Reading announces first Twilight Trail

UPDATE - 21 December 2020

Due to the latest government Tier 4 Stay at Home restrictions for Berkshire, Reading UK and Reading Borough Council have unfortunately decided to cancel the Twilight Trail. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but the safety of our staff, ticket holders and wider community must remain our number one priority.

We will be contacting everyone who has purchased tickets between 20 December – 3 January and will be issuing refunds automatically. Refunds will be processed in date order (starting from 20 December bookings) and will be issued by 29 January 2021. We ask that you please do bear with us while we work through these and only contact us if you have not received your refund by the end of January.

Reading will be lit up this Christmas with the introduction of a stunning, safe and socially distanced seasonal experience in the town’s most historic quarter: its first-ever light trail!


From 8 December to 3 January, a 1km-long outdoor lighting and sound installation will transform the beautiful Abbey Ruins and Forbury Gardens into a festive Twilight Trail, specially designed by YES Events whose innovative illuminations have previously been seen at Waddesdon Manor and the Green for Grenfell project, as well as at Reading’s Thames and Fringe festivals.

State-of-the-art lighting effects will be installed throughout the space, allowing visitors to create their own light shows as they wander through a magical backdrop of illuminated trees, discovering dazzling light orbs, floating mirror balls, son et lumière, kaleidoscope patterns and more. As well as the 11 low-energy, eco-friendly light installations there will be interactive elements, a festive pop-up bar provided by local hospitality agency We Pop and more surprises to be announced.

The Abbey Ruins are a Scheduled Monument and a Grade I listed building. Reading Abbey was founded by Henry I in 1121, while Forbury Gardens is a Grade II Victorian public pleasure garden and is home to the Maiwand Lion, unveiled in 1886 and one of the most iconic statues in the UK. The Twilight Trail forms the flagship event of this year’s wider festive offer, Magical Christmas in Reading. It is a partnership project, sponsored by Reading UK, Reading BID and Reading Borough Council.

To keep everyone as safe as possible and comply with current Coronavirus guidelines around social distancing, there will be a limited number of tickets available for the Twilight Trail, with allocated time slots every 20 minutes. All tickets must be pre-booked in advance via General booking opens at 10am on 7 October, with slots available from 4pm-8.40pm. A limited amount of tickets will be available from the reduced price of £8 and family tickets from £26.

Reading Place of Culture lead Zsuzsi Lindsay said:

"At a time when so many seasonal traditions have had to be put on hold we are so excited to share Reading’s first ever light trail with anyone looking for a magical, affordable treat this winter. YES Events have a great track record and we are working with them to ensure the project is environmentally friendly, both in terms of the energy used and turning the lights off so that night-time wildlife is interrupted as little as possible."

Councillor Karen Rowland, cultural lead for Reading Borough Council, said:

"After a tough year for so many and the tragic events at Forbury Gardens in June, we are honoured to be part of a fantastic local partnership which will brighten our town and bring holiday joy and cheer to many with this unique attraction in December and January. I really cannot wait to see this!"


The Twilight Trail takes place at Forbury Gardens, via Abbey Gate entrance, from 8 December 2020 – 3 January 2021, 4pm - 10pm, with bookable timeslots every 20mins from 4pm to 8.40pm. Booking opens at 10am on Wednesday 7 October here:



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