Kew Gardens in Southwest London is known for its family-friendly night time Christmas illuminations.  Of course, Kew Gardens is well-known generally for being the largest botanical garden in the world. Sprinkled amidst its 132 acres are lots of pavilions and other structures and a treetop walkway. Kew Gardens is also a UNESCO listed world heritage site.

Even though you have to pay for entry (unlike many other visitor attractions in London), it is still very popular attracting approximately 2 million people annually. I can tell you there were a whole lot of them at the late night Christmas openings!

We were able to enjoy the beautifully-lit gardens with the Christmas theme.  Here are some of the highlights of our trip:

The Christmas trail started with music and dancing fountains.

lighted houses

There are stalls you can buy gourmet marshmallows and little bonfires to toast them in.  Perfect for a cold winter’s evening!

toasting marshmallows

The tunnel of light was pretty magical and my favourite part of the trail.

tunnel of light

Although I did think the chandeliers hanging from the trees was pretty magical too.

chandelier tree

Money doesn’t grow on trees but presents do!  I wish!  I’ll take either.

wrapped present trees

In addition to the real trees and foliage there was also artificial plants such as these giant snowdrops.

snowdrops lights

Mistletoe Moments is a giant mistletoe.  We took the opportunity for a family kiss.

under the mistletoe

There is a small funfair for the children with a handful of rides.

carnival ridesThe wishing tree was also a hit with the children.  You make a wish and light a lantern which is hung on a tree (wishes are free!).

wishing tree

The conservatory roof was transformed with lights and music.

christmas lights on the conservatory

The whole Kew Gardens experience was really sweet.  It was a late night for the children but definitely worth it.  I can see why it is so popular with Londoners every Christmas.

Details:

The Kew Gardens Christmas Trail is an annual event in London during the festive period.  It’s very popular and so you will need to book in advance.  You can get to Kew easily by car or on the tube (District Line) or Southwest Trains.  The station, Kew Gardens, is an easy 5 minute walk from the gardens themselves.  Kew Gardens is also open on Christmas Day for a reduced special price if you are looking for somewhere to walk off your Christmas lunch.