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Christmas at Kew in 2022

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Christmas is the most enchanting time of year at Kew Gardens.

This post covers general information, how to buy tickets, what you'll find at Kew, and food options.

Now in its tenth year, Christmas at Kew sees thousands of people flock to see this after-dark festive attraction.

Many of Kew’s 12,000 trees and bushes are lit up in jewel-like colours along a path that winds throughout the gardens.

There are also sparkling tunnels of light, dancing waterside reflections, food and fairground rides.


GENERAL INFORMATION

To help in planning your visit to Christmas at Kew, we've listed the dates of opening, the operating hours, and information on how long it will take to walk through the gardens.

Lighted trees at Kew Gardens Christmas
Photo by: Alex Liivet

Dates

Christmas at Kew is open on select dates from 16th of November, 2022 to January 8th, 2023. 

  • Wednesday 16 November – Sunday 20 November, 2022
  • Wednesday 23 November – Sunday 27 November, 2022
  • Tuesday 29 November – Sunday 4 December, 2022
  • Tuesday 6 December – Sunday 11 December, 2022
  • Tuesday 13 December – Saturday 24 December, 2022
  • Monday 26 December 2022 – Sunday 8 January, 2023

Operating Hours 

Christmas at Kew opens at 4:20 pm.

The last entry is at 8:20 pm, and the gardens are open until 10 pm. Note that on Christmas Eve, the last entry is 7:20


How Long Will it Take

The trail around Kew is around 2.5 km (around 1.5 miles).

It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to walk through.

Additional time would be needed for food stops or Christmas Dinner.


TICKET INFORMATION

This event is one of the most popular of the holiday season in London.

It’s recommended that you purchase tickets as soon as possible as they sell out quickly.

String Lights at Key Gardens during Christmas
Photo by: Alex Liivet

Plan Your Visit

To purchase tickets, you’ll need to choose both a time slot and the gate by which you’ll enter the gardens.

There are three gates: 

  • Victoria Gate: Main Entrance 
    • Best for those coming by public transport
  • Elizabeth Gate
    • Best for those coming by National Rail - Southwest trains
    • There is also local parking available
  • Brentford Gate
    • This ticket includes pre-paid parking at Kew’s Ferry Lane car park
    • Note that there is a ten minute walk to the entrance

Price of Tickets  

The price of the tickets are based on peak and off-peak times:

Peak Pricing

  • Adults | £21.50
  • Children (4-15) | £14.00
  • Children (under 4) | £0
  • Family (2 adults/2 children (4-15) | £65.00
  • Adult Carer | £0

Off Peak Pricing

  • Adults | £28.00
  • Children (4-15) | £18.00
  • Children (under 4) | £0
  • Family (2 adults/2 children (4-15) | £82.00
  • Adult Carer | £0

Tickets are available for purchase online until 2 pm the day of the event. 

If you have been at Kew Gardens during daytime hours, you’ll need to exit and re-enter at the designated time and gate on your ticket.

Tickets can be purchased here.


Optional Additions to Your Ticket

You can also add the following items to your ticket, if interested:

  • Christmas dinner at Botanical Brasserie
  • Fairground tokens
  • Parking at your chosen gate

WHAT YOU WILL FIND

Millions of lights can be viewed from the trail.

Some interactive elements that can be viewed from the grass, in which case there will be mats laid out for guests. 


Fire Garden

Hundreds of mesmerizing flames can be found flickering away in the scented Fire Garden.


Christmas Cathedral 

Thousands of LED fairy “vines”, in the shape of a cathedral roof, make this one of the most popular spots in the gardens for a selfie. 


Palm House

This stunning Victorian age iron and glass building, made up of 16,000 panes of glass, is at the heart of Kew Gardens.

You’ll find a light show set to classic Christmas music and a water display here.

The Palm House and water in front are lit up for the holiday season
Photo by: m.shattock

Floraison

Luminous poppies appear above head on branches, seeming to blow away in a breeze


Feathers 

UV feathers sway in the breeze and float away, meant to show a “symbolic connection of feathers to the divine”.


Willow Hives

Illumination lights up the canopy around Kew with neon swirls, festive projections, and dazzling stars.


‘Illusion Hole’ 

This optical illusion lights up the lake in a geometric pattern of moving light. 


Fairground Rides

These are located behind Temperate House and include such rides as a swing boat and a vintage carousel. 

Vintage Carousel at Kew for Christmas
Photo By: David Hawgood

FOOD OPTIONS

There is plenty of food to be had either during your trail walk or at the Kew Christmas Dinner.

Food booth a Kew Gardens over Christmas
Photo by: alh1 CC BY-ND 2.0

Along the Route

Street food vendors offer “tasty festive delights, from hot food and and sweet treats to spiced winter warmers and hot chocolate”.


Christmas Dinner

This pre-booked dinner is offered at the Botanical Brasserie which overlooks the Palm House pond.

The cost is:

  • Adults | £34.00
  • Children (4-15) | £13.50

There are four seatings available:

  • 5:00 pm
  • 6:30 pm
  • 7:00 pm
  • 8:00 pm

The menu includes: 

  • Mulled wine
  • A Starter
    • Mulled spice butternut squash soup, chestnut crumb (plant based)
    • Pork and game terrine, toasted sourdough, onion chutney
    • Salmon tartare, avocado puree, capers and fresh horseradish, toasted sourdough
  • A Main:
    • Salt-baked beetroot and mushroom wellington, heritage carrots, chestnut and wild mushroom jus (plant based)
    • Turkey ballotine stuffed with sausage meat and cranberries, heritage carrots, sprouts, Yorkshire pudding and pigs in blankets
    • Baked sea bream, confit cherry tomato, olive fritters, brandy sauce

There are also childrens' options available.

About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: November 3rd, 2022
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