What is Luminate Wales at Margam Country Park?
A captivating after dark light trail illuminated trail.
Set to ambient music, you will follow the trail as it meanders through the Gardens and around the Castle exterior, with stunning lighting elements and light play guiding you along the way, punctuated by 13 larger moments/installations.
The trail is approximately one mile long and (depending on how long you dwell along the way) will take circa 60-90 minutes to complete.
Warm up by our fire pit, where you can toast marshmallows (purchase your marshmallows on site or bring your own marshmallows and skewers) and indulge in some of the food and drink offerings available to purchase from the Castle Courtyard café (approx ¾’s of the way around the walk, closes at approx 9pm), and small drinks and mulled wine huts along the route.
Please note we will not have ‘traditional festive’ decorations or Father Christmas.
Where does the trail start and what is the route?
The trail starts just off the car park, near the Orangery where you will follow the route through the Gardens, ascending up to the Castle and the Castle Courtyard and Cafe, pass in front of the Castle and descend back down, finishing back at the Orangery. Approx 1mile. Please note for safety please stay on the main lit pathways.
How do I know where to go?
There is a path all the way around, this is marked by festoon lighting all the way around – for your safety please do not leave the path/light trail in any time. There are trip hazards and risks off the trail, so please stay on the path at all times.
What are the dates of Luminate at Margam?
Every evening from Friday the 22nd November up to and including Monday the 23rd December.
What are the trail start times?
In order to ensure that Luminate can be enjoyed by everyone to the upmost, it has been designed as a continuous experience, with strictly fixed entry time slots, starting from 4.45pm onwards, to be booked in advance. Please ensure that you arrive within your pre-booked fixed entry time slot.
The timed entry slots are:
4:45pm – 5:00pm, 5:00pm- 5.30pm, 5:30pm-6:00pm, 6:00pm-6:30pm, 6:30pm - 7:00pm, 7:00pm - 7:30pm, 7:30pm – 8:00pm, 8:00pm-8:30pm.
Where is Margam Country Park and how do I get there?
Address: Margam Country Park, Margam Neath Port Talbot SA13 2TJ
Margam is 14 miles east (20 mins drive down the A483 and M4) from Swansea and 30 miles west from Cardiff (35 mins drive down the M4)
By public transport: From Cardiff or Swansea take the train to Port Talbot, then the X4 Bridgend bus for 15 mins, getting off at the Crematorium, and it’s a 5 min walk from there. Or it’s a 10 min Taxi from Port Talbot station.
By road: off the M4 at Junction 38, ½ a mile down the A48.
Where do I park?
As you drive into the estate, parking will be past the hut in car park 1, or on the grass trackway infront of the reception hut. Please note that car park may look like grass but there is trackway underneath so little chance of getting stuck.
Parking is included for free with your event tickets (Normally £6).
Who is Luminate suitable for?
Luminate at Margam Country Park is suitable for all ages. It is a delightful family experience to be enjoyed equally by young and old alike. Also a great alternative for date–night, for the romantics amongst us who can take in our Mistletoe Moments, or a very different, enchanting evening out with the girls.
When should I arrive?
Please ensure that you arrive in plenty of time to park and head to the start of the trail within your pre-booked time session.
I am visiting Margam during the day, do I need to leave before entering the lights trail in the evening?
Yes, but only to the car park entry booth. To ensure that only ticket holders for Luminate have entry to the evening event, daytime visitors must vacate the Gardens at the closing time (4pm). All visitors to Luminate must show their pre-booked tickets at the Entry Booth.
Will we see Father Christmas?
Father Christmas won’t be at Luminate Margam, he is far too busy at this time of year making presents!
But we can promise a magical, different festive experience for all of the family to enjoy!
Will there be strobe lighting?
There will be no strobe lighting but there will be pulsating and flashing light effects.
What should I wear?
Luminate takes place outdoors and you may need to queue on busy days. Luminate will go ahead whatever the weather. So it will be cold and on rainy days, wet! Please wrap up warmly & wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear for winter weather.
Where can I buy tickets from?
Tickets are only available through our website - CLICK HERE
Do I have to book in advance?
You need to book in advance. We recommend that you book early as each timed entry slot has a limited maximum capacity and prime slots, early evening and weekend are likely to sell out quickly. CLICK HERE to BUY TICKETS and avoid disappointment.
What are the prices for Christmas at Luminate?
Adult: £14.00 PREMIUM / £12.00 STANDARD
Child (4-17 years): £10.00 PREMIUM / £8.00 STANDARD
3 year olds and under are FREE.
There is a single booking fee of £1 per booking.
STANDARD and PREMIUM Tickets include the same light trail, its just the day in which its booked (It varies closer to Christmas but as a guide STANDARD is Mon-Thurs, PREMIUM is Fri-Sun.
What is the difference between STANDARD and PREMIUM?
