This winter, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew will transform into an enchanted wonderland as the much anticipated Christmas at Kew returns once again. After the staggering success of the last four years, Kew has once again teamed up with entertainment promoter Raymond Gubbay Ltd to create a brand new illuminated trail, featuring over one million twinkling lights.
As they embark on the trail, visitors can expect a magical world that will fill hearts with seasonal cheer. The festive adventure will begin with a path lit by hundreds of illuminated globes winding through glittering trees festooned with silvery shards of light, snowflakes and stars. Children and adults alike will delight at the sight of an enormous glowing Sledge Tree constructed from over 360 wooden Santa’s sledges. As they continue, families will be greeted by the enthralling sound of a chorus of Singing Trees as they head towards one of Kew’s most stunning attractions, its glistening lake. Here, visitors will witness an ethereal spectacle of light and sound with the lake’s two islands slowly coming to life as angelic voices call and respond across the water. Strolling over the famous ‘Sackler Crossing’ bridge, transformed through animated light, they will also marvel at the beauty of the sparkling reflections shimmering just beneath the water’s surface.
The trail will feature many brand new and utterly unique installations by a range of artists; an ephemeral ultraviolet walkway of thousands of continuously moving bubbles, clusters of trees wrapped in ever-changing ribbons of light, and a majestic weeping beech tree positively dripping with sparkling lights. Visitors will get the chance to warm up in the heat of the Fire Garden which will this year form a striking corridor of intricate pulsing fire sculptures and rotating lantern-lit Christmas trees. An installation from French art studio TILT, will form an enchanted promenade of hundreds of huge glowing peonies, giant grasses and coloured reeds.
Along the trail, there will be the chance to stop for delicious roasted chestnuts, mulled cider and other tasty offerings, while kids will be thrilled at the chance to toast their own marshmallows.
The Great Broad Walk Borders, the world’s longest double herbaceous border, will for the first time form part of the trail. The stroll along the borders will culminate in a host of giant trees, made from thousands of colourful, sparkling flowers complete with holographic petals, from creative studio PITAYA.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas at Kew without the show-stopping Palm House finale. The pond and magnificent glasshouse will spring to life with an explosion of colourful criss-crossing laser beams, jumping jets of light, and new for 2017, kaleidoscopic projections playing across a giant water screen.
Youngsters will delight in spotting Santa and his elves performing along the trail, and White Peaks will once again become a festive fairground with a Victorian carousel and helter-skelter rides for the little ones. As the winter trail comes to an end, visitors will be greeted by the scent of mulled wine, mince pies and other festive foods from a variety of enticing stalls at Victoria Plaza.
Sandra Botterell, director of marketing and commercial enterprise said: “Now in its fifth year, Christmas at Kew has become an integral part of the London festive calendar. It’s not often that you get to explore a world famous botanic garden after dark, lit up by a never ending sea of twinkling lights. This year’s night-time extravaganza will capture the magic of previous years, but will also offer a unique experience in itself, with a host of brand new breath-taking displays. I cannot wait to stroll over the Sackler Crossing bridge, which spans Kew’s glorious lake, surrounded by a dazzling underwater show of sparkling lights and reflections.”