Review: Tripping the Light Trail Fantastic at Luminate Coombe

Luminate Coombe is a magical light trail that is held every year in the grounds of Coombe Abbey on the outskirts of Coventry. Sadly it got cancelled last year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But this year it is back much to everyone’s pleasure. The world may be full of darkness, but not in Coombe Abbey where there is certainly lots of hope and light! Coombe Abbey invited us along to find out what it was all about. So, here is our review of what we thought.

make a wish sign luminate coombe

What did we think? Our review of Luminate Coombe! (Part 1)

I’d never been to Coombe Abbey before. Big C has taken Little C in the past there as somewhere to while away the time waiting for me whilst I’ve been at hospital appointments at the nearby UHCW, but none of us had been after dark. We have been on Christmas light trails recently but nothing as big and formal as this one. We didn’t know what to expect.

Finding the venue and parking was super easy. It was well signposted and there were plenty of staff members guiding people into parking spaces, and there was only a short walk to where we needed to be. As we walked up towards the main entrance, the first thing we saw was a children’s carousel which was lit up in the dark. We saved this one for a bit later on, as didn’t want to miss our time slot, but it did look very impressive.

luminate sign luminate coombe

We showed our tickets by the big ‘Luminate’ lettering (a perfect photo point) to a very friendly team of people, you can also purchase some mulled wine or a hot chocolate/tea or coffee here if you wish. Then, it was time to start the trail.

The trail is about a mile long and took us about an hour to walk around, and not once did Little C actually complain she was tired as there was so much to entertain us! The trail was well lit, accompanied by different pieces of ambient relaxing music and was quite mesmerizing. There were so many different wow moments, you need to 

  • A Talking tree called Aspen who explained about the journey ahead.
  • Light Maze – a maze that you could go in, but made out of Christmas lights! This was definitely one of Little C’s favourites. I lost count of the number of times she went round this.
  • Corridor of light – it was lovely walking through the archway of light hand in hand with my beautiful family appreciating the time with them and enjoying the view of the lit-up fountains and the abbey (and hearing a distant sound of rock music!)
  • Crystal Maze – this is the only way in which I can think to describe this feature. It was like a Crystal Maze type installation that children could go in, and it had pods on the floor that lit up different colours every time they jumped on them.
  • Musical game which lit up – this was a guitar hero style game where you can control the light show yourself and play jingle bells on a ‘piano’ at the same time!
crystal maze luminate coombe

Our review of Luminate Coombe! (part 2)

After the first part of our trail, we took a turn left. Little C was insistent on turning right but it is a one-way signed trail so that wasn’t possible, and unfortunately children can’t be right all the time. But all I can say is I’m glad we chose the right turning because the left turn took us to some more stunning moments:

  • A Magical woodland – full of disco balls, lasers, trees lit up in blue, green and red.
  • Interactive features – Trolls, fluttering butterflies, and a whole forest of Fairies. Perfect for little girls who believe they go to fairyland each night to actually be immersed in the real fairyland!
  • Marshmallow toasting pit – At the end of the woodland part by the top pool, there is a stop where you can buy hot drinks and food. They have also got fire pits where you can buy marshmallows to toast (or bring your own). Delicious! 
  • The Wishing tree – visitors and adults are invited to write a wish down on a piece of paper and tie it to the wishing tree. Disposable pencils are given out and a one-way system in place for covid safety rules. The number of wishes on the tree took my breath away, I can guess what many of us may be wishing for right now and I hope the fairy grants it soon!
disco ball luminate coombe

  • Christmas quiz – I loved this one. I am an avid quiz fan (usually Popmaster). This was a huge christmas quiz projected on the side of a building where people could guess the answers to see if they got them right. Fun times!
  • 12 days of christmas – At the end of the trail, the big finale is a rock version of the 12 days of Christmas with animated 3D projections on the side of Coombe Abbey. We enjoyed many verses of the songs in the crisp cold air having a little dance along and singing (5 goooooollllllddddd rings) before making our way back to the start.
marshmellow pit luminate coombe

On the way back, you pass the light maze once again so we had several goes of that before heading back to the visitor centre. We were absolutely thrilled with our walk and loved the entire light trail, and there were so many things that made our eyes widen in delight. Family-friendly and a perfect pre-Christmas evening out. We can’t wait to add it to the list for next year. 

light maze luminate coombe

Back at the Visitor Centre? Look out for The Sundae Club for delicious desserts!

