Ok, so we absolutely loved our visit to Kew Garden last year, but we decided that aside from the fact that it is seemingly totally sold out, we wanted to try something different. Boy are we glad we did. Here are our top 5 reasons to go to Chiswick House After Dark instead this year!

1. Sergio Pizzorno from Kasabian and Nick Gray are awesome

One of the first spectacles you see is a four minute light show and aural display, with a piece composed by  Kasabian’s Sergio Pizzorno and Nick Gray designing the lights. In fact, there are other opportunities to see Nick’s work throughout the trail, but it’s brilliant and a great selling point to the evening!

2. It’s cute, quiet and romantic

It’s SO cute, like for us it was the prefect date night, and that wasn’t just because of the amazing moon instillation they had. It’s really set up well, it’s timed so that visitors aren’t all over each other, it has time for reflection and contemplation and just looking around. It’s romantic but also child friendly (are they mutually exclusive?) and it’s just brilliantly curated.​

3. The wildlife

Unlike other big parks with lights and fairs, the organisers behind this have set up the After Dark display around the wildlife that live there. It means that there are patches of long walks with no lights but the idea of thing sleeping in the trees around you, and seeing things like these beautiful geese having a nap, makes you think about how great it is too. Also, they allow dogs, which makes for a fabulous evening of petting if you’re lucky like we were!

4. The lights

Of course, that’s the main attraction, and they are nowhere near as garish as other Christmas lights on offer, but they are all done well, with meaning and including other works of art, like the UV special “Far Nearer” by Finn Thompson and Andy Doid’s Keep off the Grass. Theres a laser show on the river, moving circles, light displays, ones that come with noises, ones to make you laugh, wish and cry. It’s superb!

5. The awesome bar and food from the walled garden and bar

When you finish the trail you find yourself in a marquee/festival tent set up with food and drink and fun activities provided by Hackney Arts for all the family to enjoy. The activities, suitable for all ages and with no prior experience needed include Screen Print Your Own Wrapping Paper and Decorate A Set Of Christmas Baubles.

 

The food is brilliant – stalls similar from outside Spitalfields Market (so you know it’s cool), the bar is Frontier craft beer, cider and spirits and there’s loads of space, warmth and fun around for everyone!

Tickets are £14 and available at the after dark website, you can visit on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays until the end of the year. On the site you can also see more about food and drink, and their Supper Club trails too!