Christmas at Kew

temple-2Thought I’d take a little time out from my giant autumn roundup to visit the Royal Botanic gardens at Kew for their annual Christmas Festival of lights…

candlesIt’s a combination of imaginative lighting through the trees, illuminating the elegant garden buildings and strange installations.

photographing

This year is curious because many leaves on deciduous trees are steadfastly refusing to shift, creating interesting light patterns, but somehow the ones that are completely bare really bring a sense of drama to winter.tortured-tree

This arbour, for example, is a mass of wisteria any other time of year, but still manages to retain interest in its dormancy.

arbour

I got the feeling at least a few of the designers had visited the extraordinary Magical lantern festival at Chiswick earlier this year:

four-calling-birds

…and all the better for it.

Much of the design was very subtle, which I enjoyed. The music was less subtle; I could have taken less of it, or even none at all. There was enough drama in the plants, the lights and the decor.

baubles

Having said all that, this is a gorgeous, magical evening out for all the family. There’s a funfair for the kiddies, mulled wine for the grownups and gingerbread for all.

Oh – and a spectacular finale, the centre of which depicts the traditional yuletide tale of Hercules throttling the Christmas Serpent:

blue-christmas

Christmas at Kew runs from November 23 to 2nd Jan. The Event Gardener visited during the press preview on a complimentary ticket.

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