What is Christmas at Dunham Massey?

The magical, after-dark, illuminated trail.

It's definitely the most wonderful time of the year when the after-dark sparkling trail lights up once more and winds magically through the formal gardens and deer park of Dunham Massey.

Now in its third year, the winter trail is established as a much-anticipated family tradition. Along our 2019 route you'll notice all-new installations. Enter a grand avenue replanted with gigantic flowers with the house brought to life by festive projections. Walk through the dynamic, glowing Vortex Tunnels and stroll towards the mesmerising reflections made by Fire on Water. Watch out as lights seem to tumble from the undergrowth and light up trees like fizzing fireworks and take time to pause at the delicate carpet of colour-changing blooms.

If you've been before, you'll be pleased to see some of your favourites return this year. Spot the larger-than-life glittering deer and walk through the towering Tunnel of Light twinkling with thousands of pea-lights. Take in the Field of Light and discover the woodland world festooned with seasonal cheer.

Have a holly, jolly Christmas and complete your walk under the stars with spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate.* Gather around the fire-pit with family and friends to toast marshmallows and end the evening in Dunham Massey's well-stocked gift shop.* Why not pick up some treats to take away with you for the journey home too?

For the young ones there's a Victorian carousel*, helter skelter* and other family rides*. And keep your eyes peeled for Father Christmas and his helpers along the way.

*Separate charges apply

What are the dates of Christmas at Dunham Massey?

Friday 22nd November - Sunday 24th November
Thursday 28th November - Sunday 1st December
Wednesday 4th December - Sunday 8th December
Wednesday 11th December - Tuesday 24th December
Thursday 26th December - Monday 30th December

What are the trail times?

4:20pm*, 4:40pm, 5:00pm, 5:30pm, 6:00pm, 6:30pm, 7:00pm, 7:20pm*, 7:40pm*, 8:00pm*.

*Selected dates only

Where is Christmas at Dunham Massey and how do I get there?

Address: National Trust Dunham Massey, Altrincham, WA14 4SJ.

By train/tram: The Altrincham interchange is accessible by tram from the surrounding area. The event is then approximately a 10 minute / 3 mile taxi journey.

By road: off the A56; M6 exit 19; M56 exit 7.

By bus: The CAT5 bus from Altrincham and Warrington stops at the main gates.

Who is Christmas at Dunham Massey suitable for?

Christmas at Dunham Massey is suitable for all ages - to be enjoyed by everyone.

Should I arrive in advance of my trail time?

We would advise arriving 15 minutes before your chosen trail start time.

I am visiting Dunham Massey during the day, do I need to leave before entering Christmas at Dunham Massey in the evening?

Yes. To ensure that only ticket holders for Christmas at Dunham Massey have entry to the evening event, daytime visitors must vacate the Garden at the closing time, however the Visitor Centre facilities (café, shop, toilets) will continue to be available throughout.

Can we see Father Christmas?

At this time of year, Father Christmas is very busy and will not have time to meet children individually. Father Christmas will however make an appearance along the trail, be sure to look out for him!

Will there be strobe lighting?

There will be lighting sequences created within the design that will have some flashing lights contained within them. However, there will be no strobe lighting. We have worked to guidelines on photosensitive epilepsy and will adhere to the industry standard of synchronising effects and locking the sequences to ensure that lights do not operate at more than 5 flashes per second.

What should I wear?

Christmas at Dunham Massey takes place outdoors and you may need to queue on busy days. Please wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear for winter weather. We reserve the right to refuse inappropriately clothed patrons' access to the trail.

When do tickets go on sale?

Friday 14th June 2019.

Where can I buy tickets from?

You can buy tickets here or by calling SEE Tickets on: 0844 995 1362 (calls cost £0.07 per minute plus your network access charge).

Do I have to book in advance?

We recommend that you book early. Each timed entry has a limited capacity and the early evening and weekend slots are very likely to sell out.

What are the prices for Christmas at Dunham Massey?

Adult: ADVANCE - £17.50. ON THE DAY - £19.50

Child (3-16 years): ADVANCE - £11.00. ON THE DAY - £13.00

Family* : ADVANCE - £54.00. ON THE DAY - £62.00

All trail ticket prices apply to National Trust members and Non National Trust Members

*Family ticket: 2 adults and 2 children (aged 3-16). Children under 3 and carers go free.

All orders are subject to a single transaction charge. For tickets booked via SEE Tickets: £2.00 per transaction for print at home tickets and £2.50 for tickets sent by first class post.

Do I need to buy a parking ticket to park at Christmas at Dunham?

Yes, parking is limited and a parking space MUST be purchased in advance either here or by calling SEE Tickets on 0844 995 1362 (calls cost £0.07 per minute plus your network access charge). Car parking AND Blue Badge parking is charged at £7.00 per car and a transaction fee will apply if car parking is booked separately.

