Christmas at Kew 2019
Brand new trail to illuminate the magnificent Treetop Walkway and Temperate House
Wednesday 20 November 2019 – Sunday 5 January 2020
5pm – 10pm (advance booking only)
• New route for 2019 brings waterfall of lights cascading from towering 18m-high Treetop Walkway in Kew’s arboretum
• Laser projections to animate the cathedral-like Temperate House boasting 15,000 glimmering panes of glass
• Other highlights include smoking white haze arches, a choir of holly bushes, and a walkway of glittering pink cherry trees
• An experience to captivate the senses with showstopping lights, specially curated soundtracks, and the smells of warming Christmas treats
This winter, more twinkling and fantastical than ever before, Christmas at Kew returns, inviting visitors to experience the nighttime beauty of a brand new trail, illuminated by over one million lights. The route will include some incredible showstoppers, such as the recently restored Temperate House – the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse in the world – which will form the canvas for a kaleidoscopic laser show. A must-do event in the London festive calendar, visitors can expect bursts of colour and enchanting optics as they explore Kew Gardens’ iconic landscape after dark. A roster of internationally acclaimed artists is set to adorn this newly plotted trail with a feast of art, light and music at every turn.
Myths and magic…
French creative Studio Pitaya is bringing Bifröst to Christmas at Kew, drawing inspiration from the bridge of light in Norse mythology connecting the realm of the living and the realm of gods. Set at the beginning of the trail, visitors can wander through the 20-metre-long tunnel of light arcades, the hypnotic animations bringing them through to the magical landscape beyond.
Also inspired by folklore and legend, Australian studio Mandylights returns to Christmas at Kew with Will o’ the Wisps – known as ‘fairy fire’ by Welsh travellers, ‘aleya’ by Bengali fishermen, ‘luces del tesoro’ in Mexico and in Australia as the ‘Min Min light’. The installation sees thousands of pixel mapped ‘wisp’ forms perform in different ways to reflect their diverse origins – from devilish displays of red mischief, to soft glowing orbs, to explosions of vibrant colour.
Further along the route, visitors can meander through a Fire Garden with enchanted ruby and emerald flames, as pyrotechnic artist Mike Jones brings his spellbinding work to Kew.
A tumbling waterfall and forest of vines…
The centrepiece of this year’s event, Brighton-based ITHACA will bring Waterfalls to Kew’s arboretum. With four spiralling columns of light cascading from the Treetop Walkway in the canopy above, the mesmerising 10 minute display will captivate visitors with dazzling reflections and a ‘Sea of Light’ at their feet.
In another mirroring of nature, Australian studio Mandylights brings Vines to the trail. A 30-metre-long promenade of LED vines that visitors can walk through, touch and interact with, each vine houses up to 8,000 individual colour-changing pixels, making for an otherworldly immersive experience.
Throughout the trail, Kew’s own natural splendours will feature prominently, highlighting the beauty of nature, and the importance of plants in all our lives. Trees along the route will be illuminated from different angles, allowing visitors to admire their striking winter forms. Branches will be wrapped with tiny blossom shaped lights to create a sparkling cherry tree walkway, and the Kew Horticulture team’s pea-light-festooned heritage tree will return in all its luminous glory.
The grand finale…
At the final stop, the renowned Palm House finale will await visitors with festive projections playing across a giant screen of water in the centre of the lake, and across the iconic glasshouse itself.
Extra features – Father Christmas, and the chance to try Kew’s new restaurant…
Visitors can find Santa and his helpers on the Temperate House steps entertaining youngsters, and a mini food village complete with fairground rides will be a perfect stop-off point for little ones. Sweet smells of mulled wine, mince pies and other festive treats will greet visitors from stalls along the trail, and the beautiful new Pavilion Bar and Grill will be open for dining. What’s more, the Botanical restaurant will be serving a special Christmas Dinner, which visitors can pre-book when purchasing tickets.
Sandra Botterell, Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprise at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said:
“Christmas at Kew is now a firm favourite in the winter calendar, and this year we’re bringing even more excitement with a brand new route through Kew Gardens’ UNESCO world heritage landscape. Now in its seventh year, Christmas at Kew continues to delight visitors with new and talented artists, and a truly festive atmosphere. I personally cannot wait to experience the Treetop Walkway lighting up Kew’s arboretum with what promises to be a spectacular display.”