Lumagica St Albans Review (Light Trail at Willows Activity Farm)

(Gifted entry) Lumagica is a new light trail for 2022 at Willows Activity Farm in London Colney/ St Albans. It opened for October half term and runs Friday - Sunday (and Christmas holidays) after Willows is closed. The trail is open from 4.30pm and the long opening hours and new location means ticket availability is really good.  A new venue is always a bit of a gamble though, so what is it like? We were given gifted tickets to visit.

The lit up arch at the entrance of the lumagica st albans trail

Lumagica St Albans Review

If you know Willows Activity Farm at all then the light trail takes place at the back of the site starting next to where the tractor ride runs from in the day time. The path winds back and forth past a variety of lights and towards the end there is a light and water projection display. Like all trails which change each year the images on the website aren’t totally representative of what you will experience.

What is the Lumagica St Albans Light Trail Like?

The trail is reported to be 1.2km and take 45 minutes to 90 minutes. With 2 small children determined to run most of the way round we were out in about 35 minutes. The light trail is pretty with 9 separate display areas. Whereas the Crystal Palace Lightopia was mostly lanterns (wire frame sculptures covered in material with lights inside) I would describe the Lumagica displays as being made from lots and lots of fairy lights.

The Displays

Arch of Life & Winter Unicorn: there is a pretty arch as you start the trail followed by a unicorn surround by white lights.

The Winter unicorn display with alit up mane and tail and white balls of light on the ground around it
The Winter Unicorn

Enchanted Mushroom Forest: This display is mostly hidden by Christmas trees until you turn a corner and see the whole forest of mushrooms lights stretching ahead of you.

A path lit by fairy lights with mushroom lights to the left and Christmas trees lit up with coloured flood lighting
Enchanted Mushroom Forest

Giraffe Family: The 5 giraffes are visible from the entrance due to their size, but as you get closer you see the floor is covered with green and blue lights. There are two interactive pillars next to the path and if you hit them the lights flash.

A family of 5 giraffes made from fairy lights. The ground in front of them is covered in a carpet of blue and green fairy light
Giraffe Family

Giant Hummingbird: This pretty light in the corner of the site is constantly changing colour. It is particularly pretty because the lights spread through it’s body so the body can be a different colour to it’s wings.

A giant hummingbird shaped light on a larger circular stand. The bird is changing colour from yellow to red. There are two children watching
Giant Hummingbird

Crystal Tree of Life: A tree which changes colour with a few animals lights underneath.

trees lit up with red lights and some people walking towards it on a patch
Crystal Tree Of Life

Field Of Dreams Interactive Show: there are 4 different colour buttons which when pressed light up a matching coloured light rope and some coloured balls in the trees as well as playing music. These weren’t working properly when we were there as apparently the rain causes problems. They were reset and some of them worked, but we didn't get the full effect.


Yellow and blue rope lights visible with blurred lights in the background
Fields of Dreams Interactive Show

Themed Light Tunnels: the path takes you through 4 tunnels with different coloured dancing lights, these are really pretty. My favourite tunnel had lights than hang down from the roof.

A photo taken from inside a light tunnel with fairy lights dangling down. Two further light tunnels with coloured lights are visible in the background
There are 4 different light tunnels at Lumagica

SuperNatural Light Show: stand next to the lake where there are pink and blue ring lights. When the lights go off a show starts. A fountain creates a wall of water that a video is projected on so you can see moving images on lots of animals accompanied by sound. The show is about 5 1/2 minutes long. 

Having seen a similar concept at Crystal Palace Lightopia the Lumagica water show is smaller, but it lasts longer and is prettier so I prefer it. We could also watch it without getting covered in water spray which was a bonus.

A light projection of a fish on to a wall of water over a lake which is part of the light show at Lumagica
A moving light show projected on to a wall of water

Neon GeoBird Forest: on the path out of the trail you walk through a wooded section which has geometric bird lights in the trees. There is a soundtrack of bird noises and the coloured lights go on an off. 

Neon coloured geometric bird shapes in trees either side of a path with children walking down the middle
Neon Geobird Forest

What I thought of Lumagica St Albans

I was a little apprehensive about the location because I was worried my children would get distracted by the playgrounds and want to go on them (which you aren’t meant to). Luckily as they haven’t been to Willows for a few years they didn’t really notice all the play equipment. My son was distracted by the Peter Rabbit’s everywhere, but he didn’t pay too much attention to the farm part.

The trail is really pretty and we enjoyed our visit. The photographs don't really do it justice because a lot of the magic is in the changing colour of the lights and their twinkling. 

Given the time of night you are visiting and that children are probably getting tired Lumagica St Albans is a good size trail for little ones. My nearly 4 year old son managed to walk around the whole way (well mostly run) and only started complaining after the water show that he was tired and wanted to go home. He would have struggled with a longer trail. 

You can see most of the lights from the entrance to the trail so there aren’t many surprises, although the mushrooms, water show and bird forest were pretty hidden until you got to them. This means there are less “wows” than some trails, but the sparkly lights are still magical. 

What You Need to Know Before Visiting Lumagica

Location: Willows Activity Farm, Coursers Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL4 0PF.
The trail is easy to get to, located just off junction 22 of the M25 and there is lots of free parking.

Dates and times: Selected dates 22nd October to 30th December. Entry slots 4.30pm to 7.30pm

Tickets: £20 per person until 1st December, £22 per person 2nd to 11th December, £25 per person 15th to 30th December. Children under 2 are free, but need a ticket. There are currently some discounts on the website.

Any remaining tickets will be available from the ticket office from 4.30pm, but they recommend purchasing in advance online (there are currently lots of tickets available though).

There are toilets (including baby changing) and a refreshments cabin before you cross the bridge to the trail and as you go in there is a small stand selling coloured lights for children. The refreshment cabin sells drinks, pizza and toasted marshmallows (they toast these on the pizza oven). There are 2 fires in front of this you can warm up on, but the metal barrier around them is hot so approach with care. If you want to sit down there are picnic tables with roofs so they should be dry.

The floor to the route was covered in a plastic paving all the way round which is great for pushchairs. I was worried it would be slippy given it was wet, but it wasn’t particularly. If you do take a pushchair the path to the light trail is less flat with some big puddles, but still ok for pushchairs.

On the way out you go through Willows shop which is basically a big toy shop so be prepared for requests.

You can take as long as you like on the trail (before closing time), but I expect most people would take 30 minutes to an hour (Lumagica says 45 to 90 minutes) on the actual trail with extra time for refreshments and walking to and from the car.

Wrap up warm, it gets pretty colds and there is no cover if wet. The trail is open in all weathers unless there is extreme weather warnings.

Check out this post for other light trails nearby.

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