This Christmas, Kew Gardens will once again transform into a magical after dark explosion of festive colour, as visitors embark on an illuminated trail inspired by the Gardens themselves, for the much-anticipated Christmas at Kew 2018.
Now a firm favourite in the London festive calendar, this year’s trail will offer an utterly new experience of art, light and sound from a roster of incredible international artists.
The festive voyage will begin, as is tradition, with an incredible archway - a gateway into another world of glistening lights, fire and colour. Visitors will first encounter the Field of Light, created by Brighton-based artists Ithaca.
An awe-inspiring expanse of dancing lights spreading towards Kew’s towering Great Pagoda, which has just been painstakingly restored to its former glory, adorned with 80 golden dragons.
300 illuminated origami boats and a cathedral of lights…
Next up, visitors will enter the mesmerising laser garden, by Australia-based creative studio Mandylights. They’ll find a revelry of forever dancing beams of light, highlighting for just moments at a time, the natural beauty of the woodland trees.
As they cross Kew’s glistening lake, visitors will be greeted by the captivating sight of 300 illuminated origami boats floating on the water, an installation by Italian artists Asther & Hemera.
As the trail continues many more treasures await, including Firework Trees lit up by explosions of coloured light and a walkway of suspended illuminated ribbons that visitors can wonder through and stop for a selfie.
A firm favourite each year, the famous tunnel of lights will be taken to a whole new level, forming a veritable Cathedral of Light, reaching 7 m tall and 100m in length - the biggest tunnel of lights ever seen at Kew.
A fire garden and an enchanted walkway…
The ethereal atmosphere will continue with a warm flickering fire garden leading to a huge dome of tubular lights inside which visitors can enjoy a festive drink. They will then enter an enchanted walkway of giant glowing peonies and papyrus, brought to Kew by French artists TILT.
Kew’s Great Broad Walk Borders, the world’s longest double herbaceous border, will be flanked by towering 11m high flower sculptures, and by illuminated benches, where visitors can relax and admire the view along the promenade.
Visitors will marvel at the outstanding natural beauty of the Gardens themselves, particularly Kew’s incredible heritage trees.Seen from a totally different perspective, festooned with lights, their majestic forms are a reminder of the importance of trees to all our lives.
And the famous Palm House finale…
Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas at Kew without the show-stopping Palm House finale. The pond and magnificent glasshouse will spring to life with an explosion of colourful criss-crossing laser beams, jumping jets of light, and kaleidoscopic projections playing across a giant water screen.
Christmassy extras…including Santa!
Youngsters will delight in spotting Santa and his helpers performing along the trail, and White Peaks will once again become a festival fairground with a Victorian carousel and other rides for the little ones.
As the winter trail comes to an end, visitors will be greeted by the scent of mulled wine, mince pies and other festive foods from a variety of enticing stalls at Victoria Plaza.
Sandra Botterell, Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprise says: “Christmas at Kew is now the must-see event in the London festive calendar, and this year’s extravaganza will be bigger and better than ever before. It will capture the magic of the last five years, but will also offer a unique experience, with a host of brand new breath-taking installations. I personally cannot wait to wander through the Cathedral of Light, or enjoy the 300 glowing origami boats floating on Kew’s beautiful lake.”
Christmas at Kew admission:
Tickets are on sale from 26 June: www.kew.org/christmas
Adult from £16.50
Family from £48
Child 4 – 16 from £10
Under 4s free
Transaction fee applies
Opens at 5pm on the dates below:
Thursday 22 November – Sunday 25 November
Wednesday 28 November – Sunday 2 December
Wednesday 5 December – Sunday 9 December
Wednesday 12 December – Monday 24 December
Wednesday 26 December – Saturday 5 January
Timed entrance every 20 minutes from 5pm. Last entry 8pm.
Choose your entry gate
There are two entry gates. The main entrance is Victoria Gate. However, limited pre-paid parking (booked online in advance) is available at Kew’s Ferry Lane car park in conjunction with entry at Brentford Gate.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections 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 and a top London visitor attraction. Kew’s 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden, attract over 2.1 million visits every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. Kew receives approximately one third of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and research councils. Further funding needed to support Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.