A brand new magical illumination event is due to take place high above the sea at Sidmouth this festive season.
Open from December 7 to 12, Connaught@Christmas promises to be the perfect way to launch the celebrations, giving friends and families a chance to get together and enjoy the festive combination of lights, food and drink, and browse locally made gifts.
Visitors will delight in a beautifully lit walk through the gardens with seasonal features to look out for and live music on the bandstand. All paths are paved so no wellies will be needed – and while the gardens have a number of steps a special route allows wheelchair users to view over 90 percent of the illuminations.
Around 1,000 visitors are expected each night so bookings will receive a specified time slot to help avoid overcrowding, giving everyone plenty of space to appreciate the displays. Suitable for all the family, tickets have been priced to make this an affordable experience with free entry for the under 3s.
The event includes a Christmas Food & Craft Village in Manor Road car park opposite Connaught Gardens. Open to all, there’s no charge to visit the village, which combines food and drink traders with a craft area offering a range of locally made gifts plus activities for children such as pottery painting and wreath-making giving parents time to browse or to chat to friends.
The growing list of traders includes Samphire Jewellery, Beach House Botanics, Something Lovely Pottery, Ebb Tides, Jurassic Soap Kitchen, Pinnacle Icing, Angelchops Cakes, Global Street Kitchen, Buono Pizza, Westcountry Dimsum, New Devon Brewing and Ventons Cyder.
Event organiser John Radford believes the illuminations will draw more visitors than ever to Sidmouth to enjoy the wonderful seaside vista out of season. He says “Connaught Gardens is the perfect location with the added attraction of the dramatic winter coastline.
“If Connaught@Christmas is as successful as early responses indicate it could become an annual event, putting Sidmouth firmly on the map as a pre-Christmas destination.”
In the spirit of giving, a percentage of profits from the event has been pledged to the independent, self-funded Sidmouth Lifeboat, which covers an area of approximately 150 square miles of sea between Axmouth and Budleigh Salterton. This year for the first time, the organisation - together with EDDC - provided a lifeguard service on busy Sidmouth beaches.
To find out more and book a slot, visit: connaught-at-christmas.co.uk