Christmas at Kew

It’s the season to sparkle at Kew Gardens’ annual festive light-and-music extravaganza, complete with giant baubles, bubble machines and loads and loads and loads of fairy lights!

Winter wonderlands seem to be popping up all over the place these days, as attractions up and down the country take advantage of the festive season to pull in evening visitors with lights, music and (of course) mulled wine. Few, however, are quite as magical as Kew Gardens’ annual Christmas celebration, now into its fifth year.

Christmas at Kew features its longest winter trail yet, lined with light-and-sound-installations by a number of UK and French artists. Some of these take advantage of Kew’s natural beauty, with living trees dramatically lit or decked with twinkling fairy lights; others simply take their inspiration from the plant kingdom, such as a grove of larger-than-life, glowing peonies.

There’s also an 11-metre-high Christmas tree constructed from 360 wooden sledges, an avenue of bubble machines, a fire garden of flickering flame sculptures and a twinkling tunnel of fairy lights – the latter complete with mistletoe, naturally. The welcome arch alone contains around 4,000 baubles, and the total number of lights clocks in at around one million.

Along the way there is also plenty of (tasteful) Christmas music, Victorian fairground rides, a Santa show for the little ones and loads of places to splash your cash on festive food and drink. The finale, on the lake in front of Kew’s stunning Palm House, makes use of the water fountains to create a shimmering show of laser-light projections set to classic Christmas tracks.

For those who prefer their nature a bit more, well, au naturel, a daytime trip to Kew Gardens can’t be beaten. But for those who like a bit of a sparkle with the season, Christmas at Kew is a colourful crowd-pleaser – and as enchanting a spot to enjoy a mulled wine as anywhere in London this season.

Christmas at Kew is open from 5pm until 10pm, Wednesdays to Sundays (and every day over the school holidays) until 1 January. Book your timeslot online on the Kew website.