Christmas at Kew Gardens

Things to do, Walks and tours
4 out of 5 stars
(20user reviews)
Christmas at Kew
 (Jeff Eden)
Jeff EdenChristmas at Kew
 (Jeff Eden)
Jeff EdenChristmas at Kew
 (Jeff Eden)
Jeff EdenChristmas at Kew
 (Jeff Eden)
Jeff EdenChristmas at Kew
 (Jeff Eden)
Jeff EdenChristmas at Kew

Time Out says

West London’s Kew Gardens glow with magical illuminations for the festive period

Kew's incredible botanical gardens will be undergoing another magnificent seasonal makeover in 2019, as Christmas at Kew lights up the space’s iconic buildings and the weird and wonderful plants that call it home.

This year, the mile-long, twinkling trail holds some new surprises. Visitors new and old will be guided along a different route from previous editions, but expect it to be just as lit. There will be a shower of silvery vines drifting from the top of the Treetop Walkway which light up in trippy patterns to beautiful Christmas music. Down below you'll be able to spy folkloric illuminations of mythical fairy creatures and Will-o’the Wisps. And if that wasn't enough, there will also be new glittering spiral tree installations and laser projections illuminating the iconic Temperate House.

But if you can’t get enough of the old favourites, they’ll also be making a triumphant return. Listen to the singing holly bushes, walk through the Tunnel of Light and its thousands of pea-lights, warm yourself by the fire garden and gawp at the jets of light dancing above the Palm House Pond.

Santa and his elves will also be in attendance, while grown-ups can take advantage of the festive shopping, seasonal snacks and warming mulled wine. 

Find more festive fun with our guide to Christmas in London



Users say (20)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:12
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:3
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1 of 1 found helpful

Had a lovely, magical time - a bit nippy but the wonder of it all took our minds off the cold. A brilliant effort and what a delightful thing to do - enjoy the splendour of Kew gardens in the dark winter leading up to Christmas.

Highly recommended and well worth the effort - very well organised and a joyful experience

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!

We've done the lights at Kew for the past few years, and the 2018 version was a good one.

The laser forest was a trippy highlight, but everything was beautiful... and the ratio of mulled wine stands was about right to cater for those of us not visiting with over-excited children!

Well recommended!

As a lover of all things twinkly lights and fairy lights, I absolutely adored Christmas at Kew. With a mile long trail of different light art installations featuring over a million different lights, a Christmas food market and mulled wine and cider, it’s very hard not to feel festive and warm inside. My personal favourite out of all of the installations was the Cathedral of Light. If you’re feeling unfestive and Grinchy, take a trip to Christmas at Kew and you’ll leave singing Christmas songs and feeling all warm and fuzzy.

Really enjoyed Christmas at Kew. Its the type of experience that I wouldn't need to return to any time soon, but it was an enjoyable visit for something different with quite a few unusual light displays. The food from the food trucks was pretty woeful, so I would suggest eating elsewhere. 

Nice idea but thought it was a little bit boring to be honest, plus the ticket prices, and food and drink inside are not cheap. Around 3 of the light installations were excellent, but the rest were unimpressive. If you decide to go, try and get a 5pm ticket and be one of the first ones in (there were crowds of people at some of them and I could barely see being short!)

This was my first time at Christmas at Kew (and inside Kew Gardens as well), and we must have picked one of the coldest nights of the year to venture through the gardens, but it was still a very festive night out all the same. We went in a group of 6 and had no issues with wandering around as part of a larger group. I loved all of the christmas carols that were playing along the way as well, definitely got us all into the Christmas spirit! You could purchase mulled wine and cider along the way for £5 a glass, but the highlight for me was the marshmallow roasting station! They had big flavoured square marshmallows, the coconut was a winner for me. Overall I am glad I went but for £16 a ticket I probably won't be heading back as it was a bit pricey for what it was.

If you are not yet into the Xmas mood, Christmas at Kew is what you need! You will have to survive the cold first but it is worth it, the light displays at Kew this year are spectacular, especially the final piece on the pond. The tour lasts a bit more than an hour and takes you through about 20 different light installations.

very  disappointing ,as it is in a garden more of the trees should of been lit up with more color and lazer lights  ,I had already been to Syon park which was brilliant they had used the lake to reflect the lights and lasers glitter balls etc for great effect, then the brilliant show inside the glass house there ,the management at kew should have  gone to Syon park to see how its done

As part of our 60th birthday treat, my partner and We took our four grandchildren, 12, 9, 6 and 4

(all girls) to ‘Kew at Christmas’ 2017 and we treated ourselves to VIP tickets; so glad we did - worth every penny! We walked straight in at 5:00pm, greeted by a friendly, informative young lady who explained a little about the artists and the displays and chaperoned us to the VIP reception room. There, we were warmly welcomed with drinks and mince pies and later watched, from the viewing balcony the amazing laser light show and the beautifully illuminated giant greenhouse across the sparkling pond accompanied by well chosen music. One thing we would advise: the sophisticated VIP food and drink at the end of the trail is wonderful but more suited to adults - may be worth packing their favourite drinks and some small sandwiches (keep it classy!) if you are including children in the VIP experience. The trail was stunning with so much to see and hear with light-sound displays, a pantomime and sweet, sticky toasted marshmallows on the way! Wrap up well, take gloves and cover your ears with hats or muffs and brace yourselves for a truly amazing, multi-sensory experience. Advice: pack snacks and drinks for children - the burger stalls are good quality but expensive for a large group; take a big pack of wet-wipes; it can be a long day with the travel there and back on top - better suited to older children 6+. The VIP upgrade was well worth the extra, especially for adults.

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!

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


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!

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.

0 of 1 found helpful

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..   

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