Weihnachts-Wunderwelt Castle Benrath

Weihnachts-Wunderwelt (2023)

21.50 / 24 EUR


3.5/5 Pros

  • Beautiful light installation
  • Nice atmosphere in the park of Benrath Castle Cons

  • Outside Christmas market only open on weekends
  • A lot more potential than in fact used
  • Questionable marketing
  • Firs part much weaker

Chinese lantern shows and other illuminations have become more and more popular in Europe during the recent winter seasons. In 20023, Culture Creative, a U.K. based company specialized on illumination trails, brought their light art to Germany for the first time. Themed as Weihnachts-Wunderwelt (“Christmas Wonder World”), they illuminate Benrath Castle (Schloss Benrath) in Dusseldorf from November 2023 until early 2024. My wife and I had a visit.

This posting comes with 168 major size pictures as part of the travel gallery.


Weihnachts-Wunderwelt – Location & Admission

Schloss Benrath / Benrath Castle is a castle with a large park in the South of Dusseldorf. You enter the Weihnachts-Wunderwelt through a gate Northwest of the castle. Going there by car is a bit of tricky, there are limited parking facilities including a parking garage. The much better option is public transport, e.g. taking the underground train to Urdenbacher Allee or Schloss Benrath (lines U71, U83) or use regional rail to Dusseldorf-Benrath station. On Christmas weekends, there is also a Christmas market in front of the castle, which might lead to a nicer visit – but more traffic in the area.

Weihnachts-Wunderwelt opened on 17th November 2023 and will run until 1st January 2024. There is no opening on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. You can pre-book a ticket with a time slot. Depending on the workday, the adult ticket is 21.50 or 24 EUR. A flexible ticket to grant you admission at any time you like is 30 EUR. The visit is a guided route in one direction, you can take as much time as you like. As it obviously requires darkness, opening hours are 17:00 to 22:00.

In contrast to my typical travel reviews, my wife and I received free admission to the attraction. This did not influence my judgement. 


Weihnachts-Wunderwelt – The Visit

The visit is practically a one way round trip. The different installations are named and good spots for taking a selfie are marked. However, in some cases, the signs might not be enough. For example on the Ice Tree installation, you get the unique selfie result with the camera facing upwards having the illuminated trees as a background. This does not seem to be too obvious for many visitors. You you are walking along some illuminations on the trees and the ground first.

The illumination is really nice, but already the first steps illustrate why the attraction is currently failing in public reviews: first of all, the people hurry through the exhibition. I read reviews that people made it in 20 to 25 minutes. Of course, I took some time for photography, but my wife and I stayed over 90 minutes in there. You need to explore and enjoy the light installments. Maybe, Generation TikTok is just not that much capable of doing these things any more. Secondly, and that’s rather a marketing thing: I guess that people rather expect a Christmas market-alike thing. Especially in the first part of your visit, there is hardly any Christmas-related exhibition.


The Wunderwelt gets better and better

You also have to say that the first stations of your visit simply don’t work as well as others you visit later. The colored light sticks on the first pictures below give a nice atmosphere, but the first real highlight is the Nutcracker installation, in which an alley of trees is changing lights in line with music played there. The loop there as such is five minutes – you hardly see anyone staying for so long. The next installation with flower-alike lights on the Spiegelweiher is a beauty and could be a highlight of the visit, Some more of the lights – and maybe the possibility to see it from another perspective (so that you have the castle in the background) could be an amazing upgrade.

After having some food (see below), you finally come to the best part of the visit. First you stroll along another alley of trees, beautifully illuminated in different colors. The most impressing section is definitely the Christmas Cathedral you walk through and which comes with a great opportunity to take pictures. The virtual dome is illuminated by thoughts of small lights. It is simply amazing. From there, you walk through another colored alley with lanterns which feel to contain fireflies additionally lead to light effects. Real fire torches illuminating one side of Benrath Castle are another amazing and catching part of the visit, which is at that point then also coming to an end.



Weihnachts-Wunderwelt – Services

There are two food spots during the visit: close to the Nutcracker exhibit, you can have mulled wine and traditional German Nussecken pastries, while there is a major food area with flatbread, sausage and waffles before you enter the cathedral installation. I would say the prices are moderate based on 2023 pricing – they might have been rather high just a few years ago. The staff around was very friendly and helpful.

A very weird thing about the Weihnachts-Wunderwelt is that the territory it is held in is not completely closed. There are some routes (without or with very little light installation) along which the organizers have to allow people to do their evening walk or exercise. Of course, this leads to the additional need of security staff and finally increases the admission – the likely most sensitive topic when it comes to finally rating the attraction.


Weihnachts-Wunderwelt – The Gallery

Here are 168 major size pictures of the show. They are located in the travel gallery:


Weihnachts-Wunderwelt – My View

I’m not sure if you should sell that attraction as a Christmas one. The Weihnachts-Wunderwelt is in fact rather a light arts exhibition. The place should rather focus to attract arts people, also the Instagram community. Even though some of the spots have significant potential for an upgrade, it is actually a nice experience and leads to some cool memories. The price is high, but if you think of all the staff and energy you need and of course the setup itself, it is not too unrealistic. I liked it, even though I feel that you can do much better.


Christmas-related Attractions

Here are all my Travel postings, which are related to Christmas: in Dusseldorf

Here are all my postings about Dusseldorf:

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