Christmas at Westonbirt FAQs

Frequently asked questions 

Ticketing

Where can I buy tickets from? 
You can buy tickets for Christmas at Westonbirt online from Forestry England. If tickets are sold out, you may be able to purchase re-sale tickets securely using Forestry England's re-sale partner Tixel.

Do I have to book in advance? 
Yes, we recommend that you book early to avoid disappointment. Each timed entry has a limited capacity, and the early evening and weekend slots are likely to sell out.

Can I buy additional tickets? 
Yes, subject to availability. If you require any additional trail tickets after placing your order, please purchase these online as an additional transaction.

I am a student, what do I need to provide to book a student ticket?
You will need to present a valid student card with your trail ticket on entry. If you do not present a valid student card, you could be charged for full price for entry onto the trail.

Do I need to buy a car parking ticket to park at Christmas at Westonbirt? 
If you are planning to arrive by car to Christmas at Westonbirt you must book your parking space prior to arrival along with your trail tickets online, parking spaces are priced at £8. If you are a Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum or Forestry England member, parking is free of charge however you will still need to pre-book your space. 

Parking will be offered from 3.45pm or 4pm as this is the time that your space is reserved from, allowing you to arrive and park prior to your trail entry time.

Due to the rural location of Westonbirt Arboretum, we are expecting a high volume of vehicles and introducing pre-booking allows us to manage this demand and provide assurance that you will be able to park on arrival. Whilst there is a hard standing car park at Westonbirt Arboretum, additional car parking will be arranged on the grassed areas near the entrance. In preparation for this protective floor coverings will be laid to protect the ground and to prevent slippery conditions which can be a challenge in the winter months. 

In addition to this, we hope that the pre-bookable parking encourages visitors to car share where possible to reduce any environmental impact. 

I am a Forestry England/Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum member, do I still need to pay for Christmas at Westonbirt? 
Yes, the ticket prices apply to all. Forestry England and Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum members are eligible for one free car parking space per membership. This parking space must be pre-booked in advance when purchasing your tickets.

  • Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum members: to redeem this offer, select the FOWA Member tickets from the price list when booking and when prompted, add any parking spaces required to your booking. You will be asked to enter your membership number, following this your member offer of one free parking space will be automatically applied to the basket.
  • Forestry England members: to redeem this offer, make sure that you are logged into your membership account when purchasing your tickets, your member offer of one free parking space will be automatically applied to the basket. Your membership must be valid when you purchase tickets and on the date of visit.

These member offers are only available when booking via Forestry England. You must present a valid membership card on arrival. If you do not present a valid membership card on arrival, you will be charged for your parking space.

How do I add parking to my booking after purchasing tickets?
If you require additional parking spaces after your initial order has been made, please use the links below (subject to availability). A transaction fee will apply if car parking is booked separately. 

Parking tickets should be presented for scanning on arrival at the car park. Please follow all instructions from stewards.

If you are a member and did not add your free parking space when making your booking, please contact customerrelations@forestryengland.uk to book your space.

How/when will I receive my tickets? 
Your Christmas at Westonbirt e-tickets will be delivered by email approximately four weeks before the event (including parking and mobility equipment tickets). Please download these to your phone/device in advance to show on arrival, Alternatively you can bring a printed copy. 

Why is the On-the-Day price more?
With the enjoyment and well-being of our visitors in mind, having an on-the-day price allows for any last-minute adjustments we, the organisers, might have to make in terms of staffing and catering levels to ensure the smooth running of the trail. Wherever possible we support our customers in planning ahead, giving them the opportunity to not only buy at a cheaper price but also purchase parking at the same time.

Can I show my E-tickets on my phone? 
You can show your E-tickets on your phone as long as the barcode is clearly visible on entry. Please ensure you have downloaded your E-tickets on your device before arriving as signal at the venue is limited. Please turn the brightness on your device up to ensure easy scanning of the barcode. Alternatively, you can bring a printed copy.

