Christmas Lights Festival 2023

Artists Commissions

‘How beautiful, peaceful and magical the garden looked with the fabulous creations! The lights were really stunning, and the perfect start to Christmas!’
December 2022

Christmas Light Festival

The Christmas Lights Festival at National Trust Trengwainton Gardens is a magical evening event where visitors stroll through the walled gardens and orchard lit by thousands of fairy lights, and encounter a series of illuminated installations and giant lanterns.

In 2022 Trengwainton worked in partnership with Tough Dough to design and deliver the illuminations created by local schools, community groups and Cornwall based artists that enchanted visitors in the evenings before Christmas.

Following on from this success, the National Trust and Tough Dough wish to expand the number of lanterns and are offering 2 artists commissions to create illuminated structures for the 2023 festival. These lanterns, themed on Trengwainton’s ‘Spirit of Place’ (details below) or Christmas will form 2 of the 13 focal points on the visitor’s route through the garden.

Prior to submitting a proposal, artists are invited to visit Trengwainton, and have a guided tour of the route through the garden with Tough Dough artists Alessandra Ausenda and John Keys.

This will be an opportunity to view where the lanterns can be sited and be inspired by the plants and ‘spirit of place’ of Trengwainton gardens.

The Christmas lights festival will be open for three weekends;

1-3 December
8-10 December
15-17 December

Visitors can book timed entry slots between 4.30- 7.00pm.

Artist Commission Details:


Artist fee: £750
To include design and make of lantern, delivery and installation of lantern in the garden.
(There will be a Tough Dough artist to assist on the installation day)
Materials: Up to £ 150

This includes waterproofing and lights.
(Tough Dough can advise and provide materials within this budget)

Key dates for commission

  • Thursday 21st September
    Expression of Interest to attend artist visit
    Please email toughdough
  • Tuesday 26th September
    10.00-11.30am – Artists site visit to Trengwainton
  • Tuesday 3rd October
    5.00pm – Artists submission deadline
  • Thursday 5th October
    Artists informed of successful submission

Christmas Lights Festival Dates: 

  • Monday 27th, Tuesday 28th November
    Installing lanterns
  • Wednesday 29th November
    Dusk – Final light check.
  • Friday 1st -Sunday 3rd December        
    Festival open to the public 4.30-7.00 pm
  • Friday 8th -Sunday 10th December
    Festival open to the public 4.30-7.00 pm
  • Friday 15th – Sunday 17th December
    Festival open to the public 4.30-7.00 pm
  • Monday 18th December, Tuesday 19th December
    Lanterns removed from garden.

For images of last year’s event

For further information on this year’s event and booking form

Trengwainton’s spirit of place


  • Set on a hillside in West Cornwall, between the moors and the sea.
  • Known for its award-winning plant collection:
    Plants from around the world.
    Some plants flowered for the first time ever in the UK here at Trengwainton.
    Specialist Trengwainton hybrids developed here.
  • Trengwainton can be translated as ‘Home of springs’ (water) or the ‘Home of spring’ (the season). There are a number of naturally occurring springs in the garden along with streams and ponds.
  • Winding wooded paths, two giant tree fern glades, sea views across to the Lizard from the Terrace, towering magnolias and rhododendrons, 10 sections of walled gardens including a productive kitchen garden which is reputedly built to the dimensions of Noah’s Ark.