A giant illuminated Rubik's cube and disco balls twinkling in the trees are among the spectacular light effects at Christmas at Kenwood.

The newly designed trail around the Hampstead Heath mansion also features interactive buttons where walkers can release bubbles into giant tubes, or launch laser beams onto the trees.

It's the third year running that the English Heritage site has run the festive attraction. Christmas at Kenwood creative director Katherine Jewkes is part of the team at events promoter Kilimanjaro Live who are designing the trail.Ham & High: The light trail is brand new for 2023 and includes interactive elements, and light displays on the house facade synched to musicThe light trail is brand new for 2023 and includes interactive elements, and light displays on the house facade synched to music (Image: Christmas at Kenwood)

As well as spotlighting Kenwood's glorious nature setting, Jewkes, whose past projects have included the Bristol Light Festival and Manchester International Festival, is injecting some "retro fun".

"It's interactive and completely different to what has been done before," she said.

"My background is in immersive events in public spaces. This is my first Christmas trail but I absolutely love Christmas, and Kenwood's Lime Tree avenue is one of my favourite places in London, so being able to light it as a rainbow has been a joy.

"When I worked at the National Theatre of Wales we did events in a fort and on beaches. It's fantastic the ability for light to transform the way we see a space, then as we revisit them in time, the memories of those installations can linger for a long time. It's a really beautiful legacy."

Jewkes revealed the delights of this year's trail includes spectacular light shows projected onto the front and back of the house synched to music. Visitors enter via Kenwood's East Lodge, then "loop back" onto the Heath.Ham & High: Past light trails have illuminated the trees at KenwoodPast light trails have illuminated the trees at Kenwood (Image: Polly Hancock)

"The idea was to get the nicest perspective on the house, it gives you an amazing approach from the bottom of the Heath and a beautiful view of the back of the house, illuminated with beams of light," she said.

Other effects include a rainbow lighting effect on Lime Tree avenue with a button to press to "add an extra twinkle," giant dandelions where visitors can make "wild wishes," a laser field, and "a lovely space we have created with a giant Rubik's cube."

Her favourite pat of the trail is the disco balls hung in trees and the "reflections they cast onto the ground." It all ends with a son et lumiere at the front of the house, and a chance to enjoy a hot chocolate or drink around a fire pit.

Jewkes emphasises the trail is step free with tracks laid down to make it buggy friendly: "Christmas trails have become a joyful and magical way to get together as a family or with friends, have a wander around and a drink, and see these amazing spaces in a different light - as my dad says: 'It's the new Pantomime.'"

Christmas at Kenwood runs from Dcember 1 to January 1.