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Review: The Winter Trail at Kew Gardens

Attraction - Park & Garden

Kew, London, United Kingdom

Pretty lights but a little disappointing!

  • By SilverTraveller Rowsie

    115 reviews

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  • December 2015
  • Adult family

31 people found this review helpful

Over the last few years I have often seen adverts for Kew Gardens Winter Trail and it sounded quite magical, so, when my sister visited me this month I booked tickets. They aren’t cheap (£16 each plus £1 booking fee) but we were looking forward to seeing the magical lights and getting into the Christmas spirit.

We had booked the first slot of the night at 5pm and we arrived a little early. However Kew has a lovely shop and cafe that kept us entertained until 5pm arrived.

We set off on the trail and headed off down an avenue of trees (some of which were lit up, some looking like their lights had gone out)) and in the distance we could see the Palm House which was lit up and changing colour regularly. In front of the building was a lake with a fountain display which also changed colours. It all looked very pretty.

At the start of the trail is a Christmas tree and a member of staff was dressed in a winter costume and calling out to the people who passed by. She obviously had a script which she repeated over and over again. The off putting thing was that she used a really bad London accent reminisce of something out of Oliver Twist. It was so bad it was laughable. However the tree was pretty and we moved on to the next part of the trail which was the singing Holly trees! A number of Holly trees were covered with lights and their lights went on and off in time to the carols coming over the loudspeaker system. That was one of our favourite things. Further on there were more trees lit up and an impressive field of candles and towards the end of the trail was a tunnel of lights where you could walk through some changing hanging lights which felt quite magical. Father Christmas is supposedly walking the trail as well but we never saw him (and this would have been a huge disappointment if we had taken children with us). We came across a sleigh display with another female member of staff who, this time, shouted out jokes to us (again in the same awful Dickensian accent)! The walk is only a mile long and took us under an hour. Along the route are some stalls were you can buy festive fare. We bought marshmallows which we were given on a long stick and there were fires where we could toast them. It sounded like a fun activity but it was difficult to reach the fire because of the barriers around them and once (partly) toasted they actually didn’t taste great either.

So in summary I would say it was a nice experience but is far too expensive and whoever trained those poor girls (who, despite their awful scripts were very enthusiastic and had to stand there in the cold for ages) needs to look at their script-writing skills. If you want to see Christmas lights, it’s worth a visit but don’t expect TOO much!

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 2 Comment(s)

  • ESW
    over 4 years ago
    Definitely a thought provoking review.... I've always enjoyed visits to Kew Gardens, but that has been in the spring or summer for the flowers. This sounds a good idea which doen't quite come off and at £16 for a ticket you expect better than cod Dickensian accents. Presumably they are aiming at the foreign visitors with them? I get th feeling they aren't quite sure what audience they are aiming at and Father Christmas should have been very visible!
  • LizaB
    over 4 years ago
    That's interesting. I was glad to read this review because I heard Vanessa Feltz on the radio absolutely gushing over this and saying it was "wonderful, magical etc". She had little children with her so maybe that is the key.