Last Saturday evening we ventured over to South West London (from South East London!) for a mile and a half walk around the Enchanted Woodland in Syon Park, Brentford. This is its ninth year, but the first time I'd heard of it...
We bought our tickets online (£7 each for adults) and clutching our printed copy we set out for Syon Lane station. The journey wasn't too bad: Blackheath to Waterloo East (approx 20 mins) and then Waterloo to Syon Lane (approx 35 mins), followed by a 10 minute walk. The enchanted woodland is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings for three weekends in the run-up to Christmas. Clearly it's only an evening thing, doors open at 5pm and shut at 8pm.
We weren't quite sure what to expect, but once in the grounds this was our first view:
We set off along the mile and a half route, with cameras in hand and amid the "oohing" and "ahhing" which wouldn't have been out of place at a firework display. The paths were mostly gravel and wet, and although muddy in places given the amount of rain there'd been they weren't that bad.
I'll warn you now, this is quite a photo heavy post, you won't believe how many photos I took (or maybe you would) so getting them down to just these has been quite a feat!
It's amazing how different the trees look with the lights - coloured or otherwise - shining on them.
And the lights accentuate all the gnarly trunks, wispy branches and spiky leaves.
And after a while you start to wonder if you'll ever look at a tree in the same way again! Along the route there's different themes and sections with lots to keep the kids interest levels up too. There were lanterns in trees, a dragon, teddy bear's picnic plus music and smoke and a couple of other fun things too...
This was one. Who could resist not following the instructions? Each tap moved a section of the lighting through a sequence. And there was some very enthusiastic tapping going on by the kids standing next which meant I only just about managed to keep up with the light changes! Beautiful and a fun idea too.
We had many stops along the route for photos, as did many others. Although the route is relatively short it isn't something we wanted to frogmarch around.
At times I started to wonder if I'd ever look at a tree in the same way again. And then turning the corner we saw the "plain" lights on these and - phew, yes that's what trees are supposed to look like!
My interest was piqued though and now I'm keen to go back in the daylight to see what the park and house look like.
Another of the fun ideas was this area for silhouette photographs - it was entertaining to watch the at first tentative kids get braver as they realised what was going on - and it'd make a cute Christmas card shot!
Syon House too was lit up, with a laser display bouncing off the grass outside. We stood and watched those for a while before heading towards the exit and we thought home.
But there was a final surprise as we followed people inside the Great Conservatory (and boy was it a great conservatory!) for a neon laser show set to music. That was great fun and I plan to share some pictures from that and some of Syon House soon, so stay tuned!
But until then - have you been to an enchanted woodland or are trees near you regularly lit up? I'm curious..