, inviting us to hold our own imaginary tea party. I couldn’t help but whisper “bangarang” to myself (Robin Williams fans my age will know exactly what I mean).
With so many huge installations jam packed in to this space it’s wonderful how each area is so distinct. Blending the installations with the natural surroundings makes every twist along the meandering path exciting, and it’s carefully planned so that although you get glimpses of what’s to come, there’s still wow moments around every corner. There’s also some beautiful little details, which make it exciting for everyone. You really do have to take your time to look high and low around the trail. Arlo was absorbed by the intricacy of Tinkerbells house.
The journey took an unexpected twist as we encountered Captain Hook, portrayed as a super scary troll. His menacing presence added an extra layer of suspense to the Enchanted Garden, blending the whimsy of Neverland with an unexpected touch of spine-chilling excitement. His hook seemed to loom six feet high and made us want to run quickly past him.
Our senses were enraptured by the symphony of lights, moonbeams, and the soft rustle of the water. The enchanted atmosphere surrounding the pirate ship became a portal to a realm where childhood dreams and fantastical adventures seamlessly converged. At this stage you have the option of taking the exit route or choosing to follow a path to say a quick hello to Santa.
From here there are light tunnels and fairy lights aglow which gently guide the way out to the exit, and provide plenty of opportunity to take family photos and soak up more of the enchanting atmosphere.
Our adventure through the Enchanted Garden at Webbs of Wychbold was a celestial dance with the ageless magic of Neverland. From the children’s bedroom to the thrilling encounter with Captain Hook’s super scary troll form, and finally, the illuminated pirate ship surrounded by the moonlit waters—the Enchanted Garden transported us through the pages of Peter Pan’s story.
We couldn’t help but share our favourite scenes as we paused for some refreshments in the tent. It was a moment frozen in time, inviting all who beheld it to embrace the eternal allure of adventure, friendship, and the enduring joy of the festive season.
This years garden has been bought to life by the team having a special arrangement with Great Ormond Street’s children’s hospital.
Event dates: Friday 17th November 2023 – Wednesday 3rd January 2024
Time slots run every 10 mins. Santa will be at The Enchanted Gardens from November 17th until December 28th inclusive.
Off-peak prices: November weekdays – £16 adult, £10 child (3-16) 0-2 years free. £50 family ticket (two adults, two children)
Standard prices: November weekends, December weekdays up to 14th Decemeber – £18 adult, £12 child (3-16) 0-2 years free. £55 family ticket (two adults, two children)
Peak prices: December weekends and 15th – 23rd December – £19.50 adult, £13.50 child (3-16) 0-2 years free. £60 family ticket (two adults, two children)