With the build up to Christmas already happening, The Bloke and I thought that we would start the festivities by attending the launch event of the Magic Lantern Festival at the Botanical Gardens last week.
This is the first time it is being held in Birmingham, having launched last year in London and is one of three lantern festivals being held across the UK. Celebrating both Chinese culture and Christmas, the installations are set across the 15 acres that the Botanical Gardens offers and promised to be an exciting experience for everyone.
We weren’t disappointed – the official launch was opened by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, accompanied by an impressive Chinese musical and dance performance, along with beautiful canapés of tempura vegetables, breaded chicken bites, mini hotdogs and cheeseburgers. We were then led outside to enjoy the exhibition for ourselves.
We were blessed that the evening was dark but clear, and as we walked around the trails we were impressed by the truly beautiful, colourful and diverse lanterns that lit our way. I was particularly proud of the enormous Birmingham Bull that was in the middle of one of the largest displays. In the dark, they are absolutely stunning and something completely unique – I’ve never seen anything like this (and certainly not on this scale) before.
I’ll let you see for yourselves – click on the pictures below for the full image. I took hundreds of pictures throughout the night, but don’t want to spoil the surprise of the whole thing…
Dotted around the trails are small vendors where different types of food and beverages can be purchased, so I treated myself to a couple of rather large marshmallows that I toasted in a small fire-pit nearby.
It took about ninety minutes to get through the entire exhibition, and both The Bloke and I had a really enjoyable evening. It’s perfect for a date night, family night or a unique evening with friends, although I would advise to wear sturdy shoes and bring a torch as it can get a little dark and muddy in places.
Want to go along to see the lanterns for yourself? It’s open from Thursday to Sunday every week and every day during the Christmas holidays, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Ticket prices start from £8.50 for children and £12.50 if they are booked in advance and there are options available for families and large groups.
Absolutely worth a visit during this holiday season!
Disclaimer: The Bloke and I were given free entrance and complimentary food and drinks for the festival, but were under no obligation to provide a positive review.