I bought tickets from Forestry England but have not received a confirmation email. What should I do? 
Please check your junk / spam folders as sometimes the confirmation email falls into these. If you have not received your confirmation email, you can log into your account here to re-print your confirmation email and e-tickets, or for further assistance contact customerrelations@forestryengland.uk.

Is my ticket for Christmas at Westonbirt valid for entry during the daytime? 
Your ticket for Christmas at Westonbirt is only valid for the evening and will only allow you access to the trail at your selected time. On the day, the Old Arboretum will close at 2pm to allow for set up. Day admission to Westonbirt will close at 3pm and day visitors must depart from the car park by 4pm.

How can I organise a group visit and is there a group rate? 
There is a group rate of 10% off groups of 15+ adults when purchased via Ticketek. To book a group booking, please contact Ticketek directly.

We will be arriving by coach, do we need to reserve a coach parking space?
Yes, there is space for 2 coaches per evening. Coach parking is charged at £20 per coach. To book a group booking, please contact Ticketek directly.

Why is there a transaction fee for E-tickets for Christmas at Westonbirt? 
The fee charged for e-tickets is for the ticket provider, as they maintain the hardware and software at the venue so your paper ticket will be recognised or your device scanned. It also allows us to develop and maintain our own technology to make sure you have a simple, straightforward experience getting into your event.

I have an issue or query about my booking? 
Our customer relations team will be happy to help. Contact customerrelations@forestryengland.uk and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Please include your booking reference within your email.

Christmas Light Trail

Where does the trail start and what is the route at Christmas at Westonbirt?

The trail will begin and end on the Downs. It will follow a circular path starting on Mitchell Drive going through the Old Arboretum and returning on the Main Drive. The route will be approximately 1.6km in length.

How long is the trail? 
We anticipate that it will take approximately 1.5 - 2 hours to walk the trail. The illuminated trail follows a circular route approximately 1.2 miles (1.6km).

Are dogs allowed on the trail?
As the event is held in the Old Arboretum, dogs are not permitted (except for assistance dogs with proof of eligibility).

Is the trail dark or covered?
In some areas the lighting will be low level as this is part of the experience. We do encourage visitors to bring along a torch in case of an emergency - this should not be used unless it is necessary.

All visitors are reminded that this is an outdoor illuminated trail with limited indoor areas and the weather may be inclement. Please wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear for winter. We reserve the right to refuse inappropriately clothed patrons’ access to the walk, if it is felt they are open to greater risk of injury.

If I am delayed and miss my slot, can I join a later slot?
We will try and accommodate you on the next available slot within the trail operational hours on the day, but this cannot be guaranteed. Please ensure you leave enough time for your journey and plan your route in advance.

What are the last entry times?
Last entry will be at 7pm on the following days:

  • Tuesday 24 December
  • Thursday 26 December
  • Tuesday 31 December

Last entry will be at 8.30pm on the following days:

  • Saturday 7 December
  • Sunday 8 December
  • Saturday 14 December
  • Sunday 15 December
  • Saturday 21 December
  • Sunday 22 December
  • Monday 23 December

Last entry will be at 8pm on all other dates.

Please aim to arrive at Westonbirt 15 minutes prior to your trail time as the trail entrance is a short walk from the Arboretum entrance and car park. Entry to the trail may not be permitted after the last entry time has passed.

What time does the illuminated trail finish?
All customers must exit the car park no later than 2 hours after the last trail start time or by 10pm (whichever is earliest).

Can I bring my drone? 
Drones are not permitted.

Can I take photographs?
Yes, you are welcome to take photographs and to share these on social media with the hashtag #ChristmasAtWestonbirt. You can also follow the developments across our Westonbirt Arboretum pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Commercial photography is not permitted at this event, except by prior written agreement.

Are there toilets?
Toilets, including accessible toilets and baby changing facilities, are located at the Welcome Building and the Great Oak Hall. A small number of toilet facilities will be available mid-way through the trail.

