Christmas starts here

Santa Claus, Japanese cuisine, an X Factor star, a marshmallow fire pit and even biscuit-making icons, Huntley and Palmer, are among the new features announced for Twilight Trail: Biscuit Town, the flagship festive attraction of Christmas in Reading 2021.

Taking place in the stunning setting of the Abbey Ruins and Forbury Gardens, the light trail that in its 2020 debut sold over 12,000 tickets and was cited as a UK holiday highlight by the Daily Mail, returns from 3-31 December.

This year’s light, sound and smell installations have a biscuit theme as the bicentenary approaches of Huntley & Palmers, the Reading-based biscuit business that became one of the first-ever global brands, selling to 172 countries. They include a brand-new Son et Lumiere The Packing Plant in the Abbey Ruins, a recreation of a board game featured on a 1950s biscuit tin, the interactive Lion’s Roar and a shimmering photo frame entirely constructed from rolling pins. Leading light trail producer, Luminism, have been working with Bing Live and Bicycle Boy playwright Helen Eastman and artists from Reading and beyond to create a mouth-watering, wintery wonderland. Two specially commissioned songs, written by lyricist Eastman and composer Russell Heppelwhite, celebrating Reading’s history as Biscuit Town will be featured, recorded by children from six local schools:  Caversham Park Primary School, Christ the King Catholic Primary School, Redlands Primary School, St Anne's Catholic Primary School, St John's Church of England Primary School and St Mary & All Saints Church of England Primary School.  

RUK TT 2021 WOR Event Listing 915 x 610Food and drink offerings include Après Ski chalets, a marshmallow fire pit, Japanese and sausage stalls, as well as specially created iced gem and adults-only hot chocolates from WePop. Special guests appearing including Victorian Huntley and Palmer characters looking for help designing new biscuits and, on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus. Reading’s leading homelessness prevention charity, Launchpad, will take over the Twilight Trail on 8 December, joined by Anonymous Coffee and X Factor star Danyl Johnson, who will be compering Carols at the Abbey starring BBC’s Gospel Choir of the Year 2019 winners, Reading Community Gospel Choir. All proceeds from tickets sold for this special evening will be donated to Launchpad to directly support people who are homeless or at risk of losing their home in Reading.

The Twilight Trail will form the flagship of Reading UK’s Christmas in Reading 2021 campaign, which brings together festive events and activities across the town. The celebrations kick off on Saturday 20 November with the Christmas light switch-on, complete with live music from Reading’s own steel band RASPO, on Broad Street, which will also be hosting pop-up Christmas stalls through the season.

From the Oracle to the Broad Street Mall, Reading has an unrivalled shopping and dining offering for all tastes, with special menus and late-night openings in venues throughout December. Entertainment highlights for all the family include the return of the Hexagon pantomime, RABBLE’s The Snow Queen at South Street and a world premiere adaptation of A Christmas Carol at Reading Rep.

Reading UK’s Zsuzsi Lindsay commented: “With less than a month to go until the Twilight Trail opens its doors, we can’t wait to light up Reading again and bring a bit of magic to the beautiful Forbury Gardens and Abbey Ruins. We’re so proud to have a fully accessible light trail right in the heart of the town centre, so people can make the most of what’s on offer in Reading over the festive season. And, located just a few minutes’ walk from Reading Station and other transport links, means that residents and visitors alike can enjoy this truly special trail which is totally unique to Reading.”

Tickets for Twilight Trail: Biscuit Town can be booked via, with off-peak tickets starting at £6 for children, £8 for adults and £26 for a family pass. More information on festivities in Reading is available at and on Instagram at @twilight_trail



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