THE Christmas countdown starts later this month as a Georgian gem is illuminated for the festive season.

Gibside, the National Trust’s historic hall and parkland estate, in the Derwent Valley, launches a glittering new Illuminated Trail, to run from November 26 through to January 2.

The expansive grounds are to transform into a winter wonderland.

Trees will be interwoven with neon, colourful strings will stretch between towering canopies, while visitors should listen out for the ‘singing’ trees, and marvel at larger-than-life illuminated crystals.

All will be choreographed to a soundtrack of much-loved seasonal music.

New features of the trail this year will be a Christmas Cathedral, showered in light as visitors walk under the tall arches made of a thousand pea lights, plus a neon tree, allowing time for a moment of quiet reflection, and tree stars, shimmering among the foliage.

Independent street food vendors will provide tasty treats, including toasted marshmallows, a spiced winter warmer or hot chocolate.

Christmas at Gibside is a joint attraction, seeing the National Trust working in conjunction with Sony Music.The trail is devised by arts group Culture Creative.

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