The Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle is back for its 8th year. We were invited along to experience this year’s theme of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz! Here are my thoughts and observations.
Things to Know About The Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle 2023
As soon as you drive in there are trees lit up with coloured changing lights all up the road. Next you will be directed where to park, keeping as close as possible to the vehicle next to you. Parking is free,
Wrap up warm as it was colder than we expected!
Food and Drink
Although in the Pavillion there’s a variety of hot drinks on sale – including Mulled Wine and Warm Spiced Apple Juice. All drinks are 10% off with your own travel mug too!
There are also some treats and here we indulged in some mince pies. With plenty of seating and tables next to a splendid large Christmas tree!
There are also stalls selling food and drink in the middle of the trail. These include Woozy Pig, Pizza at Marvellous Medicine Ltd, Boy Chocolate, and Hayles Fruit Farm
The toilets are available through the shop and can be used before and after your trail experience. In the shop there’s a lovely range of Christmas. I really liked the Christmas decorations in keeping with Sudeley Castle – a nice memento of your visit for years to come.
The Spectacle of Light Trail Itself
The Spectacle of Light trail itself measured at just under 1km by my Apple Watch. I feel that this is a nice distance for small children or those with mobility difficulties. This is inclusive of the whole trail – remember that there is a break in the middle.
It was on path and so no requirement to dig out your wellies. Therefore accessible by pushchairs/wheelchairs but as I was not looking I could not confirm that everywhere was accessible as we did enter a building at one point and I am not sure what the access arrangements there were. I am sure it is but just check with the venue before purchasing tickets.
It was great this building was open, lovely to see first time visitors reading all about the history for the first time in this immersive experience.
General Light Trail
There is a Light Wave on the Mulberry Lawn, flickering Fire Flowers in the Queens garden and the columns of light in front of the Castle. Sparkling water features, Harlequin trees, Light beams, lanterns and much much more.
What I liked was how everything had been incorporated into the light trail. That the Elephants were still about and a part of it for example. Also I loved how there were plenty of selfie opportunities with things such as the light tunnel, the picture frame and the star.
Some of the lights had been repurposed from previous years. This is great in terms of helping the environment and keeping the costs down – but not sure how happy all repeat visitors are about this.
The Wizard of Oz Theme
Again speaking to those who have visited The Spectacle of Light before there is mixed opinion on the theme. Some feel it is better to have one and others prefer just more pretty lights.
The Wizard of Oz theme was well covered both in terms of lights and actors. There was Good attention to detail to The Wizard of Oz if you knew what you were looking for.
The Wizard of Oz Lights
Of the Wizard of Oz Light Effects we most notably loved the effect of the bricks on the yellow brick road (path) made by lights, and the flying monkey and Wicked Witch on the castle, the poppies, the buildings turned green to represent The Emerald City and the Silver Slippers lit up on the wall.
There is Dorothy, Toto, Witch, Scarecrow, Tinman, Cowardly Lion and The Wizard of Oz himself! All with fantastic make up and costumes. A little too good at times as the Wicked Witch may be a bit scary! Unfortunately she is right at the beginning too!
They were great at being interactive, giving us messages for the other characters – but not all the other visitors were great at waiting their turn. It got quite annoying that people would just push in and there wasn’t really anyone stopping them from doing so.
Again the attention to detail was great – like Dorothy wearing silver slippers like in the book. Sadly I don’t think this was obvious to people who weren’t as familiar with the story. There was no real flow to the story either – we didn’t even find Dorothy and Toto until the end!
Even I was a little bit confused about the washing on the line at the end. We weren’t sure if it was from a previous event or to signify that we were back in Kansas!
Additional Information About The Spectacle of Light
Tickets are not transferable or refundable unless the event is cancelled. Tickets may be exchanged with 48 hours notice; there will be a £2 admin fee – and if the price of the new ticket is higher then the difference will be charged.
Selected evenings: 24 November – 30 December 2023
Book Tickets: EverymanTheatre.org.uk/Sudeley
Carers and children under 3 are free entry, Discounted tickets for families.
Learn More: SpectacleofLight.co.uk/Sudeley
Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 5JD