The countdown to Christmas is officially underway; social media is ablaze with festive-themed posts of Winter Wonderland, Christmas markets and ice skating antics. Oh and of course central London is lit up like one big, sprawling Christmas tree, its branches of light spreading as far as: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Regent Street, Carnaby Street and Oxford Street to name a few. As a self-proclaimed Christmas enthusiast (ball ball earrings and fluffy Christmas jumpers- you name it and I’ve got it!), I am constantly searching for events to get me in the Christmas spirit.
So without further ado, let me tell you about The Magical Lantern Festival…
Returning to London for another year, The Magical Lantern Festival is taking place within the stunning landscaped grounds of Chiswick House and Gardens. With an overarching Christmas theme, visitors can expect nothing less than larger-than-life, hand-sculpted lanterns ranging from Santa and his reindeers, to a family of playful penguins standing erect on a block of ice. However, not all sculptures are strictly Christmas themed, there are those inspired by nature, such as beautiful illuminated flower gardens, a spectral vision of Noah’s Ark, and a giant, multi-coloured peacock (my personal favourite). Also those inspired by art, such as dancing violins, huge framed paintings, and a singing, musical trinket box! For those with children, there are lanterns replicating scenes from much loved films such as Bambi, Finding Nemo, 101 Dalmations and Frozen. Last but not least, there are those inspired by different cultures, such as a magnificent evocation of an ancient city from the Chinese Song dynasty. It is truly breath-taking.
Overall, the colourful lanterns make for amazing photo backdrops and there really is something to appeal to everybody, whether you attend as part of a family, a couple, or a group of friends. The festival is not just limited to lanterns however, for visitors can also discover an entertainment area nestled in the heart of the lantern trail, with food and drink being served, a Santa’s Grotto, fairground rides and a merchandise marquee. Also dotted around the lantern trail itself, are pop up stands selling drinks from hot chocolate to mulled wine, as well as marshmallows to be toasted on a fire pit.
Walking round Chiswick Gardens, which is a masterpiece itself due to its sheer size and sculpted landscapes, you really are overwhelmed by the effortless beauty of what is essentially just lights moulded into a particular shape. As soon as you enter the grounds, your face is lit up – literally by the lanterns- but also with joy at all there is to see. I have not stopped talking about the festival since I visited a few weeks ago. It was unlike anything I have ever been to before and made me feel like a child again.
The festival is open Wednesday through to Sunday each week and every day (yes every day) during the holidays apart from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing day. It runs until the 1st of January 2018 so I really would urge you to book your tickets soon to avoid disappointment.
For more information and ticket prices (which are reasonable considering the huge variety on display), please visit: http://www.magicallantern.uk/london
Chiswick house and Gardens is easily accessible via Car or public transport, for specific details, visit: http://www.magicallantern.uk/travel/1