National Trust Members park for free but parking MUST be booked in advance with a trail ticket. Proof of valid membership MUST be shown on arrival - failure to do so will result in full price car-parking charge. Members will be charged a transaction fee if parking is booked separately.

As I am a National Trust member, do I still need to pay for Christmas at Dunham Massey or do I get a discount?

Everyone, including National Trust members, must pay for entry to the trail. Christmas at Dunham Massey is an event held outside of Dunham Massey's normal opening hours. The charge for entry reflects the high quality nature of this ticketed event.

How can I organise a group and is there a group rate?

There is a group rate of 10% off adult tickets of 15+ adults. Please contact SEE Tickets group booking line on: 0844 412 4650 (calls cost £0.07 per minute plus your network access charge).

Alternatively, you can email SEE Groups groups@seetickets.com

Group discounts are not available to book online and apply to adult tickets only.

Can I buy tickets at the venue?

There will be an on-site box office from Friday 22nd November to Monday 30th December which is located in the Visitor Centre. You will be able to purchase tickets for Christmas at Dunham Massey. The box office will be open from 2pm.

How/when will I receive my tickets?

Your delivery options are either E-Tickets (print-at-home) or Standard Delivery. If you choose the E-Ticket option, your tickets will be attached to your confirmation email. If you choose the Standard Delivery option, your tickets should be with you a week prior to the event.

I chose First Class Delivery when purchasing my tickets but have not received my tickets in the post.

Your tickets should arrive no later than a week before your visit. If you have not received your tickets a week prior to the event please contact SEE Tickets on: 0844 995 1362 (calls cost £0.07 per minute plus your network access charge). Alternatively, you can contact the SEE Customer Service team here. You will need to have your Reference Number at hand.

What are the last entry times?

The last entry time onto the trail will be 30 minutes after your chosen time slot.

If I am delayed and miss my slot, can I join a later slot?

We will try and accommodate you on the next available slot within the trail operational hours on the day.

How long is the trail?

The trail is approximately one mile long. We recommend that it will take approximately 1.5 hours to explore and enjoy all aspects of the trail.

Where does the trail start and what is the route?

The trail starts at the south end of the Stables from where you will follow the route through to the Gardens and loop around the site ending back at the Stables Courtyard.

Are there toilets on the trail?

Toilets are situated at the Visitor Centre and Stables Courtyard.

Are dogs allowed on the trail?

Only guide dogs and registered assistance dogs are permitted at the event.

Is the trail dark or covered?

In some areas the lighting will be low level as part of the experience. We do encourage visitors to bring along a torch in case of an emergency; this should not be used unless it is necessary.

The trail is not covered and all visitors are reminded that this is an outdoor event and the weather may be inclement. Please wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear for winter.

Can I take photographs?

We encourage you to take photographs and to share these on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #christmasatdunhammassey. You can also follow the developments across our Christmas Trails via 'My Christmas Trails' on Facebook.

What provision do you have for disabled guests?

The trail will be created to be as accessible as possible within the context of the natural site of Dunham Massey. The route is all on hard-standing, flat paths and alternative routes will be provided should they be required for customers with mobility issues. If you have any particular access requirements, please call the property on 0161 941 1025 so that the team may advise further.

Accessible toilets are situated at the Visitor Centre (approximately 0.4 miles from the furthest point on the trail) and also at the Stable Courtyard (approximately 0.3 miles from the furthest point on the trail). There is also an accessible changing facility at the Visitor Centre which is accessed via a RADAR key.

Do you have parking for disabled visitors?

Yes, there are spaces available close to the entrance and these should be booked at the same time of purchasing your trail ticket. Blue Badge parking is charged at £7.00 per car for non-National Trust members.

Is Christmas at Dunham Massey accessible for wheelchair users?

The illuminated trail is approximately one mile in length. The route is designed so that it can be viewed solely from even paths, some interactive elements may invite the audience on to grass where additional pedestrian matting will be provided.

If weather conditions mean that the trail is not fully accessible for people using wheeled mobility aids, consideration will be made on a case by case basis to allow tickets to be transferred to an alternative date when the ground conditions are more appropriate.

Can I bring my mobility scooter or can mobility scooters be provided?

You are welcome to bring your own mobility scooter. A small number of personal mobility vehicles (PMVs) will be available for loan from the Visitor Centre - please book these in advance by calling Dunham Massey on 0161 941 1025. Please have your event booking reference number to hand.

Can I purchase food and drink on site?

As well as the Visitor Centre Café which will be open for the event, there will be a number of seasonal food and drink chalets serving seasonal hand-held food, catering for both adults and younger visitors. Hot chocolate and mulled wine will also be on offer. Visitors can also toast marshmallows at one of our purpose-built fire pits. Please note that there is no cash point on site.

What shopping facilities are there?

The Dunham Massey shop is situated in the Visitor Centre and will be open during Christmas at Dunham Massey until the event closes each evening.

How much are Fairground Rides?

