Light up your trip!
It’s that time of year again – a time for gloves and scarves, hot chocolate and mulled wine, and the return of striking winter walks on the fringe of the city.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is beautiful in any season, but to see it at its most spectacular, visit during Christmas at Kew. Each year, a mile-long trail that winds around the gardens is lit up with more than a million lights every evening. Expect a magical world of singing trees, ribbons of light, giant baubles and a flickering fire garden.
Along the way you can roast chestnuts on a fire and little ones can meet Father Christmas in his grotto. The finale – a 20-minute light and laser show across the lake in front of Palm House – will be the highlight of your trip.
Nick Thompson, Kew’s commercial events manager, says: ‘This year’s new route has an array of light and sound installations. The Great Broad Walk Borders – the world’s longest double herbaceous border – will form part of the trail for the first time with a host of giant trees lining the promenade, made from thousands of colourful, sparkling flowers. Also new this year will be an ethereal spectacle of light and sound spanning Kew’s lake, with the lake’s two islands coming to life as angelic voices call and respond across the water.’
The Enchanted Woodland trail at Syon Park runs around a lake in the grounds of Syon House. As well as illuminated fountains and statues, expect to see displays of flashing lights, spotlights lighting up trees and a lawn of twinkling fairylights. The finale sees the Great Conservatory glowing with lasers and flying stars.
Magical Lantern Festivalat Chiswick House & Gardens returns for a second year with a new range of illuminated lanterns and sculptures. Last year saw a Chinese dragon, a pat of flamingos and a group, or dazzle, of zebras, some of which appeared to float on water. This year there will be a new range of lantern sculptures, including ones of Father Christmas and his reindeers, and a giant lantern recreation of an ancient city from China’s Song Dynasty. Just like the zebras, no doubt you’ll find them all dazzling.
By Sarah Riches