Will we get to see Father Christmas?
At this time of year, Father Christmas is extremely busy and so is unable to meet children individually, however, be sure to look out for him as he will be on the trail this Christmas!

Will there be a Christmas Village?
The Christmas Village will be available before and after your trail entry allowing you to soak up further festivity and seasonal cheer. The village will have food and drink stalls plus traditional fairground rides for an additional cost. More details coming soon!

Will there be a gift shop available?
Westonbirt Arboretum has a gift shop run by Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum and offers a great selection of items that would make a lovely souvenir for your visit. 

Access Provisions

What provision do you have for guests with access needs?
The trail is created to be as accessible as possible within the natural landscape of Westonbirt Arboretum. The lighting trail is designed so that all installations can be viewed from the pathways. Accessible toilets are available at the Welcome Building and at the Great Oak Hall. Limited toilet provision will be provided at the midway point.

There is a Changing Places toilet located at the Great Oak Hall. The Changing Places toilet provides sanitary accommodation for people with multiple and complex disabilities and is designed for people who cannot use a standard accessible toilet. It includes a ceiling track hoist system, adult-sized changing benches, curtains and adequate space for the disabled person and assistants.

Do you have accessible parking for visitors with disabilities?
Accessible spaces for Blue Badge holders are available in the hardstanding car park. If you require Blue Badge Parking and have not included this within your order, please add to your order here, subject to availability. A transaction fee will apply if car parking is booked separately.

Please note that these spaces are limited and must be purchased in advance. Visitors with limited mobility can be dropped off and picked up from the Welcome Building if required, please speak to the parking attendants on arrival.

Is the trail accessible for wheelchair, mobility scooter and pushchair users?
The trail includes a mix of accessible hardstanding stone and tarmac footpaths. Due to the natural landscape the trail does include some gradual slopes and paths can be uneven in places. Wheelchairs, mobility scooters and pushchairs can be used, however discretion is needed as the trail may not be suitable for all. Wherever possible stewards will assist but this cannot be guaranteed.

Can I hire mobility equipment? 
Westonbirt Arboretum have a small number of wheelchairs and mobility scooters available to hire free of charge via Forestry England only. Due to the limited number available to book and high demand please check availability prior to purchasing your tickets. 

You can collect your hired wheelchair or scooter from the Welcome Building. Your hire period starts at 3.45pm and so you can collect your mobility equipment at any point after this time. Please allow up to 15 minutes to collect your equipment prior to your trail entry time.

If you are hiring a mobility scooter, you will be given full instructions on how to operate the scooter when it is issued to you. You will be required to demonstrate your understanding and competence in operating the scooter without assistance. In the interests of providing a safe experience to all our visitors, we reserve the right to refuse scooters, if we believe it is not the right option for you.

Can I bring my own mobility scooter or wheelchair? 
You are welcome to bring your own but please ensure it is suitable for the trail and is fully charged prior to your visit.

Am I eligible for a free personal assistant ticket? 
Where an adult or child requires assistance to attend the illuminated trail because of a health condition or disability and is in receipt of any of the following benefits, they will qualify for a free personal assistant ticket:

  • Disability Living Allowance (mobility or care component);
  • Attendance Allowance;
  • Personal Independence Payment (daily living or mobility component).
  • A valid Access Card

You may be asked to present documentation on the night. Unfortunately, a Blue Badge cannot be accepted as proof of a health condition or disability. Personal assistants should be 16+.

Personal assistant tickets can only be booked in conjunction with a full price adult or family ticket.

I need more than one personal assistant, what should I do?
If you require more than one personal assistant, please email customerrelations@forestryengland.uk

Are there ‘Relaxed Sessions'?
Yes, these sessions are for adults and young people, with additional needs, who would love to experience Christmas at Westonbirt without the usual high volumes of people. These sessions have reduced audio levels and will begin at twilight before the illuminated trail opens to the public, making the transition into the dark much easier.

