Some towns don’t really do Christmas. I get that. Some towns can be otherwise excellent places to live––good standard of living; good transport links; good jobs––but just not Christmassy. More functional, than festive. I have no problem with that. For some towns, the only concession towards Christmas is the ceremonial replacement of the fuse in the council’s fusebox so that the solitary Christmas light, which is retained year-round, strung across the High Street in habitually forlorn darkness, can spark into brief and lacklustre light. That is completely fine.
But Bournemouth is not one of those towns.
Bournemouth’s Christmas lights are genuinely magical. The power required to keep them aglow is sufficient to create an entirely new Russian oligarch; the expense spent on the spectacle must be close to the cost of a property neighbouring Harry Redknapp on Sandbanks.
The Christmas Tree Wonderland Trail begins at the Big Wheel on the seafront and meanders through the Lower Gardens to The Square. The Victorian gardens have been transformed with myriad illuminated Christmas trees and decorations, which create a beautiful, after-dark, pedestrian experience.
What does it remind me of? Japan during cherry blossom season. There is the same sense of collective togetherness of humanity with the outdoors. It is an old-fashioned happy innocence, which is often in short supply in the modern, functional world.
Catch it if you can; open until 2 January.
© E. C. Glendenny
E. C. Glendenny fondly remembers her ghosts of Christmas past.
Check out her book of travel writing, Easy Come, Easy Go, available from Amazon.