Families have branded a village's Christmas event a "shambles" after queuing in traffic only to be told there were no parking spaces left.
Visitors to the Christmas Evening in Beaulieu, Hampshire, were promised the event would "herald the start of the festive season".
But many were met with brake lights rather than fairy lights amid scenes of "chaos" and "horrific traffic".
Organisers of the event apologised and blamed "high demand".
Beaulieu Motor Museum, which provided some free parking, said it would be discussing future arrangements with village businesses.
Nicky Smith and Kate Priest described the Victorian-themed event as a "shambles" on the event page on Facebook.
If thinking of heading to the Victorian Christmas Evening at Beaulieu or just passing through please be prepared for severe traffic congestion in the area, of course it’s easily navigated by bicycle! 😉 #ChooseCycling #NewForest pic.twitter.com/dLdWYvZOgi— New Forest Cyclist (@forestcyclist) November 17, 2018
Kelly Jackson said she was "met by 40 minutes of traffic to get to a closed car park, no alternative parking, and then a 45 minute drive through the [New] Forest to loop back around to Southampton, to avoid sitting in the equally horrific traffic coming the other way".
Liane Jeffries commented: "Over 1.5hrs queuing to be told at 5.30 that [there were] absolutely no spaces and no alternatives."
Emily Horton said: "Cannot believe the organisers did not expect the numbers arriving when 10k were 'interested' in the event [on the Facebook page]."
Organiser Angy Lewis said: "We hardly advertised the event, relying on word of mouth".
She said it was previously advertised on Facebook "with a much lower response".
"We apologise to families who were unable to attend due to the huge demand," she added.
However, others praised the organisers for a "lovely" evening.
"We did queue in the car for a while, but that is to be expected, it is a popular event and the village is very small," David Cole said.
A Beaulieu Motor Museum spokesman said: "We hired lights and external marshals to help with parking and, for safety reasons, were unable to extend parking to the unlit fields when many people arrived early for the start of the village evening."