Disclosure: We were invited on this day out for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own.
Last week we were invited to the opening of Glow Marwell, Marwell Zoo’s magical Christmas light experience. Although we have visited Marwell Zoo countless times we have never visited at Christmas so we had no idea what to expect. We ended up having one of the best festive evenings that we’ve experienced in years.
Glow Marwell runs from 4pm until 8pm and tickets include free access to the zoo on the day of your visit between 1pm and 4pm. After that the animals relax, ready for the Glow Marwell experience to start.
We arrived purely for the evening when the zoo was in full Glow mode. We walked from the main gates up to the start of Glow Marwell, passing light arches, mirror balls, animated butterflies and more before being met by the 36 metre multicoloured light tunnel which was nothing short of epic – and a great start to the experience.
Everywhere was adorned with lights. Coloured lights in the trees, hedges covered with nets of twinkling lights and light projections were on the floor. Everywhere we looked there were lights to see and discover. It was amazing.
Our walk took us through an enchanted forest, across stepping stones that lit up as you walked on them and through a area filled with smoke lasers and pixel trees. There were colourful clouds projected overhead and they were all such immersive displays using the best technology and light systems. The light installations were all so different. No two were the same and it felt like the evening just kept giving. There was something new around every corner.
The children loved the moon chairs and light up seesaws – swiftly followed by angel wings to wear with pride in photos. There was a towering enchanted tree, a walkway surrounded by starbursts and the most spectacular display outside Marwell Manor – complete with special guests, The Luminas on stilts and in amazing costumes.
The children loved the rainbow road – complete with music from Mario Kart – and we all really enjoyed the magical glow forest, LED tulips, an enchanted nature trail featuring brand new illuminations and a hologram show that looked just like the petronas from Harry Potter!
I’m sure I’ve missed some parts as there is just so much to mention. We haven’t been to Christmas light trails that went on so long or had so many installations within it. It was so much longer, and better, than we expected and it really blew us away.
Father Christmas at Glow Marwell
We finished our Glow Marwell trip with a visit to see Father Christmas at Marwell! Unlike most Santa experiences, with the Marwell Zoo Santa you don’t have to book, simply pay on the door and join the queue. Tickets cost £10 per child and every child received a gift – a beautiful soft toy.
We loved the Father Christmas visit. The queue area is beautifully decorated and there are elves to chat to you whilst you wait as well as Mrs Christmas at the head of the queue. Jingle the Elf then takes you into meet Father Christmas and he has a really nice chat to the children and you can take as many photos as you like – with Jingle taking a family photo too if you want him to.
Food and drink at Glow Marwell
All around the Glow Marwell trail there are food options. Cafe Graze is open, serving hot food, drinks and snacks plus there are stalls selling traditional festive market style food – hot dogs in buns, loaded fries and nachos and so much more as well as mulled wine and so many flavours of hot chocolates!
There are also fire pits to toast marshmallows which are really well managed. You can buy marshmallows to toast or s’mores kits to enjoy which are the perfect sweet treat for a festive evening like this.
Toilets at Glow Marwell
You’ll be pleased to know that there are toilets all around the Marwell site – not just the typical zoo toilets but extra temporary blocks of toilets added for Glow Marwell. These include accessible toilets too.
We had a fantastic time at Glow Marwell and know we’ll be visiting again next year. If you’re looking for something to do over the festive season definitely book Glow Marwell. You will not regret it. It’s wonderful to see Marwell at Christmas.