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Night Lights: The Magic Lantern Festival at Chiswick House

The lights of Christmas may now be a fading memory, but thankfully there’s a new show in town to brighten up these gloomy winter nights.

Chiswick House and Gardens plays host to the Magic Lantern Festival for the second year running and this time the theme is ‘The Silk Road’. At this Chinese New Year celebration, huge lanterns map out the trade route between Europe and Ancient China, starting with a 15-metre-wide lantern of the Houses of Parliament. The organisers promise this year’s event—the largest lantern festival in Europe—is bigger, brighter and more spectacular than anything seen before.

Wandering through the gardens, the scene is impressive—soldiers on horseback, giant pandas and a depiction of Swan Lake are just some of the highlights of the trail. It’s a completely different experience to the one you may have seen last year.

It takes about an hour and a half to walk the route, which winds its way through the park and gardens. For those of you thinking about taking young children, there’s only one entrance and exit point and scooters, skates and bikes are banned. The café is open though, if you need to feed, water or change your little ones. If you’re happy to brave the elements, there’s a wide array of food and drink stalls in the outdoor entertainment area, as well as an ice bar, ice rink, virtual reality gaming experience and a mini funfair.

The event runs Thursdays to Sundays until the 26th of February and will open every day during the February half term holiday. Tickets must be bought in advance from www.magicallantern.uk and children aged four and under get in free.

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