There have been some exciting new developments inside the visitor centre recently following a £185,000 investment and the appointment of a new Retail Operations Manager. As well as the existing cafe, you can now also find an artisan market (perfect for picking up gifts for others or nice items for yourself) and also The Sundae Club, all of which support local food and drink producers from across the Midlands. Now, the title of The Sundae Club already had me if I’m honest, I’m a sucker for ice cream. 

sundae club dessert diner coombe

The Sundae Club is located where the gift shop used to be and is a new 1950s-inspired family-friendly dessert diner (think Creams in a rural setting). We were treated to some desserts by their lovely smiling staff members Lauren & Millie. Big C went for a honeycomb ice cream, Little C went for a chocolate ice cream (of course) and i had a crepe with chocolate and caramel sauce, which came with ice cream on the side. They had dairy free ice cream too, which was also great to see (so many places don’t these days, so always good to have a plant-based alternative for the allergies so noone misses out!). I can honestly say that we all enjoyed our sugar rush immensely and was a perfect treat after our walk along the light trail. Do look out for it when you finish, it’s opposite the big luminate sign at the beginning/end of the trail.

chocolate caramel crepe sundae club dessert diner coombe

When does Luminate Coombe take place?

Luminate Coombe 2021 runs every day from Thursday 18th November to Friday 24th December 2021. Entry slots are every 15 minutes and must be pre-booked in advance. Entry times are from 4.15 to 9pm. Parking is free of charge.

How do I book tickets for Luminate Coombe?

You can buy tickets from the Luminate Coombe website. Ticket prices range from £15-£17 for adults, £11-13 for children and £48-£56 for a family ticket, depending on the day on which you choose to visit. Children under the age of 2 go free. Tickets do sell out very quickly for the event as it is very popular!

coombe abbey luminate coombe

Join the Conversation!

Have you been to Luminate Coombe at Coombe Abbey? What did you think? Let us know by leaving a comment below or joining the conversation on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages. (Luminate also features on our What’s On Guide for the Christmas 2021 School Holidays – don’t forget to check it out for lots of inspiration for family friendly things to do.)

(Disclaimer: We were gifted tickets to Luminate Coombe for the purposes of this review, however all views and opinions are our own.)

1 thought on “Review: Tripping the Light Trail Fantastic at Luminate Coombe”

  1. Incredulously awful.
    We paid £33.50 to visit a very amateurish display of lighting at Coombe last night.The great majority of the lights used, were strung along the side of the tracks, presumably for health and safety reasons and not for a decorative display.  Mind, I was pleased to have those lights, they did help us avoid the muddy and puddled sections of the intended route. In some places we were not sure if we were on the route or paddling into the lake. We walked and walked, wanting to give benefit to the doubt but we never found the displays that the website describes with such adjectives as – spectacular illuminated trail, full of wonder and intrigue, enchanting journey, captivating light trail, mesmerising mile long trail, with stunning lighting elements and fabulous light play. WHAT ? Where were the creative designs? I suspect someone had  ‘re-imagined’ them but decided not to put them on display. It might have impressed someone who has never walked an avenue with street lights but I’ve seen far better displays at Kendalls Electrics in Bedworth and you can see them for free.Luminate displays website is a complete con. If anyone wishes to see a proper professional Christmas lights display, I recommend you nip up the M6 and go to Trentham Gardens for only £12 per adult entrance. Once you have been there you will have every right to use those exaggerated adjectives. As good as Las Vegas.

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