Christmas at Kew Gardens

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Christmas at Kew 2016 Press launch
 (Jeff Eden)
Jeff Eden
Christmas at Kew 2016 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
 (Jeff Eden)
Jeff Eden
Christmas at Kew 2016 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
 (Jeff Eden)
Jeff Eden
Christmas at Kew 2016 Press launch
 (Jeff Eden)
Jeff Eden
Christmas at Kew 2016 Press launch
 (Jeff Eden)
Jeff Eden
Christmas at Kew 2016 Press launch

The west London gardens glow with magical illuminations for the festive period

The magnificent gardens get a beautiful seasonal makeover once more in 2016, as Christmas at Kew brings illuminations to light up the buildings, trails and planting. The mile-long trail will lead visitors past tow huge Christmas trees, a scented garden and all kinds of nature-inspired lights. Santa's Snowflake Grotto returns and there'll be a vintage caoursel, Christmas gifts and traditional festive nibbles and drinks (including mulled wine). 

Find more festive fun with our guide to Christmas in London


Event phone: 020 8332 5655
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Simon L
1 of 1 found helpful

It's very misleading almost fraudulent to say meet Santa. Or santas groto. As you can not meet Santa and he doesn't have a groto. It's a cheep 5 minute stage preformace whic is repeated every 5 mins. My son was so upset last year as this was the only reason we went. Virtually every parent I spoke to there at the time was so disappointed and angry. DO NOT go it you want to MEET Santa. Only go if you want to walk through the gardens. You children will not enjoy the experience if they want to see Santa or meet him.

1 of 1 found helpful

As Nia put it below, this is THE Christmas experience for everyone - making it the perfect thing to do in a mixed age group if you have family down to visit or whatever! We expected it to feel a bit overcrowded and busy knowing it was sold out for the whole night, but at no point did it feel as though we were being herded around the trail or anything, everybody was able to go at their own pace and spend as much or as little time in each of the spacious themed areas. The trail was decent in length and the standard was top throughout, it just felt truly magical. Each area we walked through was themed, for example between giant illuminated flowers and a sun & moon area where all the light was fire! There was a miniature fairground and the chance to meet father christmas too, and suitably festive and fun refreshment stands on the way round.

1 of 1 found helpful

Whether you’re a couple, family, child or OAP this is the London Christmas experience. Follow the Kew garden trail with its glowing Christmas tents, colourful trees and inflatable plants. Admission information can be found on their website.

Begin by heading over to the entrance food trucks and picking up some mulled wine or coconut hot chocolate to keep you warm along the way. Then savour a stroll through the choir of the holly bushes, each bush has its own speaker and set of coloured LEDs that light up as they sing together in perfect harmony.

Next is the mystical fire garden, an impressive display for any garden centre embracing the risk required to keep hundreds of torches burning for hours throughout the night, without spreading across the entire forest. Soft chimes and tropical sounds play in the background and make you feel as though you are somewhere exotic, despite being in London during a cold December. A large golden Phoenix rotates slowly in the wind above you as the smell of warm roasted chestnuts fills the air from a little stall in the corner of the garden.

Onwards past glowing Christmas tree tents, an immersive hanging LED display, the tunnel of light and an interactive Christmas tree, you will find yourself arriving at the fairground. Save some change for the classic carousel, magic carpet rides, swings, ice cream and waffles. Once you have had your fill of fun, hit the trail again and discover marshmallow roasting pits and the romantic mistletoe cave, complete with wishing well.

For the lesser lothario’s wishing to skip this part, you can head straight onto the wishing tree – make a wish, blow it into the lantern and hang it up on one of the branches or pay 2.50 to take it home with you as a souvenir.

For the kids there is a pantomime featuring Santa Claus before the grand finale of the tour, a stunning light and water display on the Kew garden lake backed by an uplifting classical sound track, enough to put even the biggest Scrooge in the festive spirit – even if it starts to drizzle!

tom b

I have to say it's almost ok - which is a shame - because it has huge potential. We went there afternoon 2nd Jan 2016. It was a beautiful evening but the park closed at 4.15pm, so we never saw the lights and  the displays which are a bit sparse rely on lighting. It was just not very exciting or seasonal - and the children were bored and 'let down'.  It really needs a major re-think to promote this as a 'must do' for 2017. With the amount of space and the trees and buildings,  it could be a thronged out exciting Christmas Fairyland that would bring millions more in revenue and visitors all year round....  This poor excuse to  fool 'fleece' the public has already resulted in a 'run down'  look and feel to these beautiful historic gardens - we left disappointed ....get cracking for 2017 and we'll be back..   

Evie B

Christmas has arrived when you make your way through the illuminated trail at Kew Gardens! This is an amazing experience which is perfect for a date-night or even a family night out, however scooters are a no-no so make sure your little-ones have some strong legs or a buggy to revert to. I loved the light displays which had accompanied music- including good-olde carols. A beautiful light display finishes the evening off at the Palm House Pond. An array of laser beams, colourful orbs and classic Christmas carols to match. If you want to get into the festive mood as well as make the most of the outdoors in winter I suggest heading along to Christmas at Kew. Remember to book online as this is an uber popular event; however large crowds are not an issue as the trail is wide spread. I can’t wait to visit again!

Daniel S

Zero Christmas experience! Not one single Christmas carol singer, no festive music, all tree houses closed, no elves, no Santa (well except the very tall very skinny very young father xmas?!), no area to rest and absorb the little Christmas spirit available, completely overpriced food and drink... and all that for 18 quid entrance fee! Oh, almost forgot, you do get a random karaoke stage in the middle of the park, dunno what that has to do with Christmas but its there. Never again and very very disappointing. The organizer of this should be fired. One star is too much but I had to give one in order to post this review. Folks, don't go. Take your kids somewhere else

Niomi Harris

Went with my boyfriend for our anniversary and we absolutely loved it! We usually go Winter Wonderland but we decided to change things up a bit and I'm so glad we did- Christmas at Kew was so much less crowded than Hyde Park and that made for a more enjoyable evening. All lights were so pretty and we took endless photographs, I especially loved the fire garden, the singing choir bushes and the tunnel of lights. I love the extra little touches such as the toasting of marshmallows by the fire and the mistletoe seating area- perfect for a romantic evening!

Halfway through the trail we were met with a mini funfair, which as well as food stalls and smaller children's rides, there was also a traditional helter-skelter and carousel- which was great fun and a lovely way to break up the walking trail. One thing I did feel that let the experience down was the wishing tree, which just seemed to be made up of a large branch with mini lanterns hanging- rather underwhelming and the area which it was in lacked the magical element everything else had.

Nonetheless, Christmas at Kew was great fun and we were in there for about two hours, which was just about right- didn't feel too long or too short. The water and light show at the end facing the large pavilion was a great way to end the trail- I'll definitely be returning next year!

Amie H

So, what a night we had! The kids had looked forward to the trail for weeks and it didn't let us down. So much to do and we got lucky with the weather too. As Christmas nights go it was up there with the best we have had as a family. Bravo Kew


Fantastic illuminated trail, definitely an activity to get you into the Christmas spirit... enjoy the enchanting light display while enjoying a glass of mulled wine. Perfect date idea and a nice way to spend an evening... wrap up warm!


I went to this tonight it is really good fun, stunning lights, great trees, music, food and gin. Highly recommended it. Its so good to go to something designed for cold dark nights.