Lights on garden path - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre
Devon, Family days out, UK

Coleton Aglow – party like it’s Christmas 1929 at Coleton Fishacre

One of our favourite Christmas experiences last year was Coleton Aglow at Coleton Fishacre. So it was a no-brainer to add this National Trust illuminated house and gardens to our festive bucket list. Here’s a taster of what we experienced during this 1929 Christmas-themed event:

A country retreat in Devon

Colton Fishacre was built by the D’Oyly Carte family which owned a theatre company of the same name. It staged a string of successful operas like HMS Pinafore and The Mikado at the Savoy Theatre in London from the 1870s onwards.

Coleton in South Devon was their country retreat – a place for relaxation and entertainment. The family would have thrown lavish parties here. In homage to this the National Trust has decked the house for an opulent Christmas party throughout December.

1920’s Christmas at Coleton Fishacre in 2017

Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

The year is 1929 and the guests are about to arrive. The table is set. The champagne is chilled and waiting to be poured. And the party games are ready in the parlour. Up stairs frocks, featured head pieces and dinner suits have been pressed and laid out ready for the hosts.

This was the first time we’d had the chance to wander around the house and we were wowed. Much of the furniture and fittings are not original to the D’Oyly Carte period but have been recreated or sourced down to the French designed curtains and art deco furniture.

There’s also plenty of interactive activities to keep kids amused with a handling room full of trinkets, clothes and jewellery that can be touched and tried on. Children can also make their own party mask.

Tot trying on mask - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

Handling room - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

Baby with a bag - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

Kids trying on clothes - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

1920s party clothes - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

1920s dining table - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

Mask on dining table - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

Champagne glass tower - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

Coleton Aglow illuminated gardens

The champagne, feathers and glitter continue outside in the illuminated gardens. This is the third year of Coleton Aglow and while the route through the garden is the same, the features have been stepped up. There’s a huge bubbling champagne glass in the quarry to match the party theme; a glittering boat on the Cathedral Bank; and feathered lanterns along the paths.

Rill Garden - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

Illuminated bamboo - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

Disco ball - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

Champagne bubbles in garden - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

Illuminated boat - Coleton Aglow Coleton Fishacre

It took us about half an hour to walk around the gardens with our girls. The route is steep and there are steps so we’d recommend a baby/child carrier for little ones who can’t walk or tire easily. There’s also a shorter, easier route past the house to the gazebo at the top of the hill.

The gardens are a pleasure to explore by day and magical when lit up at night. We enjoyed our visit so much that we’ve already booked into to see Coleton Aglow again with my parents before Christmas.

Visiting Coleton Aglow at Coleton Fishacre

We visited Coleton Aglow in 2016 and 2017. This post is about our visit in 2017. To find out more about what Coleton Fishacre has in store this Christmas, the dates available, and how to book your slot to see the illuminations visit the National Trust website. Booking is essential.

If you’re looking for festive days out with the kids them check out these Christmas events in Devon or around the UK.

Disclosure: we were invited to a preview evening for Coleton Aglow for friends of Coleton Fishacre. We are National Trust members and have featured this event on the blog because we love it.

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