Hi there you lovely gang, hope you’ve been doing well! Today I’d like to tell you about the Magical Lantern Festival which, let me say it, is called magical for a reason! I know it’s quite late to be reviewing the event as it’s going to be on for one more week only, but if any of you still get a chance to visit- take it! Yes, whatever the others say, it is worth it!
The festival is an annual event to celebrate Chinese New Year and takes place in Chiswick House and Gardens. The park is quite a way from the tube station (with the nearest one being Turnham Green) so be ready for a walk. If you arrive early, there are lovely cafes and restaurants just outside the tube station so you may want to try some of them. There are also nice shops and pretty houses all over the show so be ready for some window shopping and picture taking on your way!
When you finally get to the park (with a little help of Google maps- there are no signs pointing towards the gardens before you actually get there), you’ll see a beautiful lantern gate which is impossible to miss. This is, however, the entrance to the park which is around 10 minutes walk from the actual exhibition. You’ll still be able to see a lot of pretty little lanterns on your way- illuminated Chinese zodiac signs, flowers, shoes and the Houses of Parliament.
Then you’ll see the main entrance when the real fun begins. This year’s theme is the Silk Road, which is a road trade between China and other countries and you’ll be able to see over 50 beautifully crafted lantern installations showing scenes from Chinese culture but also from Asia, India and the middle East. A walk through the lantern town is absolutely mesmerising, especially when you get to the basins and see how beautifully some of the installations reflect on water. After 45 minutes you’ll probably be a little less excited as the scene tend to be slightly repetitive and there’s nothing to surprise you which is a shame as the whole experience is still something out of this world.
Oh, I should also mentioned there’s marshmallow toasting happening on your way- being vegetarian I didn’t take part but people who did say it’s amazing with the hot chocolate living up to its ridiculous price.
At the very end of the trail there’s also a mini entertainment area with some food and drink stalls, an ice rink and ice bar but unless you’re with children crying for a candy you can skip it- your local Weatherspoon probably serves food of a better quality.
But hey, don’t be one of those grumpy people letting the small things ruin your experience, do your research instead 🙂
If you consider visiting, I’ve got a few tips for you:
Take the camera, there will be plenty to photograph! This one may be obvious but I’m saying it as someone who didn’t. I took over 300 pictures on my phone, and they don’t actually show the real magic of the place, especially with most of them not being the quality I’d wished for.
Take wellies! Or any other shoes you don’t mind getting dirty as the trail is quite muddy.
Take warm clothes– the walk takes around 90 minutes and is in the evening, you don’t want to be freezing.
Eat before you get there– there’s not much in the park (unless you’re fine with overpriced fast-food not to be picky about) and it also take around 15-20 minutes to get to the park from the tube.
Use the toilet before! There aren’t many of them around and the queues are pretty bad!
The best time to arrive is between 6 and 7:30. You don’t want to come too early so it’s properly dark; arriving too late on the other hand you may not have enough time to see all the installations.
Have fun! Lots of fun!
Have you ever been to the Magical Lantern Festival? Or is there maybe something similar happening near you? Would love to know!