Fire and Ice: A Longwood Christmas Celebration

We started our Christmas season with a visit to one of our favorite lights displays: Longwood Gardens. We took a year off from our now almost-annual visits because of the pandemic, which made returning this year even better.

We arrived during the daylight, the better to appreciate the last rose bloom … 

… and the beautiful autumn color at the Carillion. 

You’ll see some changes, being promoted as “Longwood Re-Imagined.” A new “crystal palace” is being built, which will be attached to the Conservatory, but for now, there’s a little bit of construction being discreetly tucked away behind fences, which really doesn’t impact your visit.

This year during a Longwood Christmas, you’ll find flickering flame lanterns and trees decorated in fiery hues of yellow, orange and red inside of the Conservatory, balanced by equally lavish displays in icy blue tones.

But soon you’ll pass into a icy succulent fountain.

Be sure to visiting the dining room — part of the one-directional walk — to see how every dining room table should be decorated for Christmas dinner! (I wish!!)

I really enjoyed seeing the different poinsettias! And we visited one of our favorite displays, the orchids, shifted because of the construction.

The fun continues in the Music Room, dressed for a festive family fete.

As much fun as the conservatory is — and it is fun — the outside lights are the best. 

My favorite is the 200-foot-long Meadow Tunnel featuring nearly 20,000 twinkling lights gently transitioning from warm fire to rainbow to galaxy effects.

We loved the luminaria display that sets the Large Lake aglow, especially striking in the setting sun.

Especially for the littler kids (versus the grown up ones), there’s a wonderful train garden, all decorated for the season!

We ensured we made time to watch the fountains dance to the Nutcracker Overture at the Outdoor Theater. I could have watched it again and … 

again and… 


It was almost too much to take in. 

Finally, we enjoyed the lovely caroling before heading out into the night for the long drive home.

There is something about all the lights that makes us, whatever our ages, a kid again. 

For a few moments or even an hour or two, we can forget the cares of the world and our anxieties and worries, and focus instead on the sheer joy of the season. And really, that’s the point, isn’t it?

Know before you go: You must purchase your timed entry tickets in advance. We chose the 1:30 p.m. timeslot, explored the gardens and conservatory by day, then enjoyed a meal at the cafe, then did it all over again once it got dark. 

Getting there: 1001 Longwood Rd, Kennett Square, PA

Hours: A Longwood Christmas is on display through January 9. Check the website below to purchase your timed-entry tickets and for available dates and times.


Read more about visits to Longwood Gardens in the articles below:

Want to visit other botanical gardens and arboretums? Check out these out:
Can’t get enough of the holidays? Add these to your holiday bucket list!

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