As the festive season approaches, family-friendly activities have begun to pop up across the region – and there’s no better or brighter way to start your Christmas countdown than at Chester Zoo’s magical wonderland, Lanterns and Light.

Featuring incredible light installations; opportunities to meet breathtaking lion, elephant and orangutan puppets; and the chance to toast marshmallows in the purpose-built fire garden, Chester Zoo’s captivating trail will transport you to an unforgettable world of colour, sound and pure winter magic.

With every ticket purchased supporting the world-leading conservation charity’s mission to prevent extinction and create a future where nature can survive and thrive, what better way to inspire the next generation of conservationists than through a sensory treat for all the family?

Warrington Guardian:

The fully accessible trail, which will be wowing visitors right through until 31 December, has introduced even more new features for 2023 – including a flickering fire garden, a stunning Forest of Light (animated to a bespoke soundtrack) and a hugely impressive 3D projection of a life-sized woolly mammoth named Matilda!

The animal-inspired illuminations are truly beautiful and will last long in the memory – particularly for young children. During our visit, we saw first-hand how the supersized lions, orangutans and elephants delighted the little ones – bringing a smile to their rosy cheeks. Remember to wrap up for the famously temperamental British weather! Just knowing that you’re supporting Chester Zoo's survival and, ultimately, their mission of preventing extinction, ramps up those warm, fuzzy feelings.

There’s so much to love about this sensory treat, with the addition of a superb soundtrack from Sony Music ensuring every element feels atmospheric and authentic. The creative team have literally thought of everything, from twirling octopi to leaping dolphins. If you’re really lucky, you might even get to see the big man himself, Father Christmas!

Warrington Guardian:

The ever-popular Christmas Cathedral, with its stunning sheets of light, offers the perfect photo opportunity for all the family, while the carefully crafted trail induces us to learn more about the multiple species housed by the zoo, which is home to around 27,000 animals. Many are endangered in the wild, and conversations about the natural world – and the impact humans have on it – are sure to continue on the drive home, thanks to the engaging way information is cleverly weaved into your visit.

There’s a great food village offering festive favourites such as Yorkshire Pudding wraps and luxurious hot chocolate, as well as fairground rides to enjoy.

To get those warm, wintery feelings fully flowing, we even had a go at toasting our own mouthwatering marshmallows! With QR codes for scanning at each section, plus helpful staff at all points along the way, it’s easy to see why Chester Zoo’s Lanterns and Light is fast becoming an annual family favourite.

Tickets start from £18 for adults and £12 for children. Children under the age of two and carers come free. (Carers will need to take proof of entitlement, which can be a PIP Letter or Blue Badge.)