The Magical Lantern Festival channels its rich, 2000-year heritage into an immersive world, celebrating Chinese New Year 2016 – the Year of the Monkey – with more than 50 giant, hand-sculpted lanterns discovered by guests exploring the picturesque garden trail through Corridors of Light into vividly themed zones.
This festival 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.
“And we selected an iconic venue for this iconic event, providing a unique, cultural experience and marking the fifteenth day of the Lunisolar year’s first month and the last day of the Lunar New Year celebration.”
A breathtaking centrepiece will feature a 66-metre-long dragon, stretching out across a lake with its scales glittering in the water, while a 10-metre tall, recreation of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven and an 8-metre, porcelain Imperial Palace loom over the UK’s largest lantern festival, which also features an ambitious, lantern Terracotta Army.
Elsewhere, an Animal Kingdom will see life-sized flamingos, zebras, kangaroos and elephants nestled among the trees – a festival tradition and a nod to the history of Chiswick House Garden, where eccentric former owner, the sixth Duke of Devonshire, kept these exotic beasts in its expansive gardens.
The Enchanted Forest will surround an ethereal Tree of Life, illuminating the oversized mushrooms, plants and flowers exploding around it, while enormous lotus flowers open and close as they drift across the garden’s water features.
To mark the Year of the Monkey, an illuminated waterfall will provide the fairytale setting for an intricate, lantern recreation of popular Chinese fable,The Monkey King.
And as guests enjoy more than 75 minutes on their cultural adventure, they can sample a range of international cuisine, hot tipples and unique gifts to remember the experience.
The marriage between East and West and the capital’s first ever hosting of the world-famous event is also celebrated with life-sized London bus and phone box lanterns.
NEED TO KNOW
Chiswick House Gardens, London W4 2QN
Visitors are strongly advised to use public transport. Turnham Green and Gunnersbury stations offer the most direct route; approximately a 15-minute walk from the event entrance.
Dates and times
Opening on February 3rd
Closing on March 6th
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 5pm to 10.30pm (Closed on Mondays)
Ticketed entry every 15 minutes from 5.00pm to 8.45pm
The event will be open on Chinese New Year (Monday 8th February) and will be closed on Tuesday 9th February
Advanced Online Ticket Prices: Adult £16, Child £10, Family £48, Concessions £14 – On the Door Ticket Prices: Adult £18, Child £12, Family £56, Concessions £16
Groups (10 or more): £14 in advance and £16 on the door