KENNETT SQUARE PA – The Christmas displays at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square are said to be among the most visited holiday sites across Pennsylvania. During 2022 alone, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal, they attracted about 572,000 visitors. This year’s exhibition of “A Longwood Christmas” opened in mid-November, and is now ablaze with both natural and digitally lighted color.
On Monday (Nov. 27), its crowd of generally silent and awe-struck guests included two Travels With The Post photographers on “A Post Road Trip.”
Not all 1,100 acres of the botanical gardens, created from the personal estate of Pierre S. du Pont, are part of A Longwood Christmas. But a significant portion of what the public can see – its heated and well-lit Conservatory (below), the Peirce-du Pont house, its fabled outdoor fountains, and many other stopping points – are decorated for the season. The installation takes employees about a week to complete.
The eyes of those who attend brighten with a new view at nearly every turn of a path. They take in not only the well-tended and manicured (at left) beauty that nature offers, but interactive displays that interest adults and children too.
- Fire pits blaze to provide outdoor warmth when weather permits.
- The Garden Railway keeps kids entranced as several model trains weave in and out of tunnels and across miniature hillsides. So too does the chance to explore three tree houses (see one below).
- Sprays of water from the gardens’ open air theater, accompanied by music, and lighting at its outdoor main and Italian Water gardens, and Rose Arbor, keep people outdoors despite any intensity of cold temperatures.
- Snack shops, cafes, and restaurants operate on site, some with gourmet menu items.
Things to know if you go
Travels With The Post last visited Longwood Gardens on Monday. Getting there from Pottstown involves a slightly less than an hour’s drive covering about 34 miles. It can be reached by car using Routes 100, 202, and 1.
The drive may take longer when traffic congestion nearing the gardens is at its peak. That’s reported to usually be between Thursdays at noon and Sundays before 4 p.m. If using a GPS system, the destination is 1001 Longwood Rd, Kennett Square PA. Parking at the gardens is free.
The gardens are open most days from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Reservations for the show are required for specific days and times. Because tickets are in high demand during the holiday, admission fees for A Longwood Christmas are slightly higher than the cost of general admission during the rest of the year. An estimated cost for some families of two adults, and two children between the ages of 5 and 18, could run to about $92.
However, families who participate in Pennsylvania’s ACCESS program, and members of the national Museums For All initiative, will pay only $2 to $5 per person admission when they show their cards with identification. Other discounts are available for seniors age 62 and older, college students, and active or retired U.S. Military or U.S. veterans; those savings can make the visit more affordable.
A thorough stroll through the gardens to see everything A Longwood Christmas has to offer should involve between 3 and 4 hours, according to its Frequently Asked Questions webpage. If you’re considering the trip, the page is highly recommended reading.
All photos by Travels With The Post
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Travels With The Post periodically publishes stories about places its staff has visited and things they’ve experienced while there. This is the 15th installment in the series. Read others here.