Christmas at Kew 2019

Brand new trail to illuminate the magnificent Treetop Walkway and Temperate House. Wednesday 20 November 2019 – Sunday 5 January 2020, 5pm – 10pm (advance booking only).

Release date: 21 August 2019

  • New route for 2019 brings waterfall of lights cascading from towering 18m-high Treetop Walkway in Kew’s arboretum
  • Laser projections to animate the cathedral-like Temperate House boasting 15,000 glimmering panes of glass
  • Other highlights include smoking white haze arches, a choir of holly bushes, and a walkway of glittering pink cherry trees
  • An experience to captivate the senses with showstopping lights, specially curated soundtracks, and the smells of warming Christmas treats. 

This winter, more twinkling and fantastical than ever before, Christmas at Kew returns, inviting visitors to experience the nighttime beauty of a brand new trail, illuminated by over one million lights. The route will include some incredible showstoppers, such as the recently restored Temperate House – the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse in the world – which will form the canvas for a kaleidoscopic laser show. A must-do event in the London festive calendar, visitors can expect bursts of colour and enchanting optics as they explore Kew Gardens’ iconic landscape after dark. A roster of internationally acclaimed artists is set to adorn this newly plotted trail with a feast of art, light and music at every turn.

Myths and magic…

French creative Studio Pitaya is bringing Bifröst to Christmas at Kew, drawing inspiration from the bridge of light in Norse mythology connecting the realm of the living and the realm of gods. Set at the beginning of the trail, visitors can wander through the 20-metre-long tunnel of light arcades, the hypnotic animations bringing them through to the magical landscape beyond.

Also inspired by folklore and legend, Australian studio Mandylights returns to Christmas at Kew with Will o’ the Wisps, also known as ‘fairy fire’ by Welsh travellers, ‘aleya’ by Bengali fishermen, ‘luces del tesoro’ in Mexico and in Australia as the 'Min Min light’. The installation sees thousands of pixel mapped ‘wisp’ forms perform in different ways to reflect their diverse origins - from devilish displays of red mischief, to soft glowing orbs, to explosions of vibrant colour.

Further along the route, visitors can meander through a Fire Garden with enchanted ruby and emerald flames, as pyrotechnic artist Mike Jones brings his spellbinding work to Kew.

A tumbling waterfall and forest of vines…

The centrepiece of this year’s event, Brighton-based ITHACA will bring Waterfalls to Kew’s arboretum. With four spiralling columns of light cascading from the Treetop Walkway in the canopy above, the mesmerising 10 minute display will captivate visitors with dazzling reflections and a ‘Sea of Light’ at their feet.

In another mirroring of nature, Australian studio Mandylights brings Vines to the trail. A 30-metre-long promenade of LED vines that visitors can walk through, touch and interact with, each vine houses up to 8,000 individual colour-changing pixels, making for an otherworldly immersive experience.

Throughout the trail, Kew’s own natural splendours will feature prominently, highlighting the beauty of nature, and the importance of plants in all our lives. Trees along the route will be illuminated from different angles, allowing visitors to admire their striking winter forms. Branches will be wrapped with tiny blossom shaped lights to create a sparkling cherry tree walkway, and the Kew Horticulture team’s pea-light-festooned heritage tree will return in all its luminous glory.

The grand finale…

At the final stop, the renowned Palm House finale will await visitors with festive projections playing across a giant screen of water in the centre of the lake, and across the iconic glasshouse itself.

Extra features – Father Christmas, and the chance to try Kew’s new restaurant…

Visitors can find Santa and his helpers on the Temperate House steps entertaining youngsters, and a mini food village complete with fairground rides will be a perfect stop-off point for little ones. Sweet smells of mulled wine, mince pies and other festive treats will greet visitors from stalls along the trail, and the beautiful new Pavilion Bar and Grill will be open for dining. What’s more, the Botanical restaurant will be serving a special Christmas Dinner, which visitors can pre-book when purchasing tickets.

Sandra Botterell, Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprise at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said:

“Christmas at Kew is now a firm favourite in the winter calendar, and this year we’re bringing even more excitement with a brand new route through Kew Gardens’ UNESCO world heritage landscape. Now in its seventh year, Christmas at Kew continues to delight visitors with new and talented artists, and a truly festive atmosphere. I personally cannot wait to experience the Treetop Walkway lighting up Kew’s arboretum with what promises to be a spectacular display.”

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Christmas at Kew admission:  

Tickets on sale now: www.kew.org/christmas

Advance booking only.

Advance Prices:

Adult                     from £18

Family                   from £52

Child 4 – 16          from £11

Under 4s free.

Transaction fee applies.

Open on the dates below:

Wednesday 20 November – Sunday 24 November

Wednesday 27 November – Sunday 1 December

Wednesday 4 December – Sunday 8 December

Wednesday 11 December – Tuesday 24 December

Thursday 26 December – Sunday 5 January

Book a timed ticket, entry 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.

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Contact

For general enquiries: 020 8332 5655 or email info@kew.org

For images and press enquiries please contact the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Press Office on 020 8332 5607 or email pr@kew.org

Notes to Editors

About Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

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 2.3 million visits every year. Kew Gardens was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrates its 260th anniversary in 2019. 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.

About Raymond Gubbay Limited, a division of Sony Music

Founded in 1966 by Raymond Gubbay, Raymond Gubbay Ltd, a division of Sony Music, is recognised as being at the forefront of promoting and producing popular shows, illuminated trails, classical concerts, opera, ballet and special events both in the United Kingdom and abroad. In recent years, the company has forged successful and ongoing partnerships with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Blenheim Palace, The National Trust, The Forestry Commission, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Botanic Gardens, Chicago, USA. In addition, the company annually co-promotes Kew the Music, a diverse series of summer picnic concerts. In 1989, the company first staged Classical Spectacular®. The show has now played to an audience in excess of two million people globally. Combining great music with the latest technology and special effects has led the company on to other related productions including Space Spectacular®, John Williams Spectacular, Zimmer vs Williams and many more, working with some of the world’s most renowned orchestras including the UK’s Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, CBSO, RSNO and the Hallé. Christmas concerts conceived by the company have become a festive tradition with performances at the Royal Festival Hall, Barbican and Cadogan Hall as well major concert halls across the country including Symphony Hall in Birmingham, The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.

Christmas at Kew is brought to you by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and leading events promoter Raymond Gubbay Limited, a division of Sony Music. The trail is created by Culture Creative Limited.

About Culture Creative

Culture Creative is a creative project and production management company based in the North East of England. The Company works across a wide range of cultural fields including art, sport, heritage, tourism, festivals and events, developing projects from concept to delivery. Since 2013 Culture Creative has worked closely with leading entertainment promoter Raymond Gubbay Ltd. a division of Sony Music, to create My Christmas Trails – a series of illuminated trails held in various venues across the UK including Kew Gardens and Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. In 2018 the company developed its first indoor Christmas experience themed around the story of Cinderella, and this year will produce Alice in the Palace themed around the story of Alice in Wonderland for Blenheim Palace.

www.culturecreative.co.uk | FB @culturecreativeltd | Twitter @CCLCreative