From Friday 6 December, Antrim Castle Gardens will be transformed into an Enchanted Winter Garden, for the return of one of Northern Ireland’s most popular Christmas experiences.

The Power NI Enchanted Winter Garden sees Antrim’s award-winning gardens transformed into a magical illuminated outdoor experience for all the family, capturing the joy and wonder of traditional festive celebrations.

Just as dusk descends, wrap up warm and wander through the dazzling light installation of the winter wonderland walk, where tree-lined walks and ponds are illuminated in hues of pink, green and blue. Along the way, look out for hidden creatures, street artist performers, fire jugglers, fairies and magical reindeer.

Old fashioned family fun is captured in the handsome Victorian Helter Skelter, the breath-taking Wave Swinger and the traditional fairground Carousel, all of which offer the ideal spot for a festive family photo or the perfect backdrop for a romantic Instagram selfie! For those with a head for heights and an eye for a cracker view, the brightly lit 35-metre-high Ferris Wheel has enclosed capsules to enjoy the ride in all weathers.

Visit Santa’s workshop as you ride the Enchanted Express Mini Train through the grounds and catch a glimpse of Father Christmas and his busy elves preparing for the the festive season.

With Artisan Food Stalls, a Marshmallow Pit and plenty of festive hot drinks, this is a truly heart-warming experience to get the whole family into the holiday spirit.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman John Smyth said: “Antrim Castle Gardens is an award-winning attraction when it’s in full bloom but the popularity of our Power NI Enchanted Winter Garden has surpassed all our expectations, as it sells out year on year.

“This is a superb event, illuminating a stunning outdoor space which simply comes alive in the dark of winter evenings. It warms the hearts of every visitor, young and old, as it ignites the festive excitement of childhood in all of us.

“Thanks to the support of our sponsors, Power NI, we are able to make it bigger and better and this promises to be our best year yet! Our aim is to keep it inclusive and accessible for everyone by keeping ticket prices low. Last year saw 61,000 tickets selling out and already more than half of this year’s tickets have been sold before it opens on Friday 6 December.”

The Power NI Enchanted Winter Garden will run through to Sunday 22 December. Advance booking is strongly advised. Tickets are priced at £4 for an adult, £2 for a child (under two’s go free) and £10 for a family ticket, with tokens purchased separately for rides and attractions. Free face painting and balloon modelling for kids are included in entry. Booking is via enchantedwintergarden.com, where information on parking and weather updates will be posted daily.

There will be a special evening of Inclusive Enchantment on 18 December offering a quieter experience for those with sensory needs; again, advance booking via the website is essential.

Nadia Duncan

Author: Nadia Duncan

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