Sudeley Castle becomes Neverland to Welcome Peter Pan
Sudeley Castle have come up with another winning theme this year: Peter Pan - I didn't think they could top the Alice in Wonderland of last year but they've pulled it off. The sheer delight of Sudeley castle is that you get the grounds, the architecture, the location and the beauty of the lights and installations all so beautifully exquisite. When they're combined it truly is spectacular hence the hashtag #SpectacleOfLight. We couldn't wait to enter. On that note the entrance is different to last year, even the route is different. You still enter next to the souvenir shop but a few feet to the right of last year's entrance. I think it's great they mix it up it stopped it feeling samey.
For the Whole Family
We attended as a party of 11 which was us 3 Mums and 8 kids and the whole group thoroughly enjoyed this Spectacle of Light, despite our vast range of ages. The kids are: 1 pre schooler, 5 Primary School and 2 Secondary School. This really is a festive night out suitable for the whole family. We saw lots of buggies and Grandparents. No kids needed it's a romantic setting for couples too.
Architecture and Grounds
The architecture and the grounds truly are spectacular. Upon entering, I feel a respectfulness like I'm on sacred ground. Add to that the fact that the place has turned into Neverland for Christmas and it really is both surreal and other worldly. Be prepared to enjoy the magic!
Peter Pan Greets you with a Sword Fight
Are you up to it? If not, the kids will love it. Early on in the tour Peter Pan stops you on your path (the Mad Hatter of yesteryear) making no mistake of what the theme is this year. We stayed here a long time as the kids engaged so beautifully with Moa Myerson in fact I made an IGTV video of our time with her see it here: The Kids play With Peter Pan at Sudeley Castle
Do Not Miss Peter Pan & Wendy on the Wall
When you go deeper into the trail there is a disco ball and it's easy to get so caught up in looking at that, that you don't notice that first to one side, and then the other, Peter Pan and Wendy are projected on to the wall - it truly is magical and made me quite emotional. I'm so glad my friend Zena pointed it out to me as otherwise I would have missed it.
The Star of the Show
Last year the photo opportunity of the night was a light installation in the shape of a heart, it was THE place to have a selfie, this year it comes in the form of a star.
Night Photography is a BEAST
If you want to get great photos of your night at Sudeley Castle practice night photography before you arrive. All of these photos were taken by my dear bestie Aleks - the best of friends and the best of photographers. In all of my star photos you can't see the star lights. Due to the limitations of both my camera and my photography the white light looks like just a glow. My phone is a couple of years old so that doesn't act as an adequate deputy to my camera either. I did manage to capture the 3rd pic of Peter Pan above though, so I came away with something. But if you have a DSLR, do practice night photography before you attend if you want to capture some great pics. You may already be a pro given you would have had experience at Fireworks night. Also, if you do stop at each photo opportunity and linger till you get the perfect photo, this will increase the time it takes for you to complete the trail, so do wrap up warm and allow time for this. There are plenty of places to stop for a warm drink :-)
Illuminate Your Face
Some of the light features provide the perfect prop to illuminate your features and Aleks didn't let this one go to waste. My camera did not do justice to the sheer detail on this feature. Exquisitely captured by my dear friend Aleks:
Discover the Den of the Lost Boys
One of my favourite aspects of the Spectacle of Light was the hidden Den of the Lost Boys. You climb through a secret hole and each and every boy has a nook that is decorated with their wooden makeshift bed and belongings. It's so tender you feel like you're intruding. I will save the secrets for you to discover but this is the entrance you need to spot:
Find Captain Hook and Play with his Many Swords
Captain Hook is a dastardly devilish rascal, a comedic bad guy and so so very brilliant with the kids, until we declared ourselves Pan People and then clearly he thought we might help get him eaten by a crocodile as he then couldn't get rid of us fast enough with a big GO AWAY. We turned from friends to foe! Hey Ho! You can see the fun we had in this IGTV video here: The Kids and Captain Hook.
Don't whizz on by, it might be here you get your best pic of the night - I've seen some incredible ones on Instagram as the round light back drop acts as the perfect drop for silhouette photography. Captain Hook is fabulous at positioning his weapons for this so take your steer (of the photo ship) ahoy Captain, from him!
The Grounds Reign Supreme
As superb as the actors are, this is not just any stage, this is not just any old backdrop. No matter their amazing method acting skills. The backdrop, the "set" for the stage is the real star of this show:
|This beautiful elephant is early on in the trail before Peter Pan don't miss it - oh and there is a dog near the Castle too|
|Recreating a famous meme|
Fairy Guardian of the Fairy Garden
Just when you think you've seen it all you then stumble upon a Guardian of the Fairy Garden, who takes the time to tell you the names of all of her fairies. So in character and again so brilliant with all of the children. Last year this Actress was Queen of Hearts and we recognised her and the boys loved telling her that we saw her last year too.
The Guardian of the Fairies told us that we would recognise their names from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
In Shakespeare's popular comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream, the four fairies who attend to Queen Titania represent Shakespeare's interpretation of what fairy folk might be. He made his fairies: Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed
Of course we had to get a photo with her. Unfortunately I was stood in the way when Aleks took this pic so I am blocking her view of two of our boys.
There are several spots to grab snacks and hot drinks as you go round most notably on the terrace but there the queues were too long. All was not lost as later in the trail about three quarters of the way round was an Air-stream caravan doubling up as a cafe. Here I got hot chocolate for the kids, a sneaky Spiced Mulled Wine for myself and a skewer of fruit covered in warm delicious melted chocolate. Aleks even got a pic of me whilst I was none the wiser. It was nice to see the kids having a round of drinks - hot chocolate for all and Aaron adored the marshmallows. Luckily he couldn't finish it as Lottie then decided she wanted some. Ask for it to be colder if it's for children. Oh and take cash as the castle was blocking their signal for WiFi to take card payments
Bring your Charged Camera and your Memory Card
This is a night where you'll want to have your camera(s) with you. Go early doors in the season and you could even make your perfect pic into a Christmas Card.
The Wishing Tree to End the Trail
At the end of the Spectacle of Light there is a table where you can write a wish to tie to a magical Wishing Tree.
Spectacle of Light Sudeley Castle 30th November to 30th December
You can book tickets here. Sessions start from 1645 every half hour till 1915. Book soon as some slots are already sold out. You have to be at the venue at your allocated slot time, as this is a Spectacle that attracts numbers in their thousands. In order to enjoy the trail in comfort the attendance is staggered in time slots. If you are attending 2 adults 2 children a family ticket provides the best value.
Disclosure: our tickets were complimentary in exchange for an honest review