Christmas at Connaught Gardens

Christmas@Connaught - illuminated gardens in Sidmouth

The gardens will be illuminated with colour - Credit: Christmas@Connaught

What could be lovelier than a winter wander through beautiful, creative outside lighting followed by a warming cup of mulled wine? If that sounds up your street, there’s a treat in store this December at Sidmouth’s Connaught Gardens where an illuminated trail is being created - for one week only.

Illuminated trails have become synonymous with the winter months and can be found across the country. Blenheim Palace, Beaulieu and Kew Gardens all offer rainbows of floodlit trees and sparkling walkways. And now it’s Sidmouth’s turn.

Connaught@Christmas features creative displays of lights in themed areas throughout the gardens. Visitors will also enjoy music on the bandstand from various local choirs and bands, plus the traditional sounds of Sidmouth Town Band. It’s family friendly and there’s a good chance that Father Christmas will be on hand for a pre-Christmas chat with children. The walkways are all paved so no wellies are required!

Christmas at Connaught gardens in Sidmouth

The illuminations are a new Christmas addition to the Sidmouth calendar - Credit: Christmas@Connaught

The dazzling illuminations are complimented with a Christmas Food and Craft Village across in Manor Road car park, showcasing locally made, high quality crafts, and local street-food and drink vendors. There’s a festively decorated marquee as well as craft workshops for children and adults. The Village is free to visit and can be enjoyed independently of the light trails, providing somewhere different to shop for gifts or meet up socially and enjoy some great food and drink with friends.

In the spirit of Christmas, Connaught@Christmas will be raising funds for the Sidmouth CE Primary School PTFA and Sidmouth College School Fund to support disadvantaged students with opportunities in art and music. The schools are putting together a choir and band for the event, while the Art Department is getting creative with decorations for the Food and Craft Village.

Connaught@Christmas is the brainchild of John Radford, who has worked with Sidmouth Folk Festival for over 10 years, as well as Ottery Tar Barrels, Sidmouth Air Show, the Hay Festival and Underneath the Stars Festival. He’s put together a team of experts who will make this an event to remember. There are plans for something very special at the end of the walk, with technical trials currently taking place.

With its location on the cliff tops above the sea, the sound of the waves and the briny air, Connaught@Christmas has got to be one of the more unusual lit trails around - and one not to be missed.
John said: “There are more lit events than ever before but Sidmouth offers something a little extra special. Although there’s parking near the gardens, some people might like to park in town and walk along the promenade to enjoy the sea air and the sound of the ocean before visiting the illuminations, making the experience even more exciting and atmospheric.”

The event kicks off on Tuesday, December 7, and runs through to Sunday, December 12. It is open from 4.30 to 9.30pm. The Christmas Food and Craft Village opens at 1pm each day.
For more information and to book tickets visit and for updates follow the Facebook page: @ConnaughtatChristmas