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A special green Father Christmas and his festive friends will switch on the lights of the illuminated trail at this year’s Enchanted Christmas event at Westonbirt Arboretum.
On Friday 26 November, from 4.45pm, Father Christmas will launch the event dressed in his traditional green costume to celebrate Westonbirt’s trees. He will be accompanied by real reindeer and two elves - the lucky winners of a poster competition run by the Westonbirt Magazine.
Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, which is managed by the Forestry Commission, will become a wonderland of festive lights during the Enchanted Christmas. The event takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 26 November to 19 December.
Alongside carols and festive treats of mulled wine and roast chestnuts, visitors will be able to take the illuminated trail around the Old Arboretum. The trail takes in some of the gems of Westonbirt’s collection, spectacularly highlighting the beauty and shape of the trees.
After the big switch-on, Father Christmas will meet and greet youngsters. He’ll also be at every other evening throughout the four week event.
Julie McKellar, events coordinator, commented:
“Westonbirt is world renowned for its fantastic tree collection. This year Father Christmas will wear his original green colour to celebrate the abundance of trees and nature found at our National Arboretum.”
Westonbirt’s Enchanted Christmas takes place from 5 to 8.30pm, with the last entry at 7.15pm. The Illuminated Trail is accessible for wheelchairs. Manual wheelchairs or mobility scooters can be booked in advance by calling 01666 881218.
Admission is £8 for adults, £7 for concessions and children are £4. Discounted entry is available for pre-booked groups over 10 people and Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum members receive half price entry on Fridays.
Advance tickets can be purchased online at www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt.
Other Westonbirt treats to get you in the festive spirit...
- Visit the Westonbirt Plant Centre to buy a sustainably sourced real Christmas tree, on sale from 26 November between 10am and 5pm.
- There will be Christmas market stalls on site, or pop into the Forest Shop, which will open until 8.30pm during the event with a host of great Christmas gift ideas.
- Make it an extra special evening with a Christmas carvery at Westonbirt's Maples restaurant. Open from 5.30 to 7.30pm during the Enchanted Christmas and serves a two-course traditional dinner. The cost is £15.95 for adults or £8.95 for children (vegetarian option available). Booking is essential, so call 01666 880558 or email email@example.com
- Children’s Reindeer Trail: Discover the reasons behind many of our winter traditions and help Father Christmas find his missing reindeer. Available from the Great Oak Hall from 1 to 24 December and free after admission
- Christmas Traditions family event: Join in our tree celebrations and create your own Christmas crafts to take home. Saturday 4 to Sunday 5 December, 11am to 4pm and free after admission.
NOTES TO EDITOR
1. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is part of the Forestry Commission estate and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to the National Japanese Maple (Acer) collection, the National Arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains 16,000 specimens. Visitor numbers are 350,000 a year, with a membership of 23,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford, and later developed by his son George Holford. Unlike many arboreta, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria.
2. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk
3. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is part of the Westonbirt Heritage Partnership, which consists of the Forestry Commission, Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, Westonbirt School and the Holfords of Westonbirt Trust. The Partnership plans to reconnect the historic Westonbirt estate, conserve its unique heritage and inspire future visitors through the Westonbirt Project, supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund.
4. The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum was formed in 1985. The charity’s objects are to support the National Arboretum in promoting public understanding of the crucial role of trees to the environment and society. It is funded by membership receipts from 25,000 members, other fundraising, and the use of the Great Oak Hall for events and activities.
Katrina Podlewska, Communications Manager, Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, on 01666 881 207 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org