Returning for its eighth year, Kew’s sell-out winter trail is back with old favourites and brand new light installations.
Stepping through the welcome wreath archway, visitors will enter a botanical world filled with seasonal cheer. The iconic Temperate House will be lit from within by a dynamic light show as a spectrum of Christmas colour envelops the glasshouse.
New this year, visitors can wander through a tunnel adorned with a canopy of starry lanterns, and further along the trail, a returning favourite – the Cathedral of Light – will twinkle with thousands of fairy lights.
Kew Gardens’ own botanical treasures will be accentuated along the route, highlighting the beauty of nature, and the importance of plants in all our lives. Heritage trees illuminated from different angles, branches interwoven with multicoloured neon swirls, a glowing pink cherry blossom walkway, and a spectacular singing Rose Garden are but a few of the features.
Proving a hit last year, the Waterfall of light will return to Kew Gardens’ Treetop Walkway, bigger and better than before, with a new overhead light show. This year’s Fire Garden will also receive a makeover, as sculptures made from wicker and willow cast shadows among the scented, flickering flames in a multi-artist collaboration.
At the final stop on the trail, the renowned Palm House finale will greet visitors with festive projections played across a giant screen of water in the centre of the lake, and across the iconic glasshouse itself, to a memorable soundtrack of Christmas classics.
To add an extra flourish to the Christmas at Kew experience, visitors can book a traditional Christmas dinner at Kew’s Botanical restaurant, or simply pick up a treat from one of our street food vendors along the route. Visitors can make for a very merry Christmas and indulge in a spiced cider, mulled wine, or hot chocolate to keep warm.
Kew says the safety and wellbeing of its visitors is paramount and it is continually monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is adhering to government advice to ensure visitor and staff safety. Safety measures will include: a one-way system on the trail; the use of additional gates for entry and exit; additional time slots to help spread the arrivals and flow of visitors; and stringent cleaning practices.
In addition, rather than a concentrated ‘catering village’ as at previous events, food stalls will be spread across the trail. If COVID-19 developments require cancellations, visitors can re-book their slot or get a full refund.
Sandra Botterell, director of marketing and commercial enterprise at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, says: “In a year that has been challenging for many, we are delighted to host Christmas at Kew, and have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that it will be a safe event for all. I am sure you will agree that we could all do with a bit of festive cheer, and I am confident that a wander through our spectacular Gardens, illuminated by over one million lights, will bring joy to our visitors this winter.”