Ride Token Vouchers can be purchased in advance for £10.00 here. Ride Tokens can be purchased on the night, subject to availability.

What rides are available and are there height or age restrictions?

There will be 4 traditional vintage fairground rides for young children to enjoy. Adults are welcome on the Helter Skelter.

What will happen if the weather is bad? Will the trail be cancelled?

If the weather presents a hazard and a risk to safety, any decision to cancel the event will be taken at 2pm on the day of the event. If you booked your ticket online or by telephone via SEE Tickets, you will be notified by email and text message and you will be informed of the re-booking process. We advise you to check our website for the latest updates here.

If I am unable to attend a different day, can I get a refund?

If the event is cancelled due to weather and ticket holders are not able to attend the alternative night offered, then a refund will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Where a refund is due, the ticket must be returned within 28 days following the event date. We can also offer tickets for the following year.

I have booked for the wrong day - can I transfer over to another day?

No, we are unable to offer exchanges or refunds once tickets have been purchased. It is noted on the website and at the point of booking that you need to make sure that you have chosen the right date.

I have lost my ticket, what can I do?

If your tickets are lost or if you require your E-Tickets to be re sent to you, please contact SEE Tickets here. Please note that you will need to have your Reference Number at hand and this will render your original tickets invalid.

Light Pollution

The trail will be architecturally lit by experienced lighting designers who have developed sensitive ways of working in heritage and landscape settings.

Responding to the natural darkness of sites is key to the success of these events. The best visual work is sensitive to light ?competition? and the brightness of one light source relative to another. We therefore take advantage of the environmental darkness to reduce the overall brightness of our lighting interventions. We allow ample space within our audience experiences for people's eyes to attune to the darkness. This allows them to appreciate the sights and sounds of the natural environment as a contrast to, and context, for our artistic efforts. We try to avoid continuous lighting of trails and paths, and will only use audience area lighting where it is absolutely necessary for reasons of public safety.

Noise Pollution

Sound installations are created to provide atmosphere and a sense of feeling for an installation. All sounds are targeted and specific to a part of the route and are therefore contained within defined spaces. There is no noise pollution over and above the natural sound level created by the presence of audiences on the trail.

Fuel Usage

Wherever possible fuel for power generation is kept to a minimum by efficient use of power loadings and low wattage lighting units where appropriate.

• Consideration for the event's sustainability has been built into the planning process which we hope will be to inspire and engage new and existing visitors.

• The trail designers, Culture Creative, have been appointed on the strength of their experience of working in environmentally sensitive ways in heritage and landscape settings.

• Wherever possible we use mains power. Where generators are needed, these are carefully specified and operated to ensure the most efficient fuel usage. Low wattage lighting units are used where possible on the trail.

• Culture Creative's design ethos is to take advantage of the environmental darkness reducing the overall brightness of their lighting interventions, whilst maximising the impact of their artistic efforts.

• Care is also taken to ensure that we are considerate of our neighbours who live adjacent to the venue.

Method

In order to assess the likely impact of this event both a desk study and ecology surveys are conducted on site. The route proposed for the trail, is walked and checked on a regular basis with horticultural staff from the venue, this is an ongoing process throughout the design of the event.

General comments

This event is planned and installed by Culture Creative Limited. Culture Creative specialises in events in sensitive venues with high biodiversity and important historical heritage. Its staff have valuable experience in minimising negative impacts which might be anticipated and work with venue staff to meet and resolve any concerns which arise.

The duration of this event spans late November to the New Year, the time of year in which there is least wildlife activity. Many protected species such as bats and amphibians are hibernating. The earliest bird nesting activity is from February onwards but all the equipment will have been removed by then. In addition the event is open for a maximum of six hours only each night, and with at least two rest nights on four out of the six weeks of operation. These restrictions on the open nights and times will reduce any impacts upon wildlife.

Lighting Trail

Generators used on the route are very quiet and will be inaudible from the trail. The power will be carried using cabling with no adverse effect on wildlife. Much of the lighting will be floor based to highlight trees. The trees form part of the cultivated collections at each venue and their welfare is paramount as part of the planning of this event.

Flora

Where possible routes will be on hard surfaces i.e. paths. They pass through areas which are well-walked by visitors daily and will not take in any sections of sensitive wild floras.

Birds

Sound installations on areas of water where a number of birds have the potential to roost are modified and designed to minimise any potential for damage.

Reptiles and amphibians

There should be no impact from this event upon reptiles or amphibians.

Badgers

We monitor activity in setts close to the trail for any adverse effect on the badgers underground. It is quite possible that visitors will glimpse them since the badgers are to some extent used to public presence in the evenings and are very inquisitive.

Bats

Every care is taken to ensure that any potential bat roosts are not lit directly to avoid any potential disturbance during hibernation.

Overview

Our events are small, tightly contained, and open for limited hours at a very dormant time of year. We do not foresee any adverse effect on wildlife.