Perhaps I’ve been living in a bubble but it feels like Christmas hasn’t truly come out of its shell yet.
Sure, it’s beginning to pick up but I’ve still not heard any Mariah Carey on the radio and as you get older it is easier to become a bit of a Scrooge.
But with how popular the Christmas at Bedgebury light trail in Goudhurst is, where better to try and kick-start the Christmas spirit?
Into its sixth year now, the event is fast becoming a favourite for thousands around Kent and as I stood waiting to be let in, I was genuinely keen to see what all the fuss was about.
I’m no stranger to either light trails or Bedgebury National Pinetum – which itself is an awe-inspiring, stunning place to visit – but the scale of the event is mind-boggling.
This is a no-expense-spared type of place, with artists far and wide coming together to put on a show which can appeal to anyone.
The vibe varies around the grounds, with the organisers doing a wonderful job of creating an atmospheric environment.
Installations go from being bouncy and cheery, with Michael Buble wishing you a holly-jolly Christmas, to being some of the most carefully considered pieces of art designed to completely take your breath away.
The trail is not all just that commercial Christmas which saw Coca-Cola somehow turn the holiday from green into red, it plays on multiple versions of what this time of year means to people.
Take the time to admire the work – with a walk around the route generally lasting 90 minutes – and you’ll find it’s more than “just lights”.
I found myself enamoured by one piece, Aurora, which was a series of lights hanging above your head creating a long corridor of visual delight.
Waves of green, blue, red and white float over you, demanding you stand there slightly gormless to admire the way they dance.
The beauty of light is that it comes in varying forms, and the flickering of the flames at another exhibition was hypnotic, as was the On The Tide display which made good use of a pond along the trail.
And, as is always the case at these sorts of events, at the heart of it all are the people who contribute to the show.
The staff at the park were kind, helpful and offered a smile to every single person who walked their way.
There was a good amount of food and drink choices to choose from too.
I sampled the deluxe smores hot chocolate from the Thirsty Farrier, a mobile cocktail bar operated by two brothers, which helped offer a tasty solution to fight off the cold.
Even the resident Santa Claus got in on the action, taking in a hot beverage as he watched over the marshmallow toasting pit.
Some will say this is far too early to begin the festivities – November’s nowhere near over yet and I’d be inclined to agree with you – but it’s hard not to be taken to a happier place when walking around.
I won’t directly name rivals of Bedgebury’s lights trail – all of whom are trying to do the best they can under increasingly challenging circumstances.
But I will say this. Bedgebury is the place to beat this year.
Bosses at Sony Music, the organisers of the attraction, have often declared they wish to create “precious” memories – long may that continue.
The Christmas at Bedgebury trail is open from Friday, November 17 to New Year’s Eve. You can book your time slot online here.
Tickets prices for adults vary from £24 to £19 depending on what time you visit, and £17 to £13 for children.