Showstopping illuminated trail returns to Kew Gardens this winter

Showstopping illuminated trail returns to Kew Gardens this winter

Wednesday 18 November 2020 – Sunday 3 January 2021

4pm – 10pm (advance booking only)

  • New route takes visitors through Kew Gardens’ beautifully illuminated Rose Garden,
  • Other highlights include a canopy of stars, neon-wrapped trees and another spectacular light show at the Treetop Walkway
  • Visitors can keep warm with street food, mulled wine and hot chocolate
  • Additional safety measures will be in place to ensure an enjoyable experience for all
  • This year’s trail is supported by Montezuma’s Chocolate

Returning for its eighth year, Kew’s sell-out winter trail is back with old favourites and brand new light installations, bringing a touch of magic to the London festive calendar. Visitors can expect bursts of colour and enchanting optics as they explore Kew Gardens’ UNESCO World Heritage landscape after dark. A roster of internationally acclaimed artists is set to adorn Christmas at Kew with a feast of art, light and music at every turn.

This year’s trail

Stepping through the welcome wreath archway, visitors will enter a botanical world filled with seasonal cheer. The iconic Temperate House will spring to life, lit from within by a dynamic light show as a spectrum of Christmas colour envelops the glasshouse.

New this year, visitors can wander through a tunnel adorned with a canopy of starry lanterns, and further along the trail, a returning favourite – the Cathedral of Light – will twinkle with thousands of fairy lights for a truly Instagrammable moment.

Kew Gardens’ own botanical treasures will be accentuated along the route, highlighting the beauty of nature, and the importance of plants in all our lives. Heritage trees illuminated from different angles, branches interwoven with multicoloured neon swirls, a glowing pink cherry blossom walkway, and a spectacular singing Rose Garden are but a few of the features that await.

Proving a hit last year, the Waterfall of light will return to Kew Gardens’ Treetop Walkway, bigger and better than before, with beams of light performing a breathaking aerial dance in a new overhead light show. This year’s Fire Garden will also receive a makeover, as sculptures made from wicker and willow cast shadows among the scented, flickering flames in a multi-artist collaboration.

At the final stop on the trail, the renowned Palm House finale will greet visitors with festive projections played across a giant screen of water in the centre of the lake, and across the iconic glasshouse itself, to a memorable soundtrack of Christmas classics.

To add an extra flourish to the Christmas at Kew experience, visitors can book a delicious traditional Christmas dinner at Kew’s Botanical restaurant, or simply pick up a treat from one of our street food vendors along the route. Visitors can make for a very merry Christmas and indulge in a spiced cider, mulled wine, or hot chocolate to keep warm.

What we are doing to keep visitors safe 

The safety and wellbeing of our visitors is of the upmost importance to us and we are continually monitoring and responding to the Covid-19 pandemic as it evolves. We are adhering to government advice in our planning to ensure visitors and staff remain safe while enjoying at Christmas at Kew. Safety measures will include: a one-way system on the trail; the use of additional gates for entry and exit; additional time slots to help spread the arrivals and flow of visitors; and stringent cleaning practices. In addition, rather than a concentrated ‘catering village’ as at previous events, food stalls will be spread across the trail. Visitors can book tickets safe in the knowledge that if Covid-19 developments require cancellations, they can re-book their slot or get a full refund.

Sandra Botterell, Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprise at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said:

“In a year that has been challenging for many, we are delighted to host Christmas at Kew, and have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that it will be a safe event for all. I am sure you will agree that we could all do with a bit of festive cheer, and I am confident that a wander through our spectacular Gardens, illuminated by over one million lights, will bring joy to our visitors this winter.”