The iconic Palm House at London’s Royal Botanic Garden is the stunning finale on a magical Christmas trail around Kew gardens, adorned with over one million twinkling lights to get you in the mood for the festive season. As befitting for the most famous botanical garden in the world, this is not simply some lights draped around trees, but a series of imaginative light and sound installations.
Just under 37 kilometres of lighting and power cables have been laid around the trail to supply 15 unique displays, some of which are accompanied by powerfully evocative music. You will also happen across cabins selling festive food and drink, and there is even a Victorian fairground to entertain the children. I defy anyone not to be enchanted.
So wrap up warm, grab yourself a hot cup of mulled wine, and join me on a virtual tour.
Photographs courtesy of Pete Stevens Creative Empathy
It takes at least an hour to amble round the trail taking in all the installations, but you might get waylayed by the tempting roast chestnuts and champagne!
An arch with 4000 baubles marks the entrance to the trail.
A sea of illuminated globes dance in time to the captivating music, Carol of the Bells.
365 wooden sledges arranged into the shape of a Christmas tree, a staggering 11 metres tall with a multicoloured light display.
Gnarly branches are highlighted with beautiful colours.
A magical woodland walk, with projections, lights and sparkling giant snowflakes.
Each post of the Sackler Crossing bridge, which winds its way over the lake, lights up in shimmering waves in time to angelic music. Lights on the islands ebb and flow, and the water twinkles.
A welcoming pit-stop for a glass of fizz.
Twirling Christmas trees dangle lanterns from their branches in a river of flaming torches.
32 illuminated icicle shards, each seven metres tall, edge the pathway.
Santa Claus makes an appearance to delight the children.
A tunnel of fairy lights.
A carousel in the Victorian fairground.
The paper petals of giant peonies rustle in the breeze, surrounded by multi-coloured reeds.
The huge glasshouse, built in 1844 to house tropical plants, is the backdrop for a dazzling display of projections and lasers, accompanied by Christmas music classics.
I hope you enjoyed your virtual tour and are feeling suitably festive, but there is no substitute for seeing and hearing it first hand if you can.
Christmas at Kew runs Wednesdays to Sundays until 1 January 2018.
5pm to 10pm (timed entries between 5pm and 7.40pm).
Adults £18.50 (£16 off peak), Children £12 (£10 off peak).