PREMIUM times are Friday-Sunday and every evening from Monday 16th December until the 23rd December. STANDARD times are Monday-Thursday (save for from Monday 16th December until the 23rd December, when as above, all tickets are PREMIUM).
I am a Margam Park Season Holder, do I have to pay?
Yes, all season ticket holders must still purchase a ticket in advance. A limited time early bird promotion for discounted tickets for Margam Park Season ticket holders, will have been sent out to you with full details of how to apply your discount. Please note, your early bird discount code is only available for use against tickets purchased online before 21st October 2019. After that date there is no special rate for Margam Park Season ticket holders.
All Season ticket holders who have purchased a discounted ticket are required to please bring their valid Margam Park Season Ticket along with their Luminate ticket on the day.
Do I have to pay for Parking?
No. Car-parking is free for Luminate Visitors – valid from 30 minutes prior to your fixed timed entry slot. Please note your ticket does not allow free parking during the normal day-time opening hours of Margam Park.
How can I organise a group booking and is there a group rate?
There is a group rate of 10% off adult tickets for a block booking of over 15 adults. Please contact [email protected] who will issue you with a promotional code to use on our ticketing website for your transaction.
Can I buy tickets at the venue?
Tickets will only be available to be purchased in advance online through our website. CLICK HERE to buy tickets
How/when will I receive my tickets?
All tickets are E-Tickets (emailed out) which you can show the ticket on your mobile phone. All we need for entry is your order number and name it was booked under. Please Note - if you are booking multiple tickets, we can take part of the booking and allow some people in if other people are coming later they simply need to quote the order number again.
Please note there is no need to show QR codes or print tickets.
Can my carer go for free?
Yes carers can come for free. You do not need to purchase a ticket for the Carer, just purchase your non-carer tickets and the carer ticket will be issued on arrival. PLEASE NOTE TO QUALIFY FOR A FREE CARER TICKET YOU MUST BE ABLE TO SHOW SUITABLE EVIDENCE AT THE POINT OF ENTRY TO OUR EVENT:
WE CAN ACCEPT THE FOLLOWING AS SUITABLE EVIDENCE:
· Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
· Attendance Allowance (AA)
· Blind Persons Registration
· Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
· Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
· CredAbility’s Access Card with +1 symbol
· CEA Card
Without proof as listed standard admission entry charges will apply. Any further members of the party will pay full price. Unfortunately we cannot accept blue/orange badges, HANDS cards, carers passport etc.
If you need any further clarification with regards to our carer policy, please contact [email protected].
We are happy to offer assistance to visitors wherever possible and if you have any further queries please contact us on [email protected]
My ticket hasn’t arrived?
Please don't worry at all, all we need is your order number and/or the booking name. We will have the system live at the reception point so we can check you in with those details.
What are the last entry times?
Entry to the trail will close strictly at 8:30pm. If you have booked a late entry slot, please ensure you arrive before 8:30pm. The trail closes at 9.30pm. Please note the hot food offering will close at approx 8.45-9pm.
If I am delayed and miss my slot, can I join a later slot?
Please arrive in plenty of time to make your allotted entry time slot. All trail entry slots have a fixed maximum capacity. So at peak/busy times we may not be able to transfer your ticket to a different entry slot.
Please Note: All tickets are strictly non-transferrable and can not be used at a different time/on a different day.
Are there toilets on the trail?
Toilets (including accessible toilets) are situated in the car park, near the start of the trail and at the café courtyard, approx ¾’s of the way along.
Are dogs allowed on the trail?
Only guide dogs and registered assistance dogs are permitted at the event.
Is the trail dark or covered?
In many areas the lighting will be low level as part of the experience. We do encourage visitors to bring along a torch in case of an emergency but would ask, for your own enjoyment, to only use this if necessary.
All of the trail is outside and is not under-cover. All visitors are reminded that this is an outdoor event, taking place in the winter and the weather may well be inclement. Please wrap up warm and wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear for winter.
Please note for safety please stay on the main lit pathways at all times.
Can I take photographs?
We encourage you to take photographs and to share these on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #luminatewales. You can also follow the developments across our trails via ‘Luminate Wales’ on Facebook.
What provision do you have for disabled guests?
The trail will be created to be as accessible as possible within the context of the natural site of Margam Country Park and Gardens. All of the route is outside and not under cover. The route is predominantly across paths, however please note some paths are loose bark/chippings, which may be tricky to traverse in adverse weather. The route follows the gardens as they ascend up to the Castle and descend back down. Whilst, most of the route is along flat sections/moderate slopes, there are a couple of sections which proceed up and down a steep section of the Castle’s Garden paths. Please note the paths are in a country park, so may have stones/leaves/twigs on etc. There are also some areas where we have had to ramp accross cabling.
One part of the route (after the digital animation and just at the start of the descent back down) will lead visitors down 3 sections of steps. An alternative route around this section for wheelchair users will be clearly marked and stewards will be there to help guide you through to the alternative route. Your alternative route will then lead back to the bottom of the steps, so you can enjoy the remainder of the trail. Please feel free to ask for our help on the day.
