Christmas light trail will transform Kenwood into a winter wonderland
- Credit: Christmas at Kenwood
Wintry creatures hiding in the woods, spectacular lasers, and "thousands and thousands of fairy lights" will be part of a Christmas trail around Kenwood House.
Lighting designer Stephen Page promises "a lovely walk in a beautiful place" for the new attraction, which will follow a path through the grounds and light up both sides of the English Heritage mansion.
And he pledges to take care of Hampstead Heath's real woodland creatures: "Parts of Kenwood are an SSSI so we are working with the gardeners to look after the wildlife and protect the sensitive site, making sure not to upset any bats for example."
Page has designed lighting for nightclubs, theatre, and rock tours, but specialises in outdoor large scale events including a successful trail at Nottingham's Wollaton Hall last Christmas.
"Any of my work is a reaction to the subject," he says. "Whether you are lighting an actor, a rock 'n' roll band, a crowd in a club, or trees in woodland, you want to complement and enhance them creatively."
He's loved designing a trail for Kenwood: "It's really exciting to work in such a beautiful inspirational place. We are doing a specific treatment for this site, not just something cut out from other trails."
Starting at the back of the house, the route slopes upwards away from the sham bridge then loops through the woods, car park and garden before a "finale at the front entrance to send people on their way feeling Christmassy".
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Along the way, a series of installations accompanied by specially commissioned music will include snowflakes projected onto the house, an avenue of light, a fire garden, a laser garden, a flame sculpture and fairy walk.
"We are selling a dream," adds Page. "Hopefully people will be gasping with the effort that has gone into applying thousands and thousands of fairy lights. People have quite a lot of lights on their homes and gardens these days so I want them to be overwhelmed and mind boggled by the scale of it. They will discover surprises, meet some wintry creatures hiding in the woodland, come across fire, lasers, and giant Christmas paraphernalia, and a beautiful sculpture commissioned to fit in with the gardens."
Workers are already installing the trail ahead of the November 26 opening and Page pledges it will go ahead even if Covid rules change.
"Last year the trails were a lovely opportunity to be outside, safely distanced and enjoy each other's company. This year even if there are more restrictions, the trail is planned and ticketed to go ahead. The whole family can feel confident they can get together for a lovely winter walk."