Christmas light trails are now a firm favourite for Londoners, but it's only 10 years since Kew Gardens first made the tradition part of the seasonal calendar.

This year, there are illuminations at Kenwood in Hampstead and Crystal Palace among others, but as the UNESCO world heritage site unveiled its tenth stunning installations on Tuesday (November 15) it was clearly bidding to be the original and best.

Starting with selfie-worthy giant baubles, the 2.7 km trail winds around the paths of the Royal Botanic Gardens, ending with the grand finale of music, fountains, puffs of fire, and projections against the iconic palm house.The Resident: The Fire Garden at Kew Gardens Christmas trailThe Fire Garden at Kew Gardens Christmas trail (Image: Richard Haughton/RBG Kew)

There are plenty of stops for hot chocolate and mulled wine between the bespoke installations - each accompanied by a Christmas tune.

It turns out it's not too soon to hear Walking in the Air from The Snowman as your eyes are drawn upwards in wonder to dry ice swirling through overhead lasers. The Twelve Days of Christmas are cutely evoked with pathside woven willow figures; and Oh Holy Night swells around you as curtains of lights illuminate a glade of trees.

Some installations are upbeat; a brightly coloured Christmas tree to the strains of Sinatra. Some are contemplative and beautiful; a shower of luminous red poppies caught in branches, frosted floating feathers, or a flock of glowing peace doves.The Resident: 'Floraison' one of the light installations at Kew'Floraison' one of the light installations at Kew (Image: Rikard Osterlund)

We paused mid-way for a ride on the 'gallopers' Carousel and a Helter Skelter at the traditional funfair, took a photo with Santa, hung a wish for the planet on a tree, and grabbed some street food and hot drinks.

Organisers claim there are well over a million twinkling lights on a trail that makes a virtue of Kew's spectacular scenery and varied flora - one veteran tree is lit up scarlet; animated plants and animals are projected onto Holly Walk, and ‘Illusion Hole’ sees a geometric pattern of light projected onto the Lake.

By the time you have walked through the 'Christmas Cathedral' and sungalong to 'Let It Go' from Frozen with percussive fountains you will be heading home happy.The Resident: The Cathedral of Light at Kew GardensThe Cathedral of Light at Kew Gardens (Image: RBG Kew)

This year visitors can book a traditional Christmas dinner at The Botanical Brasserie or just bag a ticket to this festive staple.

Christmas at Kew runs until January 8. 

Address: Richmond, TW9 3AF