Chinese Lantern Festival To Light Up Chiswick House Gardens

Spectacular display makes first visit to this country


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Locals walking in Chiswick House gardens have been watching an unusual event being set up for the past two weeks.

Brightly coloured flamingos, zebras and elephants have been popping up, along with lanterns, temples, a Pagoda and even a giant dragon, all quietly being painted and placed in the grounds by a team of Chinese workers.

It's all part of The Magical Lantern Festival , which opens on 3 February until 6 March to celebrate Chinese New Year, the Year of The Monkey. The festival is making its first visit to the UK, and has taken three years to organise.

Everything will 'come to life' when lit up at night - the exhibition uses 58,000 bulbs, and it took 300 days to handcraft the fifty enormous lanterns which will flash when lit up.

WELI Creative, who set up the Lantern Festival, have taken it to Canada, but this is its first time anywhere in the world apart from China. Ian Xiang, creative director, hails from Szechuan, where the special lanterns are designed and produced. It is also the first Chinese Lantern Festival in London and it is expected to be popular with members of the Chinese community.

Guests will pay around £12 per head and get 75 minutes roaming a garden trail through Corridors of Light leading to vividly themed zones, from the glowing Animal Kingdom, brimming with flamingos, zebras and elephants and pandas to the  Enchanted Forest, Corridors of Light, and Entertainment Zone. A marquee has been erected in the Walled Garden, where there will be a food and gift market, along with music. The festival uses timed entry and runs in the evenings from 4pm - 9pm.

One dog-walker commented: "It's a bit surreal. Everyone's been amused to see something different appearing every day while we're walking the dogs. Some people find the colours too gaudy, but it certainly brightens up a grey January day. I think if people don't want to pay they can always take children around the park during the day."

Chiswick House and Gardens will close to the public at 4.30 pm for the duration of the Festival and there may be areas closed off. We were unable to find out yet which specific areas would be out of bounds to the public not attending the Festival.


January 29, 2016

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