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London Gems: 2017 Magical Lantern Festival

January is such a dreary time, especially in grey and cold London. However, if you want a bit of sparkle in your post-holidays life – head to Chiswick House and Garden for the Magical Lantern Festival. It was my second year in a row and I absolutely loved it. Check out photos and video below to see why.

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london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-yearMagical Lantern Festival has been running in London for two years now and marks annual celebrations of Chinese New Year. This year’s theme was the Silk Road, the ancient trade route from China to Europe. Having grown up in Central Asia, I was particularly excited and curious to see how the Silk Road would be recreated and portrayed. To my surprise, the display was of a such large scale – with over 50 elaborate large-size illuminations and installations.

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

The park trail takes you on a magical journey from ancient China to Europe. It captures sights of exotic animals, high seas, magical kingdoms, and cosmopolitan cities along the trade route that once connected East and West.

The water in park’s canal got frozen which only added to the mystical and magical feel of the lantern displays. The ice created a beautiful mirror reflection of this sailing ship.

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

These beautifully crafted sculptures celebrate cultural, political and historic prominence of the Silk Road in such entertaining and artistic way. You never get bored!

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

Everybody loved Buddha’s sculpture. So zen!

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And judging by the crowd reaction, kids particularly loved this Disney’s Aladdin display with Genie, Jafar, Alladin and Princess Jasmin.

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

Some of the lantern sculptures are so intricate that you wonder how they managed to do it. For example, this blue elephant was made out of different pieces of porcelain china. But photos do not do it justice, you have to see it yourself.

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And what Chinese New Year is complete without its Zodiac sign? 2017 is a Year of Rooster and it promises to be as colorful as this lantern.

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If you love pandas like I do, you will definitely get your fix. How cute are these guys?

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

And if you did get enough fun on the trail, there is also a mini amusement park with an ice-rink and a Ferris wheel, ice bar, and plenty of food stalls offering hot drinks and snacks.

Here is a short video I shot on my phone to give you a better feel for the festival.

I had such a lovely time at the festival and would definitely recommend it to Londoners and visitors. Just make sure to dress warmly and be ready to get immersed into the magical world of Chinese lanterns. Festival runs through 26 February, 2017. More info on dates and tickets is below.

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Dates: 19/01/2017-26/02/2017

Prices: £5.90 – £19.70

Address: Chiswick House Gardens, London, W4 2QN

Website: Magical Lantern Festival

Happy New Year of Rooster!

london-magical-lantern-festival-chinese-new-year

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