Christmas at Kew is a fun event that takes place every year at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in Southwest London. With themed displays and even a light show timed to music, the Kew Gardens Christmas lights are a sight to be seen, and a great thing to do in London at Christmas. The event runs from late November into the New Year, allowing anyone visiting London over the holiday period the chance to participate.
Christmas at Kew is a mix of a light show, Christmas festival, and botanical garden experience. The event encompasses a Christmas light trail that takes you through the various light displays, as well as tells you a bit about the botanical gardens. Along the way, there are plenty of places to stop for a snack or warm drink. Read on to learn more about Christmas at Kew and find out how you can visit this year!
About Kew Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, better know as Kew Gardens, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the largest in London!) and home to the “largest and most diverse” collection of living plants in the world. The gardens are open year round, allowing visitors to see a range of plants in full bloom, depending on when they visit. In addition to the gardens and glasshouses, Kew Gardens contains a treetop walkway, a multi-sensory experience about the lives of bees, and so much more!
Christmas at Kew
Every winter, Kew Gardens is transformed for the Christmas at Kew event. While the gardens are still open during the day, they also open at night for the Christmas celebration. Christmas at Kew only incorporates a portion of Kew Gardens, but includes some of the main attractions, such as The Hive. It’s hard to see much of the flora at night, but the Christmas light displays more than make up for that!
Kew Gardens Christmas Light Displays
The Christmas lights at Kew Gardens are a dream for any Christmas lover. A one-mile path leads visitors through the gardens past illuminated displays of all sorts. Different artists created each installation and they beautifully incorporate both the spirit of the gardens and the traditions of Christmas.
As you wander along the trail, you come across light installations that range from lights hanging in trees to an LED light tunnel to musical light performances. Each experience is different from the previous, with the whole trail capped off with the grand finale of the laser & light show at Palm House. The lights dance in time to Christmas classics, making it fun for visitors of all ages.
For 2018, Christmas at Kew promises a Laser Garden, a Canopy of Light, and over a million twinkling Christmas lights. There will also be (as always) plenty of opportunities for mulled wine and spiced cider. More about the food & drinks at Kew below!
Food & Drink at Christmas at Kew
Because the whole Christmas at Kew exhibition is a celebration of Christmas, there are little bits of Christmas incorporated throughout the entire experience, with every permanent structure decorated in some way. The standard Kew shops are filled with Christmas baubles and gift ideas; food stalls line the light walk with Christmas drinks and treats; and, a mini festival half way through the trail includes carnival rides and food stalls.
During our visit to Christmas at Kew, we couldn’t resist mulled wine or marshmallows – two things that are equally warming and delicious. The marshmallow stand sold uniquely flavored marshmallows, which could be roasted at the fire pits directly behind it. I picked the raspberry & champagne marshmallow while Sean went for strawberry & basil. We stopped to roast our marshmallows (and warm up), ate them happily, and got back on our way along the light trail.
There were plenty of other food options along the way, including full dinners (burgers, toasties, etc.) and other Christmas treats (a decorate your own gingerbread station, for example). At the end, there’s a final opportunity for food and drinks before leaving – perfect for one last winter warmer! Or, if you prefer, there’s a pub down the road!
For 2018, there is also the option to book a Christmas dinner at Kew Gardens before or after visiting the trail. Choose a 7:00pm or 8:00pm trail ticket in order to select a dinner add-on.
Essential Information about Christmas at Kew
- Dates: 22 November 2018 – 5 January, 2019, first entry at 5:00pm
- Tickets: Must be booked in advance – click here to book & buy. Tickets start at £16.50 Adult/ £10 Child
- Getting There: Kew Gardens station is off the Richmond branch of the District line; the entrance to the gardens is only a 5 minute walk from the station
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