Glow Wild 2020

Sussex’s spellbinding illuminated trail to celebrate hidden heroes of the natural world. Select evenings, Thursday 3 December 2020 – Sunday 10 January 2021

  • Wakehurst’s wild landscape transformed by glowing lanterns, illuminated sculptures, soundscapes and projections
  • Artworks include giant floating dandelion seed heads, a fairytale fungi field, illuminated nocturnal creatures and a 500-flame fire display
  • The trail will culminate with the UK’s tallest living Christmas tree, decorated with 1,800 lights. 
  • Tickets for this year’s trail are selling fast
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 is an award-winning installation, brand new to Glow Wild: last seen floating above Amsterdam’s canals, ‘Light a wish’ will bring a series of giant, sparkling dandelion seed heads to Wakehurst’s beautiful Black Pond, creating mesmerizing reflections across the Water Gardens. The piece is inspired by childhood memories of picking dandelion flowers and blowing the seeds into the wind to cast a wish.

Along the trail visitors will also find 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 protections that will further explore the secret world of fungi.

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 largest Christmas tree adorned with 1,800 lights.

Despite the covid-19 pandemic, Wakehurst volunteers and employees have been working hard at home over the past few months to build and mend over one thousand lanterns which will light the trail.

Head of Programmes and Learning, and this year’s Glow Wild’s creative director, 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.

“Despite the coronavirus pandemic, we have been busy behind the scenes to make the trail more exciting than ever - it takes over 600 hours of staff and volunteer time to make and repair over 1,000 lanterns by hand.

“Getting outdoors and connecting with nature is enormously beneficial to our wellbeing. 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 the Gardens will enable us to stagger the entry flow, avoid queues and reduce contact.

Toilet facilities will undergo stringent cleaning throughout the day, and there are hand washing stations at each gate and key locations. Lanterns along the trail will act as distance markers at potential crunch points throughout the gardens, 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 can be booked here:

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

  • Thursday 3 Dec - Sunday 6 Dec 2020
  • Thursday 10 Dec - Sunday 13 Dec
  • Thursday 17 Dec - Wednesday 23 Dec
  • Sunday 27 Dec - Sunday 3 Jan 2021
  • Thursday 7 Jan - Sunday 10 Jan

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
  • Car parking is included in the price

For more information or images, please contact the Press Office at / 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.