THE impact of this year’s Festival of Light at Longleat is almost overwhelming – astonishing larger than lifesize silk lantern displays of Greek gods and heroes, Chinese dragons, Norse warriors and mythical beasts and monsters.
The festival includes more than 3,000 lanterns, crafted using 50,000 LED lights and 30,000 metres of silk. And for the first time, atmospheric and beautiful light shows are projected on to the front of the house.
The designs are extraordinary, drawing largely on traditional Chinese imagery – particularly the dragons – but with an intimate knowledge of the characters of the various myths and legends, from Narcissus and Medusa to the enchanting leprechauns and heroic St George.
The Greek hell – Hades – is evoked with a monstrous and massive Cerberus, the three-headed dog, and the ferryman Charon, with a dramatic background of icebergs and characters including Persephone.
A maze – of which Longleat has several – takes visitors into the lair of the Minotaur, while massive carp run into a rushing river and on to the magical Chinese river gate. The carp that manage the huge leap will become dragons.
The fearsome Kraken emerges from the Half-Mile Lake while towering above the elegant courtyard is a giant musical Christmas tree, which moves through dazzling light shows, and polar bears, arctic foxes and reindeer make their way through a magical land of snow and ice.
Children everywhere were delighted and excited by all the colourful displays – two youngsters making their first visit to the Festival of Light said they would definitely be telling all their friends about it.
Myths and Legends continues at Longleat until 5th January.
Pictured; The magic river with the carp and the dragons; Cerberus and Charon in Hades; polar bears; a unicorn; part of the light show on the fronti of Longleat House; St George defeating the dragon.