I HAVE wanted to visit an illuminated garden for a while, but in previous years they have all seemed too far away to travel in the evening with a young child.

It was therefore brilliant news to hear that West Green House in Hartley Wintney was adopting the relatively new concept of transforming its gardens into a magical twinkling wonderland.

Being just 20 minutes away from Basingstoke made it close enough to visit in the evening and be back for bedtime for our four-year-old.

When we arrived, we were directed towards the one-way system, which takes visitors on a circular route around the 10 acres of gardens.

The spectacular display has been creatively constructed, with fairy like creatures peeping out from the bushes, a Swan Lake themed display, and impressive floating lights on the lake, which can be seen from different perspectives as you walk around.

At every corner there was a new surprise as we made our way around the winter wonderland.

My son was amazed as we walked under a twinkling tunnel of lights and loved the colourful candy canes lining one path.

One highlight was the gigantic shimmering flowers floating on the lake. Like burning beacons in the night, they created a magnificent reflection in the water.

And we were wowed by the stunningly lit up West Green House itself, which could be admired from afar.

We were lucky to go on an evening when a choir was singing Christmas carols, which drew quite a crowd.

We listened to two songs before deciding to finish looking around the rest of the gardens to avoid the inevitable rush of people when they finished.

However, the sound travelled, and it felt almost ethereal hearing the angelic singing of children echoing in the dark.

Plenty of people were enjoying the festive food offerings, which included mulled wine, German sausages, and Prosecco.

While I don't have anything to compare to these illuminated gardens at West Green House, having never visited any others, we weren't disappointed.

My son thoroughly enjoyed it. Doing anything outside in the dark, close to bedtime, always feels special for children, and it was a joy to watch his eyes sparkle in delight.

With so many Christmas events cancelled this year because of Covid, it was lovely to visit somewhere which is embracing the festive spirit.