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Video: Festival of Light Shines at Longleat


Workmen silhouetted against one of the giant lanterns. Pic: PhilYeomans/BNPS

Workmen silhouetted against one of the giant lanterns. Pic: PhilYeomans/BNPS

A team of highly-skilled artists from China’s Sichuan province have completed a major new outdoor Festival of Light at Longleat.

The illuminated displays, which feature more than 23,000 individual lanterns, will run into the new year.

Many of the displays for this year’s festival have taken their inspiration from China’s mighty Tang and Qin dynasties.

Among the highlights of the new show are a near life-size recreation of the 800-year-old Manfeilong pagoda made from 85,000 porcelain cups, bowls and plates, a 20-metre long floating imperial dragon boat and a giant blue and white tea set created from 220,000 liquid filled glass phials.

Other displays include a 100-metre-long Chinese dragon, the war chariot from Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s extraordinary terracotta army, a section of the Great Wall of China and part of the Silk Road.

Bob Montgomery, Longleat’s chief executive, said: “The Festival of Light is something truly unique. We are really excited about our second festival as we had such a great reaction to last year’s.

“This time we really focused on doing more spectacular, bigger lanterns so we have the 20-metre dragon boat, which is really stunning. It’s amazing they built something that size from scratch in just three weeks.

“The craftsmen are very diligent workers but the creativity is the thing that really sets it apart, the detail that goes into it all takes it to another level.

“This year we’ve also tried to put the emphasis on aspects of Chinese culture to make it more educational. We have great stories from the Chinese dynasties, like the Tang dynasty, the legend of the Monkey King and the Terracotta Army.

“People have already said they’re excited about it and I think we’re going to see a big Christmas,” he added.

The dragon boat Pic: PhilYeomans/BNPS

The dragon boat Pic: PhilYeomans/BNPS

Alongside the iconic Chinese displays there are herds of illuminated safari park animals and shoals of glowing fish in an underwater ocean setting as well as playful pandas and a depiction of the Chinese zodiac.

The team has used over 18 kilometres of silk, 20 kilometres of LED lighting and 76 tonnes of steel to create the spectacular glowing tableaux.

The new Festival of Light runs alongside Longleat’s traditional Christmas celebrations which include the Santa Trains, Giant Musical Christmas Tree, Fairytale Characters and an outdoor Ice Skating Rink.

The Festival of Light at Longleat opens Fridays to Sundays until December 6th and then daily from December 11th to January 3rd (excluding Christmas Day.

Due to the popularity of this event organisers strongly recommend visitors pre-book in advance online and are also suggesting the public avoid visiting at peak weekend periods wherever possible.

Twilight tickets are now also available for entry to the Estate from 3pm on selected dates. Full details at http://www.longleat.co.uk/ticket-prices/special-offers  For more information and to book a visit longleat.co.uk/festivaloflight