light displays at Kew

Kew Gardens: Christmas at Kew 2019

If you’ve read how I became an plant-obsessed maniac, you might recall I live dangerously close to Kew Gardens. I have deliberately not become a member because I fear I will end up living there and eventually switching my profession. There’s nothing wrong with switching to gardening of course (infact, that’s my dream profession) but given I am a medic who enjoys that job too, I want to keep gardening as my ultimate get away (for now, she says).

A little about Kew Gardens (in the words of a crazy-about-plants-woman):

For those of my visitors who aren’t aware of Kew Gardens and why I seem somewhat enchanted by them, let me tell you this: Kew Gardens are to horticulture what Harvard is to law and business studies, or what John Hopkins is to medical school. Now, those comparisons may make sense to me since I associate those names with mentioned disciplines with the highest regard and not to everyone else.. But you probably get the picture by now. Kew Gardens have held a crucial part in gardening and horticulture. They continue to contribute to research and new discoveries in the gardening world. 

Kew Gardens has a sister site at Wakehurst,sussex. Wikipideia has more information whereas the official website is here, if you’re looking for more information. With over 50,000 live plants, various exhibitions throughout the year including the ever-famous Christmas at Kew, this is a must-see.

One of our friends gave us a family ticket to Christmas at Kew Gardens, a gorgeous yearly display of lights and music throughout the grounds of interspersed food stalls. Obviously, we had to go and now I’m finding it hard to not become a member.

I’ve taken as many photos as possible to take you through the amazing displays. Tickets to Kew Gardens sell out fast so for next year, make sure you buy them as soon as they’re advertised/>8 weeks prior to Christmas. I was off during Christmas for the first time in 5 years so I thoroughly relished this time, thus the late post.

Christmas at Kew Gardens (2019) – Overall layout

Tickets are generally sold for variable starting times but you can stay in till the end of the displays, which is usually till 2200 pm. When you enter, you will pass through an area of stalls with hot drinks, food, and alcohol after which the trail starts through Kew Gardens. You will be greeted by various light displays with our without music. There will be almost regularly spaced toilets and small food and drink stalls. A little before the end of the trail, there is a restaurant if you’re looking for a proper meal. The occasional stalls offer the direly needed hot coffee or hot chocolate, sweets for the kids, some fast food, etc.

Advice before you visit Kew Gardens for the Christmas at Kew Displays:

Make sure you wrap up and wear comfortable shoes. Take a few snacks from home for the kids since most stalls did not have healthy choices (in my opinion) with food varying from loaded fries to doughnuts and sweets. In addition, food is on the expensive side so if you don’t mind bringing your own sandwiches, it’s not entirely a bad idea.

Christmas at Kew 2019 – Tour through Kew Gardens with photos:

As soon as you enter, passing through the food stalls, you’re greeted by a gorgeous arch that displays welcome text. The number of people taking photos here was phenomenal and my four-year-old got mega impatient. Sadly, I couldn’t take a photo here but there’s plenty of everything else. Without further ado, let’s begin a walk through the trail at the gorgeous Kew Gardens:

light star
Lights scattered on the grass, around the trees
light displays at Kew
The ‘Bigger Picture’ of the lights above..
Light displays at Christmas at Kew 2019
Arches made from flashing lights – great area for night portraits and bokeh!
light displays at Kew
Something magical about this display..
Light displays at Kew
I loved the changing colors of the trees..
light displays at Kew
Spooky but still beautiful – these lights somehow highlighted the beauty of winter gardens and bare trees..
light displays at Kew
This display marked the beginning of seriously impressive displays..with Hallelujah playing in the background and the light patterns changing, this was quite the sight to behold.
light displays at Kew
But walking on, the greenhouses appeared magically lit up..
light displays at Kew
Every angle was impressive..
light displays at Kew
If you look closely, you can see shadows of the plants – a lovely way to display them at night.
light displays at Kew
Here is one busy area since everyone wanted a photo here..understandable!
light displays at Kew
I got carried away too, of course..
light displays at Kew
..and took a few shots of my boys. I liked the silhouettes instead of clear photos…
light displays at Kew
Next, came a display made out of candles and fire.
light displays at Kew
A closeup of one of the fire displays.
light displays at Kew
No family-friendly area would be complete without a few rides.
Play area at Christmas at Kew
Another shot of the swings/rides.
light displays at Kew
Not one of my favorites but the kids were fascinated by these archways exuding smoke with Harry Potter themes playing in the background..
light displays at Kew
Next came trees with curtains of lights.
light displays at Kew
Again, a great backdrop for some night portraits. Even badly focused photos were pretty.
light displays at Kew
One of my favorite displays was Kew Gardens take n Will-o-the-Wisp with Disney classics playing in the background.
light displays at Kew
A close-up.
light displays at Kew
And then again, a few more well-lit trees dotted along the paths.
light displays at Kew
..again, a badly focused photo doesn’t look bad at all!
light displays at Kew
This particular area had curtains of lights with George Michael playing in the background. Fun for both adults and kids to go through.
light displays at Kew
This area overlooked the back of the dynamic displays and was just before the main attractions.
light displays at Kew
Just one of the many beautiful patterns with the changing music, thrown onto the Iconic Palm House in front of which is the following statue of Hercules.
light displays at Kew
Hercules and Achelous fountain/statue in front of the Palm House. Various dynamic light displays were thrown onto the fountains – certainly the best part of Christmas at Kew.
light displays at Kew
One of the many displays, as you will see below…
light displays at Kew
light displays at Kew
light displays at Kew
light displays at Kew
light displays at Kew
My favorite was this ballerina shadow in the fountain. Absolutely genius!
light displays at Kew
light displays at Kew
This was the highlight for most children: moving trains and marching soldiers in the fountain.
light displays at Kew
That area was the last main display. We headed out towards the food stalls and the shop – here are 2 photos from the shop.
light displays at Kew
Apart from a fridge magnet as a souvenir, we didn’t splurge on plants since I found this on the expensive side.

It seems like the above visit would be done in a few minutes but we spent 3-4 hours, walking around, taking photos and stopping to eat. Lovely visit overall, thank you Kew!

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