Winter Wonderland has arrived at Hestercombe Gardens, Somerset

PUBLISHED: 00:16 03 December 2011 | UPDATED: 20:23 20 February 2013

Winter Wonderland has arrived at Hestercombe Gardens, Somerset

Winter Wonderland has arrived at Hestercombe Gardens, Somerset

Editor of Somerset Life, Natalie Vizard, took the opportunity to get in the festive spirit with the launch of Hestercombe Gardens' Winter Wonderland, complete with Rudolph, Santa and a Mad Hatter's Tea Party

When the invitationpopped into my inbox for the launch of 'Winter Wonderland' at Hestercombe Gardens, in Cheddon Fitzpaine just north of Taunton, I didn't even blink before accepting. I knew this was something the children would love and it would be a fitting start to the Christmas festivities we have all been looking forward to. So, blankets on, we headed out to discover what it was all about.

Ihave often enjoyedvisiting Hestercombe,with itsunique collection of three gardens spanning three centuries of garden history and design complete with excellent cafe and gift shop, butfor the festive period there are even more reasons to entice families. Ithas been transformed by twinkling lights, glittering decorations, a unique shopping experience, an ice rink and, of course, a traditional Father Christmas! What more could a family want?

Upon arrival, my children's mouths were agape in wonder, and we were in for a real treat as on the ice was none other than Alice in Wonderland enjoying aMad Hatter's tea party with the rest of the cast from Lewis Caroll's classic children's tale - panto on at the Brewhouse in Taunton fromFriday 2 Decemberto Saturday 31 December. It wasn't long before I was being dragged toward the ice rink by my daughter, who has caught the ice-skating bug, along with my not-so-sure 2 1/2 year old son. Once we managed to get going in the right direction, I think we did remarkably well just to stay upright, albeit with a little help from the barrier and a giant penguin!

The rink is similar to that used for Holiday on Ice and being an artificial surface is not suffering from the melt down other rinks have been facing this winter. It is also much more environmentally friendly than ice as a skating surface, as it does not require the400 worth of diesel per day necessary to keep real ice rinkscool.Being under cover too, the Hestercombe rink ensures that skating can take place whatever the weather.Skaters report getting the same skating experience, if not better,on this surface than on their frozen counterparts.

Chief Executive of the Hestercombe Gardens Trust, Philip White, is delighter with the way winter is shaping up at Hestercombe: "The rink is a first for us, but I think it's going to be a real success, there's nothing like it for miles around. It's the focal point of our Winter Wonderland - we've transformed the visitor centre with sparkling lights and lanterns and are offering a range of other great festive opportunities including carols by candlelight, gifts stalls and Father Christmas in his grotto. Of course, don't forget the gardens that, because of their remarkable structure still look beautiful at this time."

So come one, come all and enjoy the festive spirit at Hestercombe. I'm definitely going to take my family again over the coming weeks, so hope to see you there...

Happy Christmas!


Skate all day Saturdays & Sundays in December - plus - skate 'til late every Saturday in December (except Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve)
And every day with late night skating, shopping and eating from 19 to 23 December inclusive.
Then skate daily right up to 8th January!

  • 1-hour skating sessions

  • Children under 8 years must by accompanied by a paying adult

  • Smallest boot size available is child size 8


6 per adult, 4 per child, 16 Family ticket


175 adults, 122.50 children


5 per adult, 3.50 per child (minimum of 10 in a group)

Corporate parties from 10 per person with exclusing use, room hire and a choice of delicious menus for lunch or dinner (minumum of 35)

Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (01823 413923), email ( or just turn up on the day

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