London’s first Chinese Lantern Festival opened to the public on Wednesday at Chiswick House and Gardens in west London, to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
The Magical Lantern Festival transforms the historic gardens into an outdoor light festival with over 50 hand-sculpted, enormous flashing lanterns made by a hundred artisans in China. It took three years and a total of 58,000 light bulbs to create the whole installation that travelled 21,347km to illuminate our cold and grey winter nights.
A 66-metre long dragon stretching out across a lake with its scales glittering in the water, is one of the breath-taking centrepieces during the five week festival. Alongside a 10-metre tall recreation of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven unbelievably made of silk and an 8-metre porcelain Imperial Palace made with 38,000 cups and bowls.
Some of the colourful illuminations can be seen in this video.
Visitors can also discover an Animal Kingdom with life-sized flamingos, zebras, kangaroos, elephants and other figures form the Chinese zodiac nestled among the trees as well as an Enchanted Forest illuminating the oversize mushrooms, plants and flowers around it.
This Chinese New Year, on the 8 February, marks the start of the Year of the Monkey. To celebrate the occasion, an illuminated waterfall provides the fairy-tale setting for a lantern replica of The Monkey King.
What’s the meaning of the Lantern Festival?
The Lantern Festival, celebrated on the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, is an important annual event in Chinese tradition when families gather together to celebrate the arrival of the lunar new year.
The festival is open throughout the month of February and ends on the 6th of March.
Advanced online tickets: adult £16, child (aged 4 to 16) £10, family £48, concessions £14.
On door prices: adult £18, child £12, family £56, concessions £16
Groups of 10 or more: £14 in advance and £16 on the door.
Tickets available here
Sub-editor: Busi Ndlovu