Magical Lantern Festival: East Meets West in London

London is hosting its first ever Chinese Lantern Festival to see in the Year of the Monkey in spectacular style.

A West London neo-Palladian villa is not a typical setting for a Chinese lantern festival, but it turns out to be a perfect match. To welcome in the Year of the Monkey, the venue is currently playing host to the Magical Lantern Festival, the capital’s first ever Chinese Lantern Festival.

We were left speechless when all the lanterns came on in unison.

Running over 29 days, the Magical Lantern Festival sees over 50 hand-crafted lanterns spread out across the gardens of Chiswick House, creating a spectacular vision of colour and light.  The lanterns represent the traditions and culture of both the UK and China in true East meets West style. Lantern depictions of red telephone boxes and a life-sized double-decker bus sit alongside characters of the Chinese zodiac and the Terracotta Army. The centerpiece of the impressive display is a huge 66 metre-long dragon.

A Truly Magical Lantern Festival

We were thoroughly impressed by this event. Clearly a lot of effort had gone into the creation of each individual piece and into the organisation of the event itself. We were lucky enough to be invited to the grand switch-on and were left speechless when all the lanterns came on in unison. As well as the lanterns themselves, the trees in the gardens have also been illuminated, creating a truly magical experience. Guides were on hand to help us around the extensive route that organisers estimate takes 75 minutes to navigate.

Jade and I on CCTV (Chinese Television)

While we were walking around the gardens, Jade and I were asked by a reporter for Chinese Central Television (CCTV) what were thought of the event. We were only too pleased to deliver some media friendly voxpops for CCTV’s global audience. If you fancy watching us, we’re 1 minute and 16 seconds in on the video embedded above.

We were only too pleased to deliver some media friendly voxpops for CCTV’s global audience.

Photos from the Festival

As you can imagine, with such beautiful scenes all around us, we took a ridiculous number of photos. So many in fact, it’s been hard choosing photos to feature in this post. So, here’s a small sample of what you can see in the gardens of Chiswick House.

Magical Lantern Festival, London

Magical Lantern Festival, London

Magical Lantern Festival, London

Magical Lantern Festival, London

Magical Lantern Festival, London

Magical Lantern Festival, London

More Information & Tickets

The event runs from 3 February to 6 March 2016. Tickets for adults are £18 (which we think is reasonable) with discounts for children, families and concessions. You can find out full details about the event and buy tickets at the Magical Lantern Festival website.

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Matt lives in the UK and is the editor of Here To Travel. He's someone who will try anything once, particularly if there’s an opportunity to take some photos, shoot some video and write about it.
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