Not sure what to do this weekend? Or the next? Or one evening after work to detach yourself from everything? The Magical Lantern Festival channels its rich, 2000-year heritage into an immersive world, celebrating Chinese New Year 2016 – the Year of the Monkey – with more than 50 giant, hand-sculpted lanterns discovered by guests exploring the picturesque garden trail through Corridors of Light into vividly themed zones.
As stated before, I believe art is present in many forms and this festival is the brainchild of Weli Creative Director, David Lee and Creative Director, Ian Xiang, who explained: “London was chosen as the first city to host this amazing, 29-day festival of light, due to its status as the multicultural centre of the Western World.”
A breathtaking centrepiece will feature a 66-metre-long dragon, stretching out across a lake with its scales glittering in the water, while a 10-metre tall, recreation of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven and an 8-metre, porcelain Imperial Palace loom over the UK’s largest lantern festival, which also features an ambitious, lantern Terracotta Army.
Elsewhere, an Animal Kingdom will see life-sized flamingos, zebras, kangaroos and elephants nestled among the trees – a festival tradition and a nod to the history of Chiswick House Garden, where eccentric former owner, the sixth Duke of Devonshire, kept these exotic beasts in its expansive gardens.
The Enchanted Forest will surround an ethereal Tree of Life, illuminating the oversized mushrooms, plants and flowers exploding around it, while enormous lotus flowers open and close as they drift across the garden’s water features.
To mark the Year of the Monkey, an illuminated waterfall will provide the fairytale setting for an intricate, lantern recreation of popular Chinese fable, The Monkey King.
And as guests enjoy more than 75 minutes on their cultural adventure, they can sample a range of international cuisine, hot tipples and unique gifts to remember the experience.
If you haven’t gotten around to it, you still have a chance to go. The festival is open until the 6th of March. More information regarding the presented lights and ticket prices can be found on their Official Website.