'Dream team' shed more light on plans for Connaught's Christmas illuminations

Trees illuminated at night time in Connaught Gardens

Nine different zones are being created within the gardens - Credit: Contributed

Stunning and stylish lighting effects are being planned for this year's illuminated Christmas event at Sidmouth's Connaught Gardens, including a dramatic projection on to the cliffs above Jacob’s Ladder. 

Nine different zones are being created within the gardens, making use of the existing architecture, trees and plants to produce different looks. 

Connaught Gardens at night illuminated by colourful lights

Connaught Gardens will be illuminated with energy-efficient LED lamps - Credit: Contributed

A combination of spotlights, ‘light curtains’, uplighters and tree lighting will be used, all with energy-efficient LED lamps. 

The special effects are being dreamed up by the event manager John Radford, designer Robin Shephard-Blandy and technical manager Greg Howell, who have visited the gardens to discuss their plans. 

John said: “We had the idea early on but we needed to be sure that it would work.  

“Now we can reveal that visitors will be able to enjoy the intimacy of the displays in the gardens, before being stunned by the drama of the cliff scene. It’s bound to be a real crowd-pleaser.” 

The trio have worked together on events including Sidmouth Folk Festival, Stonehenge Summer Solstice, and Ottery St Mary Tar Barrels. 

Woman drinking from a coffee cup at night time with festive lights

There will be a Christmas Craft and Food Village in Manor Road car park - Credit: contributed

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As well as giving details of the illuminations, the team have revealed that the charitable aspect of Connaught@Christmas has changed. Sidmouth Independent Lifeboat was originally going to receive a percentage of the profits, but offered to let another organisation have the money. It will now be used to provide art and music opportunities for disadvantaged children and young people at Sidmouth Primary School and Sidmouth College.   

The schools are already working together on a performance at the bandstand, and the college’s art department will help with Christmas decorations, including those at the Christmas Craft and Food Village in Manor Road car park.  

The team say that while the illuminated trail is designed to be more of a stylish experience, there will be plenty of ‘festive glitz’ in the Village.  

Connaught@Christmas runs from Tuesday, December 7 until Sunday 12 from 4.30 to 9.30pm, while the free-to-enter Christmas Craft & Food Village opens at 1pm each day.  

Tickets for the illuminations must be pre-booked and cost from £5 for a child to £22 for a family ticket, plus a small booking fee.  

For more information and to make a booking visit connaught-at-christmas.co.uk 

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