Why Kew Gardens' Christmas illuminations trail is sold out until January

Christmas at Kew Gardens is already on the brink of selling out this year
Christmas at Kew Gardens is already on the brink of selling out this year Copyright JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP
By Theo Farrant with AP
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Preparation for the world famous festive display takes a year of planning, 100 workers, and 25 kilometres of lighting cable.


London's Kew Gardens has launched its world-famous after-dark Christmas trail.

Trees and Victorian glass houses are illuminated in festive lights for an event that is already close to selling out.

Fountains shoot in the air, spotlights pierce through the dark, and glowing figures appear to dance across the lake.

This is the grand finale of the after-dark Christmas trail at Kew's Royal Botanic Gardens in Richmond, a lush West London suburb.

It winds through the landscape, taking visitors past suitably festive lights along the route.

It's the ninth year the UNESCO world heritage has hosted the event and despite only opening this week, it is almost sold out with just a few tickets available for its final stretch in January.

The trail includes 14 installations and three light shows

Preparations for Kew Gardens' Christmas walk take four weeks to completeJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP

Over 25 kilometres of cable has been used to get the 3,000 light fixtures set up.

And while there are carousel rides, food stalls and drinks along the way, Kew hopes the stars of the show remain the plant life the gardens are so famous for.

Planning for Christmas at Kew started a year ago and no stone is left unturned.

It's then taken an intensive four weeks to get everything ready for the first festive visitors. Around 100 workers have been involved in setting up the trail. Five of those are from the tree section.

One of their biggest jobs has been to cover a large beech tree with three kilometres of pea lights.

The same team was tasked with hanging 150 stars along Camellia Walk. Each branch had to be individually wrapped to protect the tree before the decorations could be installed.

Christmas at Kew runs until 9 January 2022. Tickets range from £21.50-£26.50 (approx €26-€32).

Discounts are available for families, groups, and Kew membership holders.

Check out the video above to see Kew Gardens’ festive lights for yourself.

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