Review: Enchanted Light Trail at Old Town Gardens: Is it worth the price?

Old Town Gardens lit up for the Enchanted Light Trail <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Old Town Gardens lit up for the Enchanted Light Trail (Image: Newsquest)

Maybe it was because the fog provided the perfect backdrop for it, but I was truly impressed by the Enchanted Light Trail at Old Town's town gardens.

The attraction has returned for its second-year thanks to South Swindon Parish Council after raising almost £30,000 for Brighter Futures in its first outing, and I was lucky enough to attend a preview of it during a very foggy Thursday evening.

On entering, Parish councillor Neil Hopkins, who first brought up the idea of Swindon having its very own light trail, stressed that it was bigger and better this year and he certainly delivered on that promise.

Back again were some of last year's most popular installations, such as the dazzling mirror balls and the effortlessly fun interactive light piano, but joining them was a number of new light pieces.

Swindon Advertiser: The Town Garden trees looking amazing as part of the Enchanted Light Trail
Swindon Advertiser: The Town Garden trees looking amazing as part of the Enchanted Light Trail

The Town Garden trees looking amazing as part of the Enchanted Light Trail (Image: Newsquest)

The atmosphere was incredible. The town gardens are beautiful at the best of times, but there was something special about seeing the trees of the Victorian gardens lit up in a variety of colours.

The trail itself was cleverly put together to highlight the garden's best features.

Its wonderful bandstand was a central hub for food and drink, as well as the charity stalls that the event itself is raising money for.

Other highlights were the newly unveiled Richard Jeffries sculpture, the Peter Pan statue, the rose garden, the ornamental pond, the signpost, and, of course, the art deco bowl, which was home to a grand finale light show.

Swindon Advertiser: Sensory lights at the Town Gardens Enchanted Light Trail in Swindon
Swindon Advertiser: Sensory lights at the Town Gardens Enchanted Light Trail in Swindon

Sensory lights at the Town Gardens Enchanted Light Trail in Swindon (Image: Newsquest)

The installations were all visually interesting, some were interactive, some made clever use of shadows and one - a lantern walkway decorated by several schools in the town - just left you feeling warm, even if the temperature outside was anything but.

The whole experience takes around 50 minutes, but the trail cleverly returns you to the central bandstand hub at several points so you can stop to take it all in, have a drink or a bite to eat, or go back on yourself and see something again.

It is also fully accessible for wheelchairs and prams and on December 5 and 6 there will be specially tailored events for the neurodiverse and those with special needs.

Commonweal School is also offering parking for the trail at £2 with all of the money going toward the Prospect Hospice

Swindon Advertiser: The lantern walkway decorated by Swindon schools at the Enchanted Light Trail in Old Town
Swindon Advertiser: The lantern walkway decorated by Swindon schools at the Enchanted Light Trail in Old Town

The lantern walkway decorated by Swindon schools at the Enchanted Light Trail in Old Town (Image: Newsquest)

Many will be wondering if they can justify the ticket price (Adults £11, children £6)

but I thought it was well worth it to see the town gardens at their most magical.

For more information and tickets visit: https://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Swindon/Town-Gardens/Enchanted-Gardens-Light-Trail-2022/36156999/