Heligan by Night

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, which I last visited a couple of years ago, is one of the fabulous “Great Gardens of Cornwall” and during December the gardens were open in the evening for a “Heligan by Night” to experience the art of illumination as internationally renowned light artist Ulf Pedersen revealed the night time magic of Heligan’s historic plantings.

The trees and plants were lit up by different coloured lights which created a lovely magical stroll through the garden. We were lucky that on the night we attended the weather was reasonably calm and dry.

Starting the walk along Beacon Path passing by one of the dovecotes, we were fairly sure of where we were. Walking through the rhododendrons was quite a different experience though, as the curved branches took on a rather different look.

And the Cornish Palms (Cordyline Australis) looked almost like fireworks.

 Sometimes it was difficult to know where you were as you were diverted on to winding paths through bamboos and tree ferns in the New Zealand area. Patterns of leaves silhouetted onto tree trunks of unusual hues and the shape of leaves and branches became more evident in the dark.

Reaching the Melon Yard the colours were even more enriched. Jewel-like arbours and tunnels and vibrant glasshouses glowed in the darkness.

The final part of the walk was through the Productive Garden and then around through the Ravine to the Italian garden, which wasn’t lit up quite as much as I had imagined, and then up through the Western Ride and back to the beginning.

“ …transform the act of looking into a physical experience – where audiences frequently find themselves immersed in a sensational play of light and colour as the space metamorphoses into something unique and magical.”

~ Ulf Pedersen

I’ll leave you with a last look at those glorious natural fireworks.

If you like a walk, long or short, then please visit Jo for her regular strolls in the UK and the Algarve and maybe you would like to join in too. She’s very welcoming.

Thursday Special | Festive


  1. OMG I have always wanted to go there by day and now I see it is best to visit in December to see this magnificent display 😍

    1. Heyjude says:

      Well it was the first time they have done this so it may not be a regular event. I still think visiting during the daylight hours is desirable – you don’t trip over for one thing 😀

  2. Paula says:

    These are very challenging to photograph, Jude, but you did it beautifully. I have enjoyed this festive stroll a lot. Thank you.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Paula. You set a challenging challenge this week! I have another one for you later today too 😀

      1. Paula says:

        😀 that will make me very happy. This Thursday I am doing Traces of the Past.

        1. Heyjude says:

          When will the next Black and White Sunday be?

        2. Paula says:

          Sunday 14 Jan B&W Sunday with “still life” and on 28 Jan B&W Sunday “after and before”

        3. Heyjude says:

          Thanks Paula. I shall start thinking about these now 🙂

  3. Joanne Sisco says:

    This was outright magical to ‘walk’ through your photos. I imagine the real experience was many times better!!

  4. restlessjo says:

    Just came back for a proper look when I have time (and to illuminate the grey 🙂 🙂 ). It really is spectacular and well done, Jude. Spotted Paula’s comment so I know what I’m posting on Thursday. There will be more tiles. Groan!!! 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Nothing wrong with more tiles 🙂

  5. Lucid Gypsy says:

    How beautiful Jude 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      It was interesting Gilly. And nice to get out for a change. Though I still loathe night driving.

  6. lizannelloyd says:

    I love Heligan but I’ve never seen it like this!

    1. Heyjude says:

      First time I believe. Certainly looked different.

  7. pommepal says:

    That is just stunning and so magical Jude. You did it justice. I’ve been looking forward to this walk around Heligan with you. Now I will wait patiently for your spring visit.

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