London’s Chiswick House & Gardens is home to a yearly blow up light spectacular known as the Magical Lantern Festival. The festival celebrates the Chinese New Year honoring the Chinese lantern traditions and whatever animal that year belongs to. The festival is currently celebrating Chinese New Year of the Rooster 2017, and running from January 19th-February 26th.
The lanterns illuminated stand out tall and bright against the darkness of Chiswick Gardens in the evening. It really is an amazing sight, not just viewing Asian inspired designs, but also flowers, famous characters, animals, and buildings of the world.
The ticketed entrance is a complete mess. There are way too many people and not enough staff funneling them through. Everyone stops once in to “ooh” and “aah” at the first lantern they see or to adjust their babies that they are wearing on their bodies or to re-bundle up the children they are pushing in strollers. I actually vowed never to bring a child under four to this event because it is too long and too cold to keep their attention beyond the first couple displays. I really had never seen so many screaming children.
But once through the initial herd of people, you get a little breathing and walking room and it’s actually quite fun! About halfway through the exhibits there is a rest stop for a bathroom break, some snacks, alcoholic beverages, some glow-in-the-dark souvenirs, and a chance to toast your own marshmallows! You can then continue your journey on the park’s paths through an illuminated wonderland. At the end of the experience, there is an adorable ice rink and an assortment of food trucks offering a little bit of everything. There is also a makeshift bar with picnic tables and a plenty of games and candy to keep the kids occupied. The Magical Lantern Festival definitely has something for everyone from beginning to end!
So, in conclusion, if you’re looking for an activity that’s a little different to help with the winter blues, head to the Chiswick House & Gardens. The Magical Lantern Festival will bring out your inner child and dazzle your senses. Enjoy!
The Magical Lantern Festival
Chiswick House & Gardens
Dukes Avenue Gate
London W4 2QN