Seven new displays as the UK’s original festive lights trail returns to Kew Gardens, November 15th to January 7th
Brand-new installations will showcase Kew Gardens in a whole new light, as the UK’s original festive light trail returns to the world-famous botanic gardens in London this November.
Since the inaugural Christmas at Kew trail in 2013, this unique event has paved the way for festive displays across the country. This year’s trail is a celebration of nature by night, bringing Kew’s incredible natural architecture to life. Visitors can expect the return of seasonal favourites alongside immersive new installations, seven of which are making their UK debut. Not to be missed, Christmas at Kew is enchanting seasonal experience for everyone to enjoy.
New installations for 2023
Bespoke new installations include Lili by TILT, a series of abstract, illuminated flowers that stand at almost three metres tall, towering over visitors. ArtAV return with Trapezoid, one of the longest light tunnels to ever feature at Christmas at Kew, and along Camellia Walk over 400 cascading lights are suspended from the tree canopy, set against an assortment of neon backdrops.
Elsewhere, the Hive – a stunning piece of contemporary artwork at Kew that recreates life inside a beehive – will feature in the trail for the first time. With its 1,000 LED lights aglow and an accompanying musical score, see this unique structure like never before as twilight descends across Kew Gardens.
Creative studio Pitaya return to Kew with Spark Ballet, 24 lanterns filled with subtly sparkling lights that appear to ‘dance’, and candles. This brand-new commission sees one hundred candles suspended in the air, magically appearing to float above visitors’ heads. The flickering flames will illuminate tree-lined passageways to create an enchanting festive atmosphere.
With many of Kew’s 12,000 trees and other botanical treasures being accentuated along the route, visitors can wander beneath colourful canopies and bushes draped in seasonal sparkle, experiencing nature from a new perspective whilst treasuring the essential role that plants play in all our lives.
Other returning favourites include Kew’s famous Christmas Cathedral, a twinkling tunnel of light inspired by arched church windows, and a newly designed Fire Garden. Over 300 candles will line the path to the Temperate House, the oldest Victorian glasshouse in the world, as flame bulbs create the illusion that this cathedral of glass is glowing from within.
Elsewhere, visitors will be entranced as a series of breath-taking light displays dance across the surface of Kew’s iconic Palm House, and LED lights ‘float’ on the surface of the adjacent lake. This grand finale is set to a memorable playlist of much-loved Christmas classics, guaranteed to stir sentimental memories or provide a soundtrack for new traditions.
To add an extra touch of magic to the Christmas at Kew experience, visitors can book a delicious traditional Christmas dinner at The Botanical Brasserie. Indulge in celeriac and truffle soup, Caramelized shallot, beetroot and mushroom wellington or turkey ballotine stuffed with sausage meat, washed down by a warming glass of mulled wine. Kids favourites can be found at the Family Kitchen & Shop, and tasty treats from a selection of independent street food vendors are available along the route. Treat yourself to loaded hash browns, spiced cider, waffles or hot chocolate.
Sandra Botterell, Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprise at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said: “Christmas at Kew is a magical celebration of Kew’s natural landscape, offering sparkle and festivities during the winter months. With an incredible range of brand-new installations and some returning favourites, this year’s trail is guaranteed to be a seasonal spectacle like no other.”
At Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex, Glow Wild celebrates a milestone 10 years. Bringing festive magic and wonder to the South East with 10 new installations and myriad hand-crafted lanterns, this winter lantern trail is not to be missed.
Tickets for Christmas at Kew and Glow Wild are available to purchase now at: Royal Botanic Gardens