The Magic Lantern Festival is a collection of Chinese lanterns, and is held annually around the same time as the Chinese New Year. The festival is held in multiple locations across the UK (including London, Birmingham, Yorkshire, Manchester, and Scotland), and ran for five weeks from the 24th Nov 2017 until 1st Jan 2018. Although I have visited the festival a few years back, I thought I’d pop along to the recent Christmas themed lantern exhibit.
Held at Chiswick House and Gardens, the festival displayed a collection of luministic art by numerous different artists. There was a heap of different themed lanterns, ranging from nature, animals, objects, and even a replica of the Ancient City of the Song Dynasty (think Chinese architecture!). Walking along the Lantern Trail, a mile-long path throughout the gardens, you’ll find the pathways, landscape, and lake displaying a whole range of life size, colourful, and vibrant hand sculptured lanterns.
Compared to my previous visit a few years back, I was a little under whelmed to be honest. There were no moving sculptures as the Festival has had in previous years, and whilst there was a lot of art to see, the trail could have been improved by placing more light fitting between the main structures. We found ourselves walking through several dark sections along the trail. Not great for buggy’s, the elderly, or people like me with bad night vision! Remember this is December, which also means rain, so it would help to see where we are walking. No-one want’s to be constantly stepping into the muddy, waterlogged sections!
For the obvious reasons, it’s ideal to visit at night so you can see the lanterns fully lit up at their best. There were several food and drinks stands along the trail, but you’ll find much more at the end of the trail. Expect fast food burger and hotdog stands, and even a random stand selling roast potatoes which I somehow managed to resist.
Being scheduled and themed around Christmas, the Festival wouldn’t be complete without its own Santa’s Grotto. Priced at £10 per child, your visit to see Santa also included a gift. There were also a handful of fairground rides at the end of trail. Bit random, but there were plenty of kids making the most of the rides!
Adults £16.50 (weekday) or £18 (weekend) when booked in advance
Child £10 (weekday) or £12 (weekend) when booked in advance
Side note: We purchased our tickets through Groupon and saved a third on the cost, so definitely shop around before buying directly through the festival’s website
Have a scroll down for some of my highlights from the festival. If you like what you see, then perhaps you can go visit this year’s 2018 festival!