Enjoying the Holiday Sights at Longwood Gardens

There is something about holiday lights and decorations that beckons to the kid in us. Toy trains, Christmas ornaments, colorful lights — the Christmas season definitely speaks to my inner child. I like bright colors and shiny things, so last year I’d added seeing Longwood Gardens to my 2014 wishlist.

Longwood Gardens offers everything your inner child — and your real child, if you have one handy — might want to see: ornaments, decorated trees, whimsical arrangements, and trees in unexpected places such as greenhouses, tree houses…

Our first destination was the Conservatory, where unique permanent collections provide beautiful texture and a backdrop for the dramatic holiday displays. A meandering central water feature made up of waterfalls, pools, and fountains adds sound and motion to this dynamic garden. 


There were a variety of Christmas trees in various venues around the Conservatory — often eliciting squeals of surprise from children coming upon them (this really is a place where adults can enjoy feeling like children again, and children can enjoy just being children!). This year’s decorations centered around a bird theme. Thus, in the Conservatory, a dramatic Christmas tree sports giant cardinals frolicking around a gorgeous giant blue spruce. 


Elsewhere there were topiary swans, trees featuring bird houses. And in the Music Room, a magical Peacock Masquerade Ball was set up, featuring elegant table settings and an 18-foot rotating tree.


After enjoying the Conservatory, we strolled outside, to see the fountain display. We strolled through treehouses with Christmas trees topped not by angels but by bald eagles. 

Then at 3:30 p.m., something magical happened! All around us, Christmas lights turned on, illuminating the gathering darkness in the best possible way!

We also checked out the garden train — this is the 14th year the train garden has delighted kids of all ages with a whimsical display with G-scale model trains. I laughed as I recognized Toby and Thomas the Tank Engine — nostalgic favorite characters from many a children’s story read to my two boys (who are now teenagers).

Photo credit: Duane Erdmann, volunteer photographer for Longwood Gardens

Make sure you take time to catch at least one of the fountain shows — different Christmas music is played at each show and the fountains dance to the music. Since its 1914 Garden Party debut, this Italian-style outdoor theater has expanded from its simple original fountains to the 750 jets that create a rainbowed curtain of water. Five-minute shows run on the hour from 10:00 am–3:00 pm, and every 5 minutes beginning at 3:30 pm.

For a more recent visit, click A Longwood Christmas 2019.

Know before you go #1: Wear warm clothing that is easy to take on and off. You’ll be both inside and out during your exploration of a Longwood Gardens Christmas, so dress accordingly.

Know before you go #2: For more tips for visiting Longwood Gardens Christmas, check out http://longwoodgardens.org/visit/christmas-visiting-tips

Getting there: Longwood Gardens is located at 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348. If your GPS does not recognize the 1001 Longwood Road address, try 399 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

Hours: Open everyday (apparently even Christmas Day); check website for hours as these change.

Website: http://longwoodgardens.org/

Updated January 2020


Can’t get enough of the holidays? Check out the great holiday season activities we’ve already written about!