The UK’s first event of its kind, a mighty impressive Magical Lantern Festival has landed at Chiswick House and Gardens in west London to celebrate Chinese New Year.
As it’s just down the road from me- and I actually saw the lanterns being set up during a weekend ramble in January- I could hardly not go, so I took my parents on what felt like the iciest, coldest night of winter so far.
Luckily putting up with weather was worth it- wandering around the gardens, which are beautiful enough normally, and admiring a whole zoo of Chinese lanterns was a great way to while away an hour and a half.
My highlight, and seemingly everyone’s favourite part, was the 66-metre long dragon centrepiece which is first viewed across the lake, making for some fantastic photos. Hearing young children get excited about seeing the dragon was sweet, but the adults were certainly keen too!
Saying that, the smaller parts which make up the whole were all impressive, especially all together when you realise the sheer amount of lanterns on site. I enjoyed the pandas because the black and white made for such a dramatic contrast, but all the different animals were fun, as were the lit-up walkways and the 10-metre tall Chinese temple.
Another good thing was that when I was there it was busy but comfortably so, not absolutely rammed like some outdoor events of this kind.
The lanterns will still be on until March 6, so definitely check it out while you’ve got the chance.