Accessible toilets are situated at the Visitor Centre courtyard (approximately 0.7 miles into the trail) and also at the Car Park
If extreme weather conditions mean that the trail is not fully accessible for people using wheeled mobility aids (bearing in mind the general limitations as set out above), consideration will be made on a case by case basis to allow tickets to be transferred to an alternative date when the ground conditions are more suitable.
Please note that Waterfall Bridge is wide enough to fit a standard wheelchair (and/or standard single pram). If your wheelchair is larger than standard, please contact us so that we can advise further as to suitability.
Can I bring my mobility scooter or can mobility scooters be provided?
You are welcome to bring your own mobility scooter. Unfortunately, we don’t have any available to hire.
FOOD AND DRINK
Can I purchase food and drink on site?
We will have food and drink and a marshmallow fire pit area available to purchase food and drink. The café in the courtyard will be also be open serving hot drinks and food (up to approx 8.45-9pm). You are welcome to bring your own food and drinks (and marshmallows for toasting! Don't forget skewers!). However it is STRICTLY PROHIBITED TO BRING YOUR OWN ALOCHOL. Anyone found doing so will be asked to leave and no refund will be issued.
CANCELLATIONS, EXCHANGES and REFUNDS
What will happen if the weather is bad? Will the trail be cancelled?
Only if the weather presents a hazard and/or risk to health and safety would the Event be cancelled. We do not anticipate this happening in anything other than extreme weather conditions. We will proceed in all normal winter weather. Any decision to cancel the event would be made by 2pm on the day of the event and would only be made if it was impossible for Health and Safety reasons to safely open/remain open. In those circumstances, you would be notified via the email address that you booked your ticket with and informed of the re-booking process, to transfer your ticket to another night. We advise you to check our website/social media for all of our latest updates, particularly during extreme weather conditions.
If I am unable to attend a different day, can I get a refund?
In the extremely unlikely event that the Event is cancelled due to weather (as set out above) we will do our best to ensure that all ticket holders are able to transfer their ticket to an alternative date. The email sent out to you would clearly detail the processes involved and will have contact details for you to discuss matters in more detail with us, in the Event that you were unable to accept an alternative date offered.
I have booked for the wrong day - can I transfer over to another day?
No, regrettably we are unable to offer exchanges or refunds once tickets have been purchased. It is noted on the website and at the point of booking that you need to make sure that you have chosen the right date and time.
I have lost my ticket, what can I do?
No problem, simply quote the order number on entry or the booking email address/or name. We can check you using that at our entry point.
SUSTAINABILITY & ECOLOGY
The trail will be architecturally lit by experienced lighting designers who have developed sensitive ways of working in heritage and landscape settings.
Responding to the natural darkness of the sites is a key element of the event. We try to avoid continuous lighting of the trail, using just low level lighting to show the way between elements, we only use audience area lighting where it is absolutely necessary for reasons of public safety.
The sounds created for the event are used to provide atmosphere. All sounds are part of the route and are therefore contained within defined spaces. There is no noise pollution over and above the natural sound level created by the presence of people on the trail.
Wherever possible fuel for power generation is kept to a minimum by efficient use of power loadings and low wattage lighting units.
• The trail designers, have been appointed on the strength of their experience of working in environmentally sensitive ways in heritage and landscape settings.
• Wherever possible we use mains power. Where generators are needed, these are carefully specified and operated to ensure the most efficient fuel usage. Low wattage lighting units are used where possible on the trail.
• The trail uses the environmental darkness reducing the overall brightness of their lighting interventions, therefore maximising the impact of the installations.
• Care is also taken to ensure that we are considerate of our neighbours who live adjacent to the venue.
In order to assess the impact of this event both a desk study and field surveys are undertaken. The route proposed for the trail, is walked and checked on a regular basis with ground staff from the venue, this is an ongoing process throughout the design of the event.
This event is planned and installed by a company who have worked with high biodiversity and important historical heritage. Its’ staff are experienced in minimising the impact of the event.
The duration of this event spans late November to late December, the time of year in which there is least wildlife activity. Many protected species such as bats are hibernating, and we have made special bat fly zones, with no lights. In addition the event is open for a maximum of six hours only each night, reducing the impact of the event.
The generators used on the trail are silent ones and will be inaudible to the public. The power will be carried using cabling with no adverse effect on wildlife.
Where possible routes will be on hard surfaces and established paths. They pass through areas which are well-walked by visitors daily and will not take in any sections of sensitive areas.
Every care is taken to ensure that any potential bat roosts are not lit directly to avoid any potential disturbance during hibernation, and special bath flying zones have been designed into the event.
The event is relatively small and contained, with opening only for a few hours at a dormant time of year. We do not foresee any adverse effect on wildlife.