This year, I knew I wanted to do something for Christmas this year that would be new and special. 2020 has been rough and Christmas this year, will be very different. I wanted to go to something that would be Covid-safe and hopefully wouldn’t get cancelled! I’d already had my work Christmas meal cancelled due to the lockdowns and tier systems and we had all made a decision not to book anything, like visiting Santa, which was likely to not be the same. So when I caught sight of the Malvern Winter Glow Light Spectactular at the Three Counties Showground – Worcestershire’s very own Winter Wonderland, I knew we had to book it!
I figured with it being an outdoor event and timed entry, all should be fine, as no different to booking a National Trust. We were all really looking forward to it and having some proper family time together.
Malvern Winter Glow Light Spectacular – More Details
As taken from online:
Malvern Winter Glow is a dazzling NEW outdoor illuminations trail, made from dramatic light installations.
It is currently running from 9th December to 3rd January, so we got in quite early visiting on 12th December. Currently as I write this, you can still book, as there are some slots left. See here.
Tickets are available in advance with timed entry session and 10 sessions per night. The trail is around a mile long and is over mixed terrain including tarmac and grass. The limited numbers allow you to take the time to explore and enjoy the lights. The sessions start at 4.40pm.
A range of seasonal food and drink vendors will be on site too! You can see the list here.
Prices are – Adult tickets £16 each, Children aged 3 to 16 tickets £11 each and under 3s go free.
Finding The Three Counties Showground
We live in Solihull and had a 55 minute drive which was pretty easy via the M42, M5 and then quite a lot of country roads! However, the Three Counties Showground is very well signposted and we were there with plenty of time.
Parking at The Three Counties Showground
The entrance for this event is Yellow Gate – Main Entrance. You are then guided into Brown Carpark and enter Malvern Winter Glow via West Gate. Parking is free.
My husband always worries about parking wherever we go, so I was pretty impressed at the Three Counties Showground. When we arrived it was really quiet. Our time was 5.20pm entrance. We arrived around 10 minutes earlier. There were tonnes of parking spaces and we were shown where to park by a parking attendant. We were close to the entrance and didn’t have far to walk at all. When we left we could see cars parked behind us for later slots and obviously ones ahead of us had left. We came in one way and left another and there was no queuing to get out. Very well organised.
The Winter Glow Light Spectacular – Following the Trail
We were so excited to see the lights and we weren’t disappointed. You follow a trail, which is all pathed (unless you veer off to look a bit more closely at anything). There are almost small stations you go to to see different displays. As mentioned, the trail is 1 mile long and you have plenty of time to wander though.
I’ll talk through some of the stations, accompanied by some pictures. You can see below a lit up wishing well.
We loved the giant flowers which did change colour! As you can see the stations were pretty quiet and we didn’t feel like we were crowded at all by other people.
My favourite bit was of course the lights arch, which you did have to queue for, as of course it was amazing for photographs. You were given time to take a picture and then move off. The queuing system was socially distanced and very well organised.
We let my little boy out to run around, as he is not two yet and he LOVED it! You do have to keep and eye, on them, as it is very dark and if they run onto grass, can get a bit muddy.
There was a garden, as you can see below, all lit up. I loved this as really atmospheric music was playing. If the kids weren’t with me, I’d have hung around for a while longer. It felt really chilled out and like I’d escaped somewhere.
What I loved was the accompanying music to the lights and on a couple of displays there were light shows which my baby boy and eldest loved dancing to! It’s worth sitting and watching some of these.
We loved these giant lit up flowers as we wondered around. They did remind me of palm trees.
There were also light projections and the lit up ropes below reminded me of the one of the Frozen films.
My eldest was dying to see Christmas houses and was moaning but lo behold we found some towards the end of the Malvern Winter Glow trail.
Food Options at the Malvern Winter Glow
We did actually bring food with us (just some peanut butter sarnies) but I had planned to get my eldest hot chocolate and me a cup of tea. When you first arrive there are a few food stands; you can get a hot drink or buy sweets or candyfloss.
A hot chocolate will set you back £3.50 but a cup of tea was £2, which is the same price I pay at my daughter’s swim club. You could get a mulled wine too.
