London Diary – Magic Lantern and Orchid Festival!

Feb 27 and 28, 2016

Another weekend full of wonderful experience!

Chiswick House

Lantern Festival has come to London the first time this winter, and it has led to the discovery of Chiswick House and Garden. The garden is impressively expansive. There had been multiple buildings on the estate during its interesting history, the one still standing is a Palladian 18th century villa built by Lord Burlington. The interior is a number of rich, elegant, gilded rooms, and door surrounds and pilasters reminiscent of temples, and a collection of stunning paintings, including a set of beautiful paintings of the house and garden, which clearly reflects its glorious past.

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Magic Lantern Festival

Magic Lantern Festival is held at Chiswick House in the evenings. It was sold out on Saturday and we had to try again on Sunday but we booked online in advance on the second attempt. A large number of lanterns are arranged through out the immense garden and along a certain path that visitors follow. The lanterns come in all sizes, shapes and variety, to name a few, pandas, giraffes, mighty dragon, Chinese Zodiac, Temple of Heaven, and a Cinderella scene. They are colorful, and so bright, the garden was ablaze in the dark. It was a spectacular!

Kew Garden

Feb. has been the chilliest this winter, in the meantime, there has been more sunshine. But somehow it’s fallen into this pattern, while mostly sunny during the week, it would become disappointingly cloudy on the weekend, and more likely to rain/drizzle, to boot. As a result I had put off my plan to visit Kew Garden since I learnt of the Orchid Festival, for at least 4 weekends. Finally, this past Sunday, I made it to Kew Garden.

The garden is immense and although still winter, it has enough evergreen to maintain a fresh look, in the meantime, daffodils and a few other flowers have begun to bloom, it was looking very lovely. We had a delightful time strolling through roughly half of it in 4 hours’ time.

Kew Garden is one of the Royal Parks, Queen Charlotte had a cottage in the garden. I couldn’t help but imagine the days when the park was reserved for the use of only one family, the royal family. Some highlights in the park are a beautiful Japanese garden and its stunning pagoda, a lily pond, a lake, ancient giant red woods and a palm house. Most amazing is Prince Wales Conservatory where the Orchid Festival is housed. In addition to a tremendous amount of orchids, there is a large variety of cactuses and other exotic flowers, it was marvelously beautiful.

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