I have lived in London now for well over 5 years, but somehow had never been to Kew Gardens. When I discovered they break out with all the twinkly lights at Christmas, it seemed that this would be as good a time as any to make that first visit and so the man and I got tickets for the very end of December. Christmas at Kew is a mile-long trail through the gardens, and is an incredibly festive and beautiful experience.
We made a brief start on the trail, before deciding that was a silly thing to do without some mulled wine. So we nipped back to the start, loaded up with that particular genial beverage and began the yuletide wander through the gardens.
We came across fountains that danced to music, bathed in light while snowflakes hurried across the lake and the house. We found chandeliers suspended from low-slung boughs, a twinkling grotto filled with mistletoe for a secret smooch, and striking botanical sculptures glowing in the night. The temperature was freezing, but we were well wrapped up, and all of Kew seemed to radiate warmth.
About half way round, we paused to indulge in a marshmallow break. The Marshmallowists were out in force displaying their wares; Christmas pudding flavour? Vibrant orange mango? Actually we both plumped (or flumped?) for blueberry and gin marshmallows, and with our prizes safely skewered we embraced the heat of the braziers more than willingly and toasted our marshmallows to perfection! These were the BEST marshmallows I've ever had: none of your insipid sugary nonsense thankyou-very-much, these confections were soft and smooth and fluffy and had such full, incredible flavour. I will be seeking out the Marshmallowists in future!
We followed the snowflakes winding deeper into the gardens. We saw fire-jugglers and stilt walkers, tellers of tall tales and trees embellished with magic. Christmas at Kew was one of those evenings that more than exceeded my expectations and hopes. I found it absolutely enchanting.
I hope to be able to come back to Christmas at Kew in future years, and I would love to explore the gardens in more detail and be able to appreciate the plants and flowers more fully. But for a spellbinding, twinkly, oh-so-festive evening, I don't think this could be easily beaten.
Point towards the light!
P.S. I find it tough to get the white balance and focus right on night-time photos. I enjoyed taking my camera out (although very cold on the fingers!) but I could definitely use more practice with night photography!