London’s first Magical Lantern Festival transforms Chiswick House Gardens
Coming to London this Chinese New Year will be the capital’s first Magical Lantern Festival. Chiswick House Gardens will be transformed for a 29-day festival of lights to celebrate the Year of the Monkey. Over 50 giant hand-sculpted lanterns will be dotted through the gardens with guests passing through Corridors of Light into colourful themed zones.
The centrepiece of the festival will be a striking 66-metre dragon spanning the lake with its scales glistening on the water. Visitors will be in awe as they look up at a 10-metre recreation of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven and a 8-metre porcelain Imperial Palace featuring a lantern Terracotta Army. In the Animal Kingdom zone, there will be life-sized flamingos, zebras, kangaroos and elephants amongst the trees. These light installations are a nod to a former owner of Chiswick House, the Sixth Duke Of Devonshire (1790-1858), who kept exotic animals in the gardens in the 19th century. Along in the Enchanted Forest will feature a stunning Tree of Life, with illuminated oversized mushrooms, plants and flowers exploding around it, while giant lotus flowers will open and close on the water features. Meanwhile, an illuminated waterfall will be the setting for a lantern recreation of the Chinese fable The Monkey King.
The festival channels China’s 2000 year heritage and is the brainchild of Weli Creative Director, David Lee and Creative Director, Ian Xiang, who explained: ‘London was chosen as the first city to host this amazing, 29-day festival of light, due to its status as the multicultural centre of the Western World. We selected an iconic venue for this iconic event, providing a unique, cultural experience and marking the 15th day of the Lunisolar year’s first month and the last day of the Lunar New Year celebration.’
During the 75 minute experience, visitors can also sample a range of international food and hot drinks in the undercover heated seating area, with unique gifts on offer to take home from the market.
- The Magical Lantern Festival runs from 3 February to 6 March 2016 at Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, W4 2QN. Nearest stations: Turnham Green and Gunnersbury. Open Tuesday-Sunday 5-10.30pm (closed on Mondays, except 8 February for Chinese New Year opening). Tickets (ticketed entry every 15 mins from 5-8.45pm): Adults £16 (online), £18 (on the door). Child £10 (advance), £12 (on the door). Family £56. For booking and more information, visit the Magical Lantern UK website.