Longwood wins best holiday lights in U.S. for 4th straight time

Betsy Price Culture, Headlines


Longwood Gardens’ fern floor in the conservatory reflects the cool side of its Fire and Ice theme. Photo by Hank Davis


It might be a no-duh moment for a lot of people in the Mid-Atlantic, but Longwood Gardens has just been named the country’s best holiday lights display in a botanical garden for the fourth year running.

Its Longwood Christmas display, with a theme this year of Fire & Ice, was chose from 20 gardens in a contest sponsored by USA TODAY’s 2021 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

“To win this national recognition is so rewarding for our entire team of staff and volunteers who plan and work tirelessly all year long to create our ‘A Longwood Christmas’ light display,” said Longwood CEO Paul Redman in a press release. “Our thanks and appreciation to all who supported and voted for our Gardens.”

The exhibit features more than 500,000 outdoor lights and fountains that dance to holiday classics, as well as lights and displays in the Conservatory.

In addition to the last four years, Longwood also was named best botanical garden in 2014, 2016 and 2018 Longwood.

But people in the area know that. Timed tickets routinely sell out and now, and from the day the Christmas display opens, it’s widely featured on all forms of social media by its visitors. Sales this year were limited by COVID-19, and most night times are gone from now through the week after Christmas.

Rounding out the top five in the 2021 contest were Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia; Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina; Gardens Aglow at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine, and Illuminations at Botanica Wichita in Wichita, Kansas.

Tickets are available at longwoodgardens.org.


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