It’s official Kew is the prettiest and most festive after dark. West London’s Botanical Kew Gardens glows with magical illuminations across the winter months. Kew hosts a mile-long moonlit walk that leads visitors through the Tunnel of Lights, a flickering Fire Garden and giant kaleidoscopic projections. It’s officially a must-see if you’re in London at Christmas time!
The adventure begins with a scenic trail leading to trail Moon Over the Vista. Deep crowds gathered all waiting in anticipation. Sphere shaped balls placed precariously in lines along the grass light up in harmony with the choral sound of Carol of the Bells playing out. Colours flash before your eyes, leaving you utterly mesmerised. Such a simple idea, executed in an outstanding manner that leaves you truly enchanted.
Past the enormous shimmering Sledgetree, made of more than 360 wooden Santa’s sledges and into the Singing Trees, you feel as if you are in Alice in Wonderland. Thick and thin tree trunks wrapped in flashing LED lights, project a variety of vocal harmonies which alter and develop as you walk through.
Trees are dripped in bright white lights and stars dangle from branches, gently blowing in the winter wind. The bridge is transformed with a soft, warm glow of colour. Out in the water, hues of red and yellow glistened across the lake, with a full underwater display of lights on show and the ethereal sound of angelic voices dancing in the darkness.
Chimes echo in the distance as the distinct smell of a Christmas fire lures you past the Weeping beech. A path of life-size handmade Christmas tree's sway in the cool night’s breeze with rows of burning flames leading you through to the Ice Thorns.
Little ones can catch a glimpse of Santa and his elves performing a short pantomime along the trail, and enjoy a ride on the Victorian carousel and helter-skelter. There’s also plenty of traditional Christmas treats and warming winter drinks to be enjoyed in this magical atmosphere. With mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, to a pick and mix sweet truck. There's even the chance to discover an ephemeral walkway of giant bubbles leading you towards the prosecco! Something for all the family would be the Marshmallowist hut, where you can toast smores on a roaring open fire or try more of the usual flavours with their giant hand cut marshmallows.
The trail ends with an explosion of laser beams and jumping jets of lights, with the spectacular light, music and water display in front of the iconic Palm House. If you fancy a tipple or a bite to eat there’s food and drink stalls making it the perfect way to end such a fantastic event.
Nearest tube: Richmond
Nearest overground: Kew Gardens
When: 22nd Nov - 1st January 2018
Upcoming events: The beautiful 'Orchid Festival' (February 10th - March 11th 2018) allows you to immerse yourself in a celebration of Thailand’s vibrant plant life, in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.
Official Kew Gardens Site