Life has taken a whole new swerve since changing my job role to MUM. Making memories has always been up there on the list of life goals, and now we have the girls and our little family is truly established, I can’t wait to build a whole heap of family traditions.
Whilst this will be Alba’s first Christmas, Noa is just old enough this year to get a small grasp on what Christmas is all about. Well, the concept of presents mainly. I’m intent on making sure that they are surrounded by utter magicalness at this time of year.
So, first up on my list of magic making traditions is Christmas at Kew. Guaranteed to give you the festive warm and fuzzies.
“The world’s most famous botanic garden is the epitome of magical at this time of year”
The world’s most famous botanic garden is the epitome of magical at this time of year. This is the 3rd year in a row, as the festive season whirs into; mulled wine drinking, After Eight purchasing, mince pie eating action, that we have wrapped up in our winter woolies and headed to Kew Gardens in South West London to meander along the illuminated Christmas trail. (Gaah, I could go for some mince pie action right now).
As twilight falls, Kew’s majestic landscape comes to life this year with over 60,000 lights and 8 newly commissioned artworks. In its 4th year, Kew has once again teamed up with entertainment producer Raymond Gubbay to create the spectacular light show that is bigger and brighter than ever before.
We were lucky enough to get a sneak preview ahead of tonight’s official opening. The trail kicks off at Victoria Gate through two giant illuminated Christmas trees. The sweet smell of mulled wine, hot chocolate and roasting chestnuts will have you hooked from the start as you embark on the mile long trail created by Culture Creative Ltd. Just beyond the choral Christmas trees you will catch a glimpse of ‘Bloom’, flickering and morphing into different hues. This melodic cluster of 1,700 swaying flower lights is by the international group of artists; Squidsoup, the guys behind my favourite installation from last year, Ocean of Light.
Word of caution: Hang onto your little ones here. Noa was so captivated by the installation that she took to wandering under the guide rope and amongst the said delicate blooms. Thankfully, after two attempts to retrieve her and a middle-sized meltdown, calm was restored. And onwards…
Next up, the trail wound us to the scented Fire Garden where a carpet of torches takes the chill out of the air. Again, same toddler cautionary note applies here obvs. Designed by And Now, the circular displays depict the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Continuing round there are 3 internationally commissioned designs from the creative studio Pitaya. A twinkling Crystal Tree dripping with giant illuminated crystals, twelve colour-changing reeds rising into the night sky and a lawn of 75 crystal flowers pulsating across the ground. Here, the trail incorporates The Hive, with thousands of LED lights that pulsate against the night sky. Designed by Wolfgang Buttress, the award-winning architectural installation came to Kew back in June this year, having been originally the centrepiece of the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo.
Time for a pit-stop? You will find all the fun of the fair at White Peaks with a traditional Victorian carousel and giant helter skelter. And there’s more for the littles as Father Christmas and his Elves perform along the trail in Santa’s Panto. Take the opportunity here to stock up on amazing flavoured marshmallows and toast them yourself over a fire-pit. Love this!
The winter trail comes to an end with a beautifully grandiose finale on the Palm House Pond. Brightly coloured laser beams and streams of light burst onto the lake and dance across the water to much-loved Christmas favourites. That’s another video for your phone.
So if you want to soak up the festive vibes, Christmas at Kew opens tonight and runs Wednesday thru Sunday until 2nd January. Under 4s go free. Check the website for times and book here.