Christmas at Kew: As twilight falls...the magic begins... Kew opens after dark, for the first time this festive season
28 November 2013 – 4 January 2014
This festive season Kew Gardens has teamed up with entertainment promoter Raymond Gubbay to open its gates after dark and present an enchanted landscape full of light, sound and colour, with an illuminated trail highlighting the magic of the Arboretum and Kew’s beautiful wintry landscape.
Come and celebrate not only the mystery of Kew after dark, but also our boutique Christmas village with its traditional stalls, festive music, tempting treats and vintage rides, making a visit to Kew the perfect festive day or night out.
Adam Farrar, Kew’s Head of Venue Hire and Events says, “This year we are offering visitors the unique opportunity to wrap up warm and wander through Kew’s Arboretum after hours. You may have seen Kew in glorious summer bloom, but you have never seen it glow in the dark. An exquisite illuminated trail will provide a magical winter experience and a completely different way to see the Kew landscape.”
Kew after dark...the trees will light your way
Every Thursday to Sunday from 28 November to 23 December, but open every night from 26 December to 4 January*
This extraordinary experience of Kew after hours is a must for all the family with a captivating show of lights, sound and landscape for everyone to enjoy. A one mile illuminated trail will take you through Kew’s unique tree collections encountering some of its most striking specimens, lit to highlight the simple structural beauty of deciduous trees in winter.
From the Christmas village at Victoria Gate make your way to the Mediterranean Garden. You’ll find yourself strolling over stony paths through an intimate grove of Cork Oaks, Stone Pines and Italian Cypresses, conjuring up warmer climes in contrast to our cool winter. Here the sounds of the Mediterranean drift through the Gardens, and magical patterned lanterns light the way.
At the King William’s Temple folly you meet for the first time some curious botanists who begin to explain the ordering principles of geometry, with passing reference to the scholars of the classical age, the Islamic empires and the European Renaissance.
The shimmering lakeside beckons, with reflections playing across the water at the Sackler Crossing. After leaving the Sackler Crossing behind, enter the tranquil Bamboo Garden and become immersed in a wintery atmosphere of subtly shifting projections, which reflect eastern geometric traditions, shapes and growth patterns of bamboo.
At the half way point, there’s a secret cluster of beech trees with buttons to press and sounds to create – a chance for you and your family to play with light and sound – as well as enjoy a welcome hot drink and snack.
At the next clearing a wonderful scent heralds the garden of fire. Hundreds of torches create a huge circle of fire in the awe-inspiring shape of a Mandala – a spiritual symbol in Hinduism representing the universe. The medium of fire also reflects the flame-coloured beauty of the azaleas and rhododendrons usually display in this section of the Gardens in summer.
The Waterlily House is the next stop on the trail. Here a giant lotus flower hangs above a shimmering pool, casting mesmerising shadows in the still waters beneath. Take a moment to set your seasonal wishes afloat on the water before you leave.
As you make your way back to Victoria Gate and the bustling Christmas Village, the full impact of the illuminated Palm House and the lakeside unfolds, brought to life by a continuous light and soundscape composition.
The design team behind this creative lighting display, which takes its inspiration from Kew’s vast landscape and history, is Culture Creative, who have previously worked with English Heritage, the National Trust, Forestry Commission, and the National Trust for Scotland.
Boutique Christmas village... The cream of London’s arts and crafts...
Open to the public from 4.30pm to 10pm each evening when the illuminated trail is open. The Christmas village features traditional stalls, festive music, tempting treats and vintage rides.
Through a unique collaboration with We Make London and local craft traders, the Christmas village housed in traditional wooden chalets, will host a selection of traders representing London’s thriving and creative market scene. We Make London will have a special pop-up Christmas boutique, selling distinctive works by a range of designers.
In addition the Kew shop at Victoria Gate will be open. We will have all the fabulous Christmas gifts you have to come to expect when shopping with us – from quirky ceramics, our bestselling food ranges, to our beautiful Nostalgia range and unusual gifts, such as an eco cardboard radio.
Our Christmas ranges will also be available to buy at www.kew.org/shop
Tempting treats for foodies will be sourced by Peyton and Byrne from the best artisan food producers in the country. To keep you warm under the stars, tuck into special recipe sausages and roasted Norfolk turkey in sourdough buns topped with caramelised onions, as well as tasty options for vegetarians.
If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to try the waffles served with hot cherry sauce or Yule log ice cream. Cup your hands round some warm spiced cider, mulled wine or a hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and Christmas crumble bits or go traditional and pick up some spiced roast chestnuts, cinnamon toffee apples or gingerbread.
Also don’t forget the journey home, grab treats to take away, such as boozy Christmas fudge or dark chocolate dipped honeycomb, plus so much more.
Santa’s Wooodland Grotto...
Although it’s a really busy time of year for him, Santa and his elves will be heading straight to Kew Gardens from late November.
Santa’s Woodland grotto, is located within the Christmas village and will be open from 4.30 – 8.30pm each evening and tickets will be priced at £4 a child, including a gift.
Also don’t miss the Victorian carousel and other vintage rides complete with carols and seasonal music to put you in a fabulously festive mood.
Daytime Christmas activities at Kew...
Please check the Kew website www.kew.org/Christmas for dates and times for Santa’s Grotto and Christmas village
For those who will be visiting Kew in daylight hours why not bring your little ones along to meet Father Christmas in his daytime grotto in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Following a visit with Santa, let the kids take a spin on the vintage carousel and other rides at Victoria Gate. Browse the Kew shop and buy those unique and special Christmas presents.
Throughout the festive season daily walks and talks will be led by Kew’s volunteer guides, taking in the seasonal wintry highlights on offer.
Please visit www.kew.org/christmas for more information.
For more information please contact the RBG Kew Press Office on 020 8332 5607 or email email@example.com
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For more information about Culture Creative please see their website http://www.culturecreative.co.uk
Christmas at Kew admission:
• Evening ticket: Adults £12.50, Children £8.00 and Family tickets £38 (2 adults and 2 children 5 – 16). Under 5’s go free.
• Opens at 4.45pm - on the dates below:
28 November – 1 December 2013
5 December – 8 December 2013
12 December – 15 December 2013
19 December – 23 December 2013
26 December –4 January 2014
• Tickets are now on sale
• For bookings and information see: www.kew.org/christmas
• Day ticket: Adults £16.00, concessions £14.00 (prices include a £1.50 Gift Aid donation),
free for children under 17
• Visitor information: 020 8332 5655 or firstname.lastname@example.org
• Website: www.kew.org/christmas - please check this for opening times
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding living collection of plants and world-class Herbarium as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international visitor attraction. Its landscaped 132 hectares and RBG Kew’s country estate, Wakehurst Place, attract over 1.5m visits every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst Place is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. Kew receives approximately half its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Further funding needed to support Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.
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