Glow Wild 2020

Sussex’s spellbinding illuminated trail to celebrate hidden heroes of the natural world. Selected evenings, Thursday 26 November – Wednesday 30 December 2020.

  • Wakehurst’s wild landscape transformed by glowing lanterns, illuminated sculptures, soundscapes and projections 

  • Artworks include giant floating dandelion seed heads, a fairy-tale fungi field, illuminated nocturnal creatures and a 500-flame fire display 

  • The trail features the UK’s tallest living Christmas tree, decorated with 1,800 lights. 

Circles of fire torches around trees at Wakehurst during Glow WIld
Fire circles at Glow Wild, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

As the winter evenings draw in, Glow Wild returns. Wakehurst’s wild landscape will once again be transformed by hundreds of glowing lanterns, illuminated sculptures, fire torches, soundscapes and projections.  

This year’s trail is inspired by aspects of nature that often remain unseen - a grain of pollen, a seed on the wind, or the fungi that enriches the soil allowing plants to flourish. With this theme in mind, Wakehurst has commissioned artists and creative studios to produce an array of illuminated artworks that will celebrate the hidden heroes of the natural world.  

Among the delights in store are a series of giant sparking dandelion seed heads floating above Wakehurst’s beautiful Black Pond. This award-winning installation created by OGE Group was last seen levitating above the canals of Amsterdam.  Elsewhere, visitors will encounter a magical garden of one hundred colourful fungi-shaped lanterns and the ethereal dancing glow of five hundred flames will surround the Mansion Pond, forming the trail’s largest ever fire display. The impressive Elizabethan mansion itself will be illuminated by breathtaking 3D video protections which will further explore the secret world of fungi. 

Along the trail children will delight in spotting illuminated woodland creatures including owls and badgers going about their nocturnal rituals. A bespoke atmospheric soundscape created by Brighton-based artists Ithaca will guide visitors along their journey through the wintry landscape. The trail will culminate in the sight of the UK’s tallest Christmas tree adorned with 1,800 lights. 

Wakehurst’s Head of Public Programmes, Lorraine Lecourtois says:  

“Now in its seventh year, Glow Wild will continue to delight visitors with new artists, a festive atmosphere and the beauty of Wakehurst after dark. 

“This year has been challenging for everyone, we have been busy behind the scenes to make the trail more exciting than ever. Safe, collective experiences are rare and we want to make this a magical evening for everyone.  

“Getting outdoors and connecting with nature is enormously beneficial to our well-being. Glow Wild is a completely outdoor event that can be enjoyed while adhering to social distancing measures, making it the perfect evening out this winter.” 

What we are doing to keep visitors safe  

We are adhering to government advice on coronavirus to ensure visitors and staff remain safe while enjoying their time at Wakehurst. Ensuring all visitors pre-book timed entry slots to Glow Wild will enable us to stagger the entry flow, avoid queues and reduce contact. 

Toilet facilities will undergo stringent cleaning throughout the day and we will continue to operate cashless systems at our shop and catering pop-ups across the site.  

The Glow Wild trail will operate as a one-way system with extra staff on-hand to monitor attendance and flow.   

Ticket information:  

Tickets go on sale on 4 August to Kew and Wakehurst members, and on general sale on 11 August. Booking is essential. 

Tickets can be booked here: www.kew.org/glowwild 

Entry time slots are every 20 minutes between 4:30pm and 8:10pm on the following dates: 

26th – 29th November 

3rd – 6th December 

10th – 13th December 

17th – 23rd December 

27th – 30th December 

Quiet sessions 

We are offering a limited number of 'quiet session' tickets. These are suitable for visitors with disabilities, such as autism, to make for a more comfortable visit whilst still experiencing the sensory benefits of Glow Wild. 

Quiet sessions offer access before the general public and will be available on 3, 10, 12, 13 and 17 December at 4.15pm. 

Ticket prices: 

Adult: £15 

Child (Ages 4-16): £9 

Kew and Wakehurst Member Adult: £13 

Kew and Wakehurst Member Family: £42 

Free for under 4s and carers 

Carparking is included in the price 

For more information or images, please contact the Press Office at pr@kew.org / 0208 332 5607 

Notes to Editors 

Please note that Wakehurst is referred to just as ‘Wakehurst’, not ‘Wakehurst Place’.  
It is not a National Trust property.  

About Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden: 

Wakehurst is one of the most beautiful and significant botanic gardens in the country. It is home to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, which houses and protects seed from the world’s most substantial and diverse collection of threatened and useful wild plants, and leads the MSB Partnership, a crucially important global science-based conservation programme which is the largest of its kind in the world. The estate includes a contemporary botanic garden, where ornamental plantings and exotic tree and shrub collections of international importance sit within native woodland. Wakehurst’s natural assets associated with its countryside location renders it complementary to Kew’s West London site, with different growing conditions, and a real emphasis on wild plant collections. Coupled with the Millennium Seed Bank, Wakehurst offers an inspiring, immersive, and educational day out for the whole family, and serves as a vital contribution to UK and global plant conservation. Kew receives just under half 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.