Christmas at Kew returns for 10th year

The UK’s original festive light trail returns to dazzle Kew Gardens in London, bringing magical new installations for the tenth anniversary this Christmas

Release date: 27 July 2022

  • 2022 marks ten years of Christmas at Kew, the first light trail of its kind in the UK
  • New installations include suspended illuminations and optical illusions, featuring over a million twinkling lights
  • Highlights include the iconic Palm House projections and much-loved Christmas Cathedral
  • Visitors can indulge in toasty treats with seasonal street food, mulled wine and hot chocolate, or a Christmas dinner at The Botanical Brasserie

This November, see Kew Gardens in a whole new light as the UNESCO World Heritage landscape glitters with millions of festive lights with the return of Christmas at Kew.

Since the inaugural Christmas trail in 2013, this unique, world-famous event has paved the way for festive displays across the country each winter cementing light trails as a firm festive favourite in the run up to Christmas. Marking ten years since the original festive trail at Kew Gardens in London, this year’s display features a host of seasonal favourites alongside mesmerizing new light installations. A celebration of nature by night, this enchanting seasonal experience is designed to bring Kew’s incredible natural landscape to life for visitors of all ages.

New installations for 2022

Visitors can experience a sense of tranquillity as they walk by Feathers by Pyrite Creative, 16 floating UV feathers which will sway in the breeze, appearing as if from nowhere. Fun and magical, this installation draws on the symbolic connection of feathers to the divine. Elsewhere in the canopies, LuminARTi’s Willow Hives elegantly illuminate the surrounding natural forms, highlighting the spectacular scenery at Kew.

Light Art Collection returns with ‘Illusion Hole’ by UxU Studio, a geometrically arranged pattern situated on the Lake in which visitors will experience the fluidity and malleability of moving light. Visitors are presented with a thrilling optical illusion as water formed by light appears to flow into an unknown abyss as they enjoy the trail around the gardens.

Festive favourites

Wander beneath colourful canopies and bushes draped in sparkle, futuristic neon trees and branches illuminated with stars as you enter a botanical world filled with seasonal cheer. Many of Kew’s 12,000 trees and other botanical treasures from Kew’s living collection will be accentuated along the new route, allowing visitors to experience nature from a new perspective whilst reinforcing the essential role that plants play in all of our lives.

Creative studio Pitaya return to Christmas at Kew after their successful debut in 2020. Lighting up the woodland with their ethereal installation ‘Floraison’, luminous poppies appear to have blown away in the breeze, clinging to branches high above visitors’ heads. Elsewhere, the ever-popular Fire Garden returns for 2022, and Kew’s famous Christmas Cathedral will once again create a dazzling world filled with thousands of fairy lights, offering the perfect Instagram opportunity. Visitors will be entranced as a series of breath-taking projections dance across the surface of Kew’s iconic Palm House and adjacent lake, set to a memorable soundtrack of much-loved Christmas classics.

To add an extra touch of magic to the Christmas at Kew experience, visitors can book a delicious traditional Christmas dinner at The Botanical Brasserie to enjoy with loved ones. Tasty treats from a selection of independent street food vendors are also available along the route, including spiced cider, waffles, mulled wine, or hot chocolate to keep you warm.

Sandra Botterell, Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprise at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said: “Christmas at Kew is always magical, but this year is even more special as we celebrate ten years of this wonderful light trail. We can’t wait to welcome visitors back to the Gardens to experience the return of our much-loved light installations, alongside exciting new additions, all of which take inspiration from Kew’s incredible collections. As the first festive light trail of its kind, Christmas at Kew really is a seasonal spectacular unlike any other.”

Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex, sees the return of its own enchanting winter lantern trail for 2022. Glow Wild promises a brand-new route, with 11 bespoke installations and over 1000 paper lanterns handmade by local volunteers all celebrating the incredible colour spectrum of the natural world.

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Hi-res media images are available to download here.

Willow Hives by Luminarti © Culture Creative

Spheric © Raymond Gubbay Ltd, Richard Haughton

Christmas Cathedral © RBG Kew

Christmas at Kew © Raymond Gubbay Ltd, Richard Haughton

Christmas at Kew admission:     

Tickets on sale now:

Entrances at Victoria Gate, Brentford Gate and Elizabeth Gate.

Advance booking only.

Advance prices:

Adult                     from £21.50

Family                   from £65

Child 4 – 16          from £14

Under 4s free

Kew member       from £18.50


Christmas at Kew runs from Wednesday 16 November 2022 to Sunday 8 January 2023 and is open on the following dates:

Wednesday 16 November – Sunday 20 November 2022

Wednesday 23 November – Sunday 27 November 2022

Tuesday 29 November – Sunday 4 December 2022

Tuesday 6 December – Sunday 11 December 2022

Tuesday 13 December – Saturday 24 December 2022

Monday 26 December 2022 – Sunday 8 January 2023

Christmas at Kew is open 4.20-10pm with timed entry slots. Last entry 8pm.

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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 Gardens’ 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden, attract over 2.5 million visits every year. Kew Gardens was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 260th anniversary in 2019. Wakehurst is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. RBG 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 RBG Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.

About RGL, a division of Sony Music

As an inaugural partner for the very first Christmas at Kew in 2013, RGL (Raymond Gubbay Limited), a division of Sony Music, has now been leading the industry in the delivery and creation of light trails for over ten years.  They now have over 15 illuminated Christmas and Halloween trails across the UK and a further 10 Lightscape trails around the world.  Their chosen partners are national and international heritage venues and each trail is carefully designed to showcase the natural and unique environment of that individual setting. RGL also presents over 500 concerts annually throughout the UK and worldwide. | FB @RaymondGubbay | Twitter @RaymondGubbay

About Culture Creative

Culture Creative is a creative project and production management company based in Scotland and 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 Lightscape and Christmas themed trails in various venues across the UK and overseas. | FB @culturecreativeltd | Twitter @CCLCreative | Instagram @culturecreativeltd