Who needs the Northern Lights – Magical Lantern 2016

 

The Magical Lantern Festival makes its UK Premiere at Chiswick House & Gardens in London 2016 transforming the environment into an extravaganza of lights, culture, art and cuisine.

The Festival is an outdoor event, a festival of light and illumination celebrating Chinese New Year 2016 and the Year of the Monkey.

First of all you will come across food stalls and merchandise at the beginning of the festival.  So if you are hungry I highly recommend that you buy something then and there. There is a burger stand, crepes stand and Churros.  The burger stand does not sell beef type burgers instead a venison or halloumi one but don’t let that put you off as the venison burgers are very meaty and tasty.  Also the chips are made out of sweet potato and so they are very rich and delicious in flavour. On the crepe stall you can buy all sorts of different flavoured crepes from white chocolate to your normal lemon (fresh) and sugar type.  The white chocolate was heavenly I seriously was in pure chocolate heaven and the chocolate was oozing out of my crepe everywhere but that did not put me off as I was as I said in chocolate heaven after all. Half way through the event you will come across two more food/drink stalls one selling hot chocolate type drinks and the other different flavoured marshmallows (ie blueberry & gin, passionfruit & ginger, Coconut etc).  I had a coconut flavoured one and it was amazing.  So gooey and creamy after cooking  over the barbeque type flamepit that was under a hut with a fence around them. You just have to try them and it was such fun cooking them over the flamepit along with the many other visitors.   At the end of the walk around the grounds looking at all the amazing colourful lanterns you will see another stall selling Caribbean type food.  However even though the food stalls were all great I would of liked to of seen some Chinese type food stalls at the event especially considering it was celebrating the year of the Monkey.  Also please note merchandise can only be brought at the beginning of the festival before you go through to start your magical light journey. However I did not think much of the merchandise that was on sale.

The event takes around 75 minutes to get around the picturesque, beautifully kept and landscaped grounds.  If you love taking photos it will take you longer than 75 minutes to get around.  It took me and my husband just over 90 minutes.  We took over 450 photos between us, crazy I know.  So if you love art, displays, lights and animals then this is a photographers and art lovers dream as it is visually spectacular with its many beautifully made life-size lanterns and giant ones at that from animals, birds, plants, buildings and abstract lantern designs of all shapes.  Some of my best lanterns in my view that I saw and loved was the dragon, squirrels, pandas and the ducks. The event is based on a Chinese cultural adventure leading through various themed zones from Africa to pond life and to mark the Year of the Monkey 2016, a Mount Huaguo lantern with an illuminated waterfall will provide the fairytale setting for an intricate recreation of popular Chinese fable, The Monkey King. At the very end of the festival walk you will come to a love heart with sunflowers around it which is great for a photo opportunity.  However for some reason when we went the stairs to stand directly in front of the heart was taped off and so was the sunflowers as some you could stick your head through so that was a big disappointment.

The light festival has to be seen to be believed as the lanterns and the light that comes of them is like nothing I have ever seen before.  Just magical properly even more amazing than seeing the Northern lights.  Highly recommend a visit and take plenty of batteries for your camera or a charger for your mobile phone. Enjoy.

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