However once you get through the lights arch there is another food and seating area. Some seats are covered by a marquee, where we sat and there is also space outdoors. I was pleasantly surprised by all the options. There is a drinks stand, you could get Greek Gyros, German sausages, fish and chips to name some options. There was a few stands and when we arrived, not much of a queue.
You can see from the picture below what is available.
My husband had a German sausage which was £5.50 and we got chips to share for £3.50. My hubby said his food was good and thought it was cheaper than at the Birmingham German Market.
It was great to sit outdoors and eat, in the cold! Crazy yes but felt like almost a German market (except I had the kids and wasn’t drinking anything!!) You can see from the picture we are all very spaced out.
Feeling Covid Safe at the Malvern Winter Glow
I must admit I was feeling very nervous about the Malvern Winter Glow, as I had seen some blogger friends list winter wonderlands in other places and they mentioned it being crowded and people coming too close. It’s awful how anxious we have all become but it’s a sign of the times.
However the Malvern Winter Glow was excellent. We did pick an earlier slot but my first thoughts were, it is so quiet. We didn’t have to queue to get into the Showground. The toilets were empty both times we used them and there were clear entrance and exit points. Where we sat for food was spacious and people kept their distance.
When we entered the Winter Glow we were staggered to let the people in front of us go first, which was great and when queuing for the lights arch, there were clear markers on the floor, to help keep the distance.
Staff were organised, friendly and helped us out along the way. I felt completely at ease. There was so much space and nobody, apart from my family, got in my space at all!!
Our Thoughts on the Malvern Winter Glow
We had a lovely evening. I had felt slightly apprehensive about going, as we have barely done anything in weeks but I had nothing to worry about. The event was so well organised, with friendly staff and it was very Covid-safe. If you are anxious about this, don’t be.
Booking and parking was easy. It wasn’t the cheapest but with all the recent consideration, we didn’t mind. We wanted to do something as a family before Christmas. For a family of 5, with one under 3, it cost us over £50.
The lights were lovely! Not all parts of it all festive, as such but that doesn’t really matter. It’s great for kids to explore and amazing for getting photographs. As I mentioned before, I loved the mix of light shows, ambient music, light projections and of course, the light arch! Do bear in mind if you have little ones it is quite a walk. We arrived at 5.20pm for our entrance but did not leave until 7pm. The cold and exercise left me with some very tired little ones!
If you are missing out on visiting a German market and having some outdoor food, the Malvern Winter Glow scratch a bit of that itch, as they have some reasonably priced food available and it’s great to sit outdoors and eat. You don’t get that buzz of the crowds of course though!!!
It really brightened our December to have been to a proper festive event. Family friendly and really well organised.
Overall Tips if you Go
– Make sure you wrap up warm. This may sound obvious but it was very windy on the night we went and cold. My middle daughter struggled with this and she ended up being sat back in the buggy, whilst her baby brother ran around. Think hats, gloves, the works. We had a dry night but I’d bring umbrellas, raincoats and wellies in case!
– Take money – cash or card. I’ve talked about the food available and there was an option to donate to a local NHS charity, which I did. You could do this via cash or card which was great. Also there are light toys and headbands for kids! I was begged and said no but you may want to treat your little ones.
– Wear sensible shoes. The main track was on a path but the car park was muddy and so was part of the trail, if you went off the main track. A bit was grassy and muddy.
– Take your camera or phone. You can see there were so many photo opportunities, so make sure all your batteries are charged.
– Be prepared to queue a bit. We chose an early time to arrive: 5.20pm, as we knew the kids would not last late . We were right. They were very tired by 8pm when we got home. When we left at 7pm they queue to enter the Winter Glow was bigger then when we arrived. Also for certain lights, like the arch we had to wait, as everyone wanted a picture.
– Take your time. We were in 1 hour and 40 minutes and could leisurely stroll around and stop for food. There was no pressure to move on.
Overall we had a fabulous time at the Malvern Winter Glow and hope you do too, if you visit! Wrap up warm, take your camera and get prepared for a lovely evening.