Christmas at Kenwood: 'Winter wonderland' primed for Hampstead Heath

The Christmas show is planned between November 26 to January 9

The Christmas show is planned between November 26 to January 9 - Credit: Christmas at Kenwood

A “dazzling winter wonderland” is lined up for Kenwood House this Christmas – for the first time ever. 

Christmas at Kenwood would see festive illuminations and installations light up the landmark stately home and its gardens between November 26 to January 9.  

The proposal, subject to planning permission, is for “an immersive display of light, fire and sound” which organisers say will allow visitors to “step into a Winter Narnia like no other”. 

The Christmas event is being run by Kilimanjaro Live, in partnership with the site’s owner, English Heritage.  

The Christmas at Kenwood website states: “Perched on the edge of Hampstead Heath, the tranquil landscaped gardens will become home to an illuminated trail that invites visitors to see the historical landscape in a new light, as they step into a dazzling winter wonderland.  

“Brand new for 2021, visitors of all ages will be captivated by this visually stunning, multi-sensory mix of light, fire and sound. A seasonal classic with a contemporary twist, sure to become a beloved tradition.” 

Neighbourhood groups have expressed support for the festive plan, which will include kiosks and bars sectioned off by fencing.  

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Helen Payne, membership secretary for Friends of Kenwood, said the