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Longleat Safari and Adventure Park will be hosting the largest display of Chinese lanterns in Europe during the Festival of Light, which opens on Friday.

The spectacle of stunning tableaux includes 7,000 individual lanterns, 15km of silk and 40km of LED lights, which can be experienced by those staying in Wiltshire cottages for the Christmas period. Taking more than six months in the making, this highly anticipated event is sure to entertain all ages, and will take place until January 4th.

The structures have been carefully created by skilled craftsmen from the village of Zigong in China’s Sichuan province, which was very fitting as Zigong is said to be the spiritual home of the Chinese lanterns. This is due to the ground-breaking designs that have been constructed in the town throughout the 2,000 years of lantern festivals.

Age-old tradition of Chinese lanterns with a contemporary twist

On top of the materials mentioned above, the unique outdoor extravaganza has also used more than 30 tonnes of steel, and the showpiece 70-metre long dragon of the festival is made up of 23,000 lit porcelain cups and 65,000 glass phials. Transformed for a modern audience, there will be a mix of traditional materials such as silk and satin, alongside LED lights and vinyl frames.

Throughout the 30 acres of the Longleat Festival of Lights there are 20 different scenes that can be explored, comprising of thousands of individual illuminations inspired by Chinese myths. One of the highlights of the festival, which is expected to attract more than 500 million visitors, is a performance from the famous Sichuan’s ‘face-changing’ opera, and the largest structure at the festival will measure more than 20 metres in height.

There will also be a number of Christmas features alongside the Chinese-themed festival, such as the Santa Express train, ice skating rink and a dazzling giant Christmas tree to help those on country cottage holidays in Salisbury get into the festive spirit.