Review of 'Magical Lantern Festival'

This is the first year that the Magical Lantern Festival is appearing in London and it is quite the première. We visited early on a Thursday night and it was quite busy which bodes well for it returning next year.

Entering through the car park (no public parking available during the festival) we passed into a walled garden where we were greeted by several large displays of lights including a welcoming arch then continued to a ticket booth to arrange the tickets for our visit. Tickets are reasonably priced (adults £16 in advance, £18 on the day, children £10 and £12, with other discounts available) but we had discounted tickets from a Time Out promotion. All advance tickets are “timed” (you have to arrive at the specific time selected in the reservation process).

There are displays throughout the grounds of Chiswick House but often the path is not entirely clear (trick is to just follow the people in front of you…). The displays are quite amazing and obviously a lot of care and attention has been given to them. The festival is timed to coincide with the Chinese New Year and the influences of that culture are obvious here with many sculptures obviously Chinese in nature - Particularly the large dragon and Chinese pagoda both adjacent Chiswick House. We particularly enjoyed the section where a number of animals were set up in a small field - Pandas, kangaroos, giraffes, zebras, etc.

There are quite a number of sculptures and the walk around the grounds is quite long so a few of the younger visitors were obviously getting a bit tired as they followed the trail around. There are refreshments available at the start of the trail and about half way through where they had marshmallows you could roast over a fire and some very nice - but expensive - hot chocolate, as well as toilets. It was a cool evening so we found ourselves feeling it by the time we left.

There are no plaques at each of the pieces so it is left to the imagination about the history and meaning of the pieces - But this is fine as explanation is mostly unnecessary. We found many people taking pictures but were generally quite polite about it. Indeed, everyone seemed to be in good spirits despite the cold and most took their time to enjoy the display.

It is quite a good start for the festival and I hope it comes back next year. People of all ages will enjoy the experience.

Photos from Flickr


Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2016-02-11

Chiswick House and Gardens

Location: London (England)

Address: Burlington Lane, Chiswick W4 2RP ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Turnham Green NRLOGO Chiswick

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 8742 3905


Chiswick House is a neo-Palladian villa set in beautiful historic gardens in west London built in 1729 by the Earl of Burlington to showcase his art collection. Visitors can tour the house and quite large gardens - The later for free. The Victorian conservatory is particularly interesting to visit.

Public transport to the site is not very good with a very long walk from TUBE Turnham Green or an awkward trip to NRLOGO Chiswick. Local buses do operate though. There is limited parking on-site.