You know, I’m quite the scheduler. Not only in life, but when it comes to the blog. If you would go to my little posts area on WordPress, if I’m organised then you’ll usually see the weeks 3 posts all lined up, along with a whole lot of drafts in various states. Buuut well, I went to the Magical Lantern Festival last night in Chiswick, and really, I want to try and share it with you guys before it ends on the 6th of March. So here we are, on a little unplanned, scheduled post. I may even just press publish when I finish writing (what am I kidding, I’ll definitely still schedule it to pop up in a couple of hours!).
So Chiswick? Yeah, not the location which many people hit up in London. But we have been a few times actually, when it’s summer (oh how I miss you), we would get on our little bikes and cycle through Hammersmith to Chiswick and Banres. Mainly ’cause this is the home of awesome riverside pubs. Seriously, so many. But also, if you ever want house envy, then come to Chiswick. I swear every house must be worth millions, they are all huuuuge!
Anyway, when I saw the Magical Lantern Festival was on at Chiswick House and Gardens, I was very keen as I haven’t made it there yet. In my mind, when I booked, I figured we could jump on the bikes and cycle. But, well as I’m working in East London, that didn’t happen. But don’t fret friends, even if you are in Central or East London, the journey over wasn’t too shabby – a train from Waterloo to Chiswick, then a quick 12 minute walk. Easy.
Onto the lanterns, with Chinese New Year just past, this is the first time the Lantern Festival has come to the UK. As is traditional in Chinese New Year, lanterns are made and displayed in various locations. This has the same background but just on a huuuuge scale! Lanterns have been made of everything from a giant dragon, to a hoard of pandas, and a whole lot centering around the Year of the Monkey.
When you first arrive, there is an area for food, Paul got a freaking delish venison and halloumi burger, whereas I sprang for a ham and cheese crepe. You need energy to keep warm in this chilly weather! When you buy a ticket, it is timed to allow less crowds when you enter the festival.
Firstly, I was so impressed by how huge it was! Honestly, it probably took us an hour alone just to walk through it all, then it obviously depends on how often you stop as to how long it will take you. At the beginning we were taking snaps of everything, but then we realised just how much there is!
The lanterns themselves are all organised in sections, dotted throughout the garden. The route is well designed so you can usually get a good view of the lanterns from various angles. They are also well defined in that you will stand to one side to view it, meaning even if there are a few people around, you can still get a really good view and snap some pictures.
The lanterns are amazing, there are some seriously huge displays, think Noahs ark and all the various animals. However, I really liked how they were set out, that there was always more coming up, and it wound you through the park in a one way flow which worked well with the crowds. About half way through there is another area where you can pitstop for food, and they also had marshmellows which you can sit and roast on the fire!
I do really recommend if you have some time over the next few weeks to head out that way, it was half term when we went so was full of children but if you go next week then will likely be a bit quieter. The big thing I recommend is that it will be freezing, and although I was wrapped in a coat and scarf, I really regretted not bringing gloves. My hands were burning by the end with all the snaps that I was taking. Wear some good shoes too, it can get a bit muddy as you wander through.
It’s something a bit different, and one of the main things I love about London is the variety of cool things which are available to see and do! And yes, we did end up getting an Uber home ’cause tired, but the journey home would have been just as easy!
What do you think of the Chinese lanterns?