For Christmas at Westonbirt 2024, these will be held at 4pm on:

  • Saturday 30th November
  • Saturday 7th December
  • Thursday 12th December

The capacity of these sessions will be limited to ensure that the trail remains less crowded and more relaxed. Ticket prices for these relaxed sessions are consistent with the rest of the illuminated trail, with personal assistants entering for free. To book please click here.

Food, Beverage and Retail

Can I purchase food and drink at the venue?
Food and drink stalls plus traditional fairground rides will be available for an additional cost. More details coming soon!

Are there cash points at the venue? 
There is no cash point on site. Only card payments are accepted, this is a cashless event.

Cancellation, Exchanges and Refunds

What will happen if the weather is bad?Will the trail be cancelled? 
Christmas at Westonbirt is an outdoor illuminated trail. If the weather presents a hazard and a risk to safety, any decision to cancel the illuminated trail will be taken by 2pm on the day of the illuminated trail. You will be notified by email and you will be informed of the re-booking process.

If the trail is cancelled and I am unable to attend on a different day, can I get a refund? 
If the illuminated trail is cancelled in line with the cancellation policy and ticket holders are not able to attend an alternative night offered, then a refund will be considered. We can also offer tickets for the following year. The transaction fee is not refundable under any circumstances.

I have booked for the wrong day – can I transfer over to another day?
Forestry England will allow discretionary amendments dates and times for this event, subject to availability. If you wish to exchange your tickets for a different time or date, please check availability and contact us at customerrelations@forestryengland.uk. Exchanges are unavailable within 24 hours of the date you are due to attend. In line with our terms and conditions, tickets are non-refundable.

I can no longer attend; can I re-sell my ticket?
Tickets are non-refundable, however Forestry England will allow discretionary amendments, as above. If you are unable to attend and are not claiming a refund via Booking Protect, you can re-sell your ticket. Forestry England have partnered with Tixel as our official re-sale partner. Tixel provide a safe and easy place for you to sell your tickets if you can no longer attend the event. For more information visit Tixel's website.

What is Refund Protection? 
Refund protection, provided by our partners Booking Protect, allows you to apply for a full refund should you or anyone in your party be unable to attend the event. Examples of covered circumstances are:

· Injury, illness or death happening to you, or an immediate family member.

· Adverse weather where travel warnings are issued.

· The breakdown, accident, fire or theft of a private vehicle enroute to the event. For full terms and conditions please read the full policy.

Refund protection can only be taken out at the time of booking tickets and not added afterwards.

How do I make a Refund Protection claim?
Refund protection claims can be made online here.

Sustainability & ecology 

Overview
Our illuminated trails are small, tightly contained, and open for limited hours at a very dormant time of year. It is perceived that we do not foresee any adverse effect on wildlife.

Light Pollution
The trail will be architecturally lit by experienced lighting designers who have developed sensitive ways of working in heritage and landscape settings.

Responding to the natural darkness of the site is key to the success of the illuminated trails. The best visual work is sensitive to light “competition” and the brightness of one light source relative to another. We therefore take advantage of the environmental darkness to reduce the overall brightness of our lighting interventions and allow ample space within our audience experiences for people’s eyes to attune to the darkness, then to allow them to appreciate the sights and sounds of the natural environment as a contrast to, and context for, our artistic efforts. We try to avoid continuous lighting of trails and paths and will only use audience area lighting where it is absolutely necessary for reasons of public safety.

Noise Pollution
Sound installations are created to provide atmosphere and a sense of feeling for an installation. All sounds are targeted and specific to a part of the route and are therefore contained within defined spaces, therefore there is no noise pollution over and above the natural sound level created by the presence of audiences on the trail.

Fuel
Fuel for power generation is kept to a minimum by efficient use of power loadings and low wattage lighting units where appropriate.

Sustainability
Consideration for the illuminated trails sustainability has been built into the planning process for the delivery of the illuminated trail, the end result of which we hope will be to inspire and engage new and existing visitors.

The trail designers, Culture Creative Ltd, have been appointed on the strength of their experience of working in environmentally sensitive ways in heritage and landscape settings.

