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Secrets of London : Christmas Nights at Kew

It's Christmastime in London, and some other places too probably, but this year's festive season in the capital will be short for this tramper as ImageTramp are heading down under in a few days to spend Xmas with family and friends in Australia. 

That's why I was so happy to squeeze in some proper old-fashioned Christmas activities at Kew Garden's first ever after-dark illuminated trail. Kew's new "enchanted winter landscape" is a series of lighting displays set around the sprawling landscape of the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens.

I last visited Kew in May on a warm sunny day and this visit couldn't be more different. 

The trail takes visitors through a Christmas market where you can buy gifts, food and, of course, mulled wine. There's also Santa's Woodland Grotto for the kids and some rides and amusements as well. 

Carousel in the Christmas Village

Then you pass through a gate and begin a wander through the gardens where every now and then you come across an installation: a marriage of light and nature.

There are entertainers on hand, a secret royal society of plant whisperers, who guide visitors through a silly and fun exploration of fictional talking plants and along the way huge gramophones spout facts and myths to passersby. 

Information point

The final stage is a glorious sound and light display projected on (and from within) the grand Victorian Palm House as the lake beyond lights up with a new dawn and birdsong carries through the park. 

It's a magical and fun winter experience. You should go. Dress warm and listen for hidden secrets.