Now in its third year, Kenwood's illuminated festive trail is a fresh collaboration with events specialist Kilimanjaro Live.

Trailblazed by the likes of Kew Gardens and Chiswick House, these Christmas spectaculars came into their own during the pandemic as a way for families to get festive together outdoors.

They are also a fundraising opportunity for cash-strapped heritage organisations.

Ham & High: The Lime Avenue at KenwoodThe Lime Avenue at Kenwood (Image: Christmas at Kenwood)

Along the route there are plenty of pit stops for mulled wine and hot chocolate and here, the beautiful surroundings of the 18th Century mansion come into their own with a giant colour-changing Christmas tree, food stalls and festive marshmallow toasting over an open fire in the yard of the Brew House cafe.

The trail itself takes an hour, depending on your mobility, and first leads downhill onto the Heath before looping back to a selfie spot in front of a glittery Kenwood sign that riffs on the iconic Hollywood logo.

Ham & High: Interactive aspects include giant tubes you can press a button to change colourInteractive aspects include giant tubes you can press a button to change colour (Image: Christmas at Kenwood)

With the back of the house bathed in coloured lights shooting beams onto the trees below, it was a good start to our damp, chilly walk.

There are interactive elements this year: Kenwood's Lime Avenue is strung with orbs that change colour when you press a button. Later there are what look like giant test tubes filled with bubbles, which also change colour as you hit a plate, and another installation shoots lasers into the trees.

It may be more playful, with plenty of selfie spots, but some of the installations were missing the uplift and wow factor of past trails here and elsewhere, and the usually emotive soundscape was a little patchy.

Ham & High: The best effect was lights lasers and dry ice on a woodland pathThe best effect was lights lasers and dry ice on a woodland path (Image: Christmas at Kenwood)

We braved a sticky, muddy path to see an illuminated cube, which didn't really do much, and like the tube of bubbles and an illuminated present, it seemed a bit plonked down in the space.

Trails are at their best when effects, music and environment come together - the best moment was a woodland path where lasers, dry ice, lights, and music created a spectacularly eerie effect.

We loved the disco balls in the trees, but felt the accompanying music could have been more upbeat and Christmassy. It made for a slightly anti-climactic end to the trail.

Ham & High: A present lit up at Christmas at KewA present lit up at Christmas at Kew (Image: Christmas at Kenwood)

Past years have seen a choreographed sound and light show projected onto the front of the house, but this year the faint music and swirls of snowflakes were a bit underwhelming.

Kenwood may lack the percussive fountains and palm house projections of Kew, but it's a stunning setting that perhaps deserves a little more imagination.

Christmas at Kenwood runs until January 1.