VISITORS have expressed their disappointment with a lantern festival which they said was "nothing like we had been led to believe it would be."

A lantern festival held at Witley Court and Gardens in Great Witley last week was heavily criticised by some customers, who felt that the event did not live up to the billing.

They believe that they were misled by website previews, for the first lantern festival at the English Heritage site.

Abby Peirce, one of the customers, said: "I have counted over 60 negative comments on Facebook alone. It really wasn't anything like a lantern festival.

"We had looked forward to this for weeks, and it was nothing like we had been led to believe it would be.

"In reality, there were battery operated tealights in jars, gold fairy lights along the grass, bridge and pathways, and a few paper lanterns in the bushes along the lake.

"The trees in their pictures that were used to promote the event were all lit up in an array of bright colours, and at the very least that should have been what was provided. I want a refund.”

Linda Cribbes added: "I was a regular visitor as a child and when I saw the lantern festival advertised I thought it would be a wonderful outing.

"I took 3 days off work, travelled up from Somerset, booked tickets for my parents, myself, my friend and her two young children.

"This was going to be a lovely night. There was a few strings of fairy lights and some tea lights in jars. I will be expecting a full refund."

The event, which took place over four days from Thursday to Sunday last weekend, was billed as the chance to "experience a magical evening," costing £10 per person.

The description said: "Before setting off down a glittering trail towards the lake and woodlands, younger visitors are given the chance to make their own lantern to take with them.

"Have your camera at the ready as you discover the ruins of the great house all aglow, before finding Witley's ornate gardens and fountains glimmering with festive lights."

Other customers had praise for the event however.

Cath Pedwell said: “I went to the lantern festival at Witley Court and absolutely loved it. It was so magical because it wasn’t overly commercial and I would say one of the best Christmas events I’ve been to for a while.”

Gail Harrison added: “I would just like to say what a magical evening we enjoyed at Witley Court lantern festival on Sunday night.

“It was really lovely to just enjoy such a beautiful sight of Witley at night.

“The trail of lights were beautifully understated and in keeping with the period of the architecture.”

Ella Harrison, events manager at Witley Court, said: “We are sorry that some people were disappointed with our lantern festival.

“On opening night, the really difficult, freezing weather conditions meant that some elements that night weren’t quite what we’d hoped for.

“Our team worked very hard to rectify those issues and we were heartened to hear that many people really enjoyed their evening.

“This was the first year that we’ve held the event and obviously, there have been some valuable lessons learnt.”