A brand-new Christmas light trail, AGLOW, will dazzle visitors to Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland this festive season, with the tallest Christmas tree in the North, the longest outdoor light tunnel in the country, as well as seventeen other breath-taking light installations, making it one of the largest light trails in England. 

Taking place from 22nd November to 31st December 2023 (excluding Christmas Day), AGLOW is a glittering one-and-a-half-mile long trail through the ancient Castle grounds, taking in the Deer Park, River Gaunless and a specially created Santa’s Village, complete with a performance stage. The scenery of the Castle and grounds have been utilised to their full extent, making every twist and turn of the 1.5 hour-long illuminated route a Christmas experience like no other. 

Whilst exploring AGLOW, visitors will see Auckland Castle in a whole new light, with stunning projections on the Castle walls and glowing rainbow-hued spheres of light covering the bowling green. A sparkling 100 metre-long tunnel of 100,000 stars leads into the parkland where large-scale illuminations with lasers, neon ropes, mirror balls, LED vines and starburst trees will dazzle and delight.  

Life-size illuminated deer graze amongst silk flower lanterns at the Deer House, while dancing water fountains make the River Gaunless spring to life and daring illuminations featuring real fire make for after-dark drama. Along the trail, visitors can take in the sights over a mulled wine or hot chocolate and enjoy toasting marshmallows over the open firepit. 

Towering over Santa’s Village is a giant redwood or Wellingtonia tree beside the river, festooned with almost one kilometre of colourful lights – at 32 metres/104 feet high the tree claims the title of tallest Christmas tree in the North. In front of this spectacular backdrop, the picturesque wooden cabins of Santa’s Village offer a further choice of festive food and drinks. 

On the stage, Santa and his mischievous elves will entertain children and adults alike with a live show performed regularly throughout the evening. 

For some interactive fun there are bubble installations and musical tree stumps, as well as vintage fairground rides including a 1934 children’s train with carriages named after towns in North East England, a 1950s Chair-o-plane and a popular Hook-a-Duck stall offering prizes every time.  

Edward Perry, CEO of The Auckland Project said: “We are delighted to be staging AGLOW for the first time at Auckland Castle and bringing another exciting attraction to Bishop Auckland and the wider region. We look forward to welcoming families from all over the North to what will be an inspirational light trail.” 

James Cundall, organiser of AGLOW, said: “The incredible landscape at Auckland Castle lends itself brilliantly to a light trail of this scale. We have been able to encompass so many different features, from projections on the Castle walls to fountains in the river, not to mention illuminating so many of the ancient and wonderful trees in the park, in a variety of ways and the full spectrum of colours. The Castle and parkland provide a perfect palette for AGLOW and will give families and friends an unforgettable festive experience.” 

For those making a day of it, The Auckland Project has plenty more to offer with Auckland Castle, the Spanish Gallery, Faith Museum and Mining Art Gallery, open Wednesday to Sunday from 10:30am – 4pm (separate tickets required).  

Entry times for the trail are at 30-minute intervals from 4:30pm – 8:30pm each day and please allow at least 90 minutes to complete the trail.   

Tickets are £21.50 for adults, £14.50 for children or £66.50 for families (consisting of one adult and three children, or two adults and two children.) Children aged 2 and under enter for free. 

The Auckland Project Annual Pass Holders receive 20% discount on the ticket prices. 

Tickets can be booked on the website: www.aucklandproject.org/whats-on/aglow-at-auckland-castle/