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Muddy reviews… The Enchanted Woodland Walk at Ashridge House

Twinkly lights in a magical setting with mulled wine in hand - sounds like the perfect festive evening out! We togged up to check out The Enchanted Woodland Walk at Ashridge House

The historic Ashridge House on the outskirts of Berkhamsted is, in our humble opinion, is one of Herts’ best kept secrets. The imposing Grade I-listed mansion which has been home to royalty no less, has the most gorgeous grounds (where Queens Elizabeth I and Victoria once set foot) and gardens to explore, and inside it’s utterly decadent.

The Courtyard looking festive

If you’ve never visited before, now’s the time to really see the place shine… quite literally! The Enchanted Woodland Walk is a spectacular light trail which sees the main house lit up in a spectrum of colour, and the grounds take on a whole new illuminated life.

My 4 year-old daughter and I braced ourselves for the winter chill and wrapped up in our woolies ready for the big event. We arrived through the main entrance to the house, where a moving festive scene was projected to entice visitors in. It felt like we were entering a scene from The Nutcracker with the buzz of an excited crowd, the smell of mulled wine, festive music and towering Christmas trees adorned in decorations almost touching the sky-high ornate ceilings.

The trail itself begins at the side of the house, where you’ll also find a food and drink village with a handful of trucks selling sugary doughnuts, festive tipples. We enjoyed a tasty pizza from local pizza van Dough with the Flow and a loaded hot choc (extra marshmallows for the Mudlet, of course!) from Coffee Heros (without the ‘e’!) which was clutched onto throughout the walk, keeping little hands toasty and energy high for our wintry adventure.

We started down the twinkly trail which wove it’s way through the Italianate gardens, through sparkling arches and around the ‘frozen’ fountain (igniting all sorts of Elsa-inspired stories!) Then it was on to a glittering oak tree, dripping in icicles and past rainbow-hued hedges, through giant glowing baubles.

The grand finale was a magnificent illuminated tree-lined avenue leading to the Cedar circle installation – a totally magical sight – and the surprise Santa’s grotto display, which was, naturally, a big hit with the Mudlet.

Whether you fancy a romantic wander à deux or a fun family evening out, The Enchanted Woodland Walk gets a hearty mitten-clad thumbs up from us.

The Enchanted Woodland Trail is on until Sunday 9 Jan 2022. Tickets cost £16.50, £12.50 for under 12s and £3 for under 2s. You can also a book pre-trail dining experience. The two-course set menu is served at 7pm and costs £55pp and £25 for under 12s. Book your tickets here.

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