A Christmas event firmly locked into the festive calendar, Christmas at Kew returns for its ninth year this November, in all its illuminated glory. With pioneering new installations, the trail takes you through the UNESCO World Heritage landscape with more than a million lights, and is a colourful reminder of the vital role plants and the natural world play in our lives…
Photos: Kew Gardens
Among the new installations are the vibrant displays that illuminate the iconic Temperate and Palm Houses, as well as a collaboration with video design studio, Novak, which uses video and projection mapping to bring Kew’s archived botanical illustrations to life.
Another highlight not to miss is Spheric, a fifteen-metre-wide dome of light covered in more than 2,000 individually controlled LED pixels, which sit on a reflective water pool, so visitors can fully immerse themselves in a mirrored illusion as they cross the lake.
The event also includes much loved light installations of the past, such as the mood-boosting welcome wreath archway, the picture perfect Cathedral of Light with its thousands of twinkling fairy lights and the singing neon trees, which light up Kew’s array of heritage trees.
The 12 Days of Christmas will be brought to life with a rainbow tree running along the Syon Vista path and the Palm House finale will welcome guests with a series of projection across the historic glass house and lake, set to a memorable soundtrack of much-loved Christmas classics.
One installation, On the Wings of Freedom is a technicolour display inspired by the unique, transformative ability of butterflies, and botanical treasures from Kew’s living collections will be accentuated along the route, so you can literally see them in a different light.
There’s also Aurora, designed by sound and light artists Ithaca, which lights up 200 metres of sky above Holly Walk, which replicates the beguiling and wonderous Aurora Borealis, which sounds ambitious and sublime.
There will be a selection of food vendors offering spiced cider, waffles, mulled wine and hot chocolate should you feel like a snack or warming drink. You can also book a traditional Christmas dinner at The Botanical for even more Christmas at Kew.
Christmas at Kew 2021 is on Wednesday, November 17 until Sunday, January 9, 2022; 4pm-10pm; bookings essential; tickets from £21.50/£14/£65 adult/child/family and on sale here; Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AE; kew.org