Specific attention is given to power, and where possible we use mains power. Where generators are needed, these are carefully specified and operated to ensure the most efficient fuel usage. Low wattage lighting units are used where appropriate on the trail.

Culture Creative Ltd’s design ethos is to take advantage of the environmental darkness to reduce the overall brightness of their lighting interventions, whilst maximising the effects of their artistic efforts.

Continuous lighting of trails and paths will be avoided, and we will only use audience area lighting where it is absolutely necessary for reasons of public safety. Care is also taken to ensure that we are considerate of our neighbours who live in the immed

Ecology
The illuminated trail will not be open every night and its impact must be considered both from the standpoint of the venue itself and in relation to surrounding sites. The venue is carefully vetted to ensure that the trail will not have undue impact on the local flora and fauna.

Method
In order to assess the likely impact of the illuminated trail both a desk study and workaround surveys are conducted on each site. The route proposed for the trail, is walked and checked on a regular basis with horticultural staff from the venue, this is an ongoing process and will be constantly checked as the design of the illuminated trail progresses. General Comments The illuminated trail is planned and installed, by private company, Culture Creative Ltd. Culture Creative Ltd specialise in illuminated trails of this kind which are often in sensitive venues with high biodiversity and important historical heritage. Its staff have valuable experience in minimising any negative impacts which might be anticipated and work with venue staff to meet and resolve any concerns which arise.

The duration of the illuminated trails spans to the autumn/winter period, the time of year in which there is least wildlife activity. Many protected species such as bats and amphibians should be hibernating. These are unlikely to be affected unless the illuminated trail passes directly over their hibernation sites. The earliest bird nesting activity is to be expected from February onwards but all the equipment will have been removed well before then. In addition it is open for a maximum of six hours only each night. These restrictions on the open nights and times will reduce any impacts upon wildlife particularly as outdoor events take place at the venue regularly and resident wildlife has adapted to the existing level of disturbance.

Lighting Trail
Generators used on the route are very quiet and will be inaudible from the trail and from any wildlife habituation. The power will be carried using cabling which has been used previously in sites with wildlife populations with no adverse effects. Much of the lighting will be floor based to highlight trees. The trees form part of the cultivated collections at each venue and their welfare is paramount as part of the planning of the illuminated trail.

Flora
Where possible routes will be on hard surfaces i.e. paths. They pass through areas which are well-walked by visitors daily and will not take in any sections of grass with sensitive wild floras.

Birds
Sound and lighting installations surrounding trees or on areas of water where a number of birds have the potential to roost are modified and designed to minimise any potential for damage to birds.

Reptiles and amphibians
There should be no impact from the illuminated trail upon reptiles or amphibians as they should be hibernating away from the water at this time of year. Bats Every care is taken to ensure that any potential bat roosting holes in trees are not lit directly to avoid any potential disturbance during the bat hibernation season.

Litter
Please help us to keep the Arboretum clean and tidy by putting litter in the bins provided. Where possible, please reuse any disposable items and keep waste to a minimum. Our caterers will be happy to refill any reusable water bottles.

 

Keep exploring

People walking under colourful trees
Event
Friday 29 November - Tuesday 31 December 2024
Selected evenings
Westonbirt, The National Arboretum
Our brand-new illuminated trail, Christmas at Westonbirt, launches this festive season

Get ready for a brand-new festive experience at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum this Christmas. We’ve teamed up with the award-winning, internationally acclaimed light trail producers behind Christmas at Kew, Christmas at Bedgebury and Christmas at Blenheim to bring you a light trail never-before-seen at Westonbirt.  

Holford Ride Westonbirt

Book tickets

Home to 2,500 different species from the far corners of the globe and 5 national tree collections, Westonbirt is the perfect place for you to escape, relax or have an adventure! Take a journey up into the canopy on the STIHL Tree Top Walkway, stop by the café for a tasty treat or see if you can spot the Gruffalo!