Kew Gardens see return of illuminated trails for Christmas

By Kieran Hadfield

This winter, Kew Gardens are welcoming back their show-stopping illuminated trail. Stepping through the welcome wreath archway, visitors will enter a botanical world filled with seasonal cheer. The iconic Temperate House will spring to life, lit from within by a dynamic light show as a spectrum of Christmas colour envelops the glasshouse.

New this year, visitors can wander through a tunnel adorned with a canopy of starry lanterns, and further along the trail, a returning favourite - the Cathedral of Light – will twinkle with thousands of fairy lights for a truly Instagrammable moment.

Kew Gardens’ own botanical treasures will be accentuated along the route, highlighting the beauty of nature, and the importance of plants in all our lives. Heritage trees illuminated from different angles, branches interwoven with multicoloured neon swirls, a glowing pink cherry blossom walkway, and a spectacular singing Rose Garden are but a few of the features that await.

Proving a hit last year, the Waterfall of light will return to Kew Gardens’ Treetop Walkway, bigger and better than before, with beams of light performing a breathaking aerial dance in a new overhead light show. This year’s Fire Garden will also receive a makeover, as sculptures made from wicker and willow cast shadows among the scented, flickering flames in a multi-artist collaboration.

At the final stop on the trail, the renowned Palm House finale will greet visitors with festive projections played across a giant screen of water in the centre of the lake, and across the iconic glasshouse itself, to a memorable soundtrack of Christmas classics.

To keep visitors safe, several COVID-19 measures have been put in place. Kew Gardens will now have: a one-way system on the trail; the use of additional gates for entry and exit; additional time slots to help spread the arrivals and flow of visitors; and stringent cleaning practices. In addition, rather than a concentrated ‘catering village’ as at previous events, food stalls will be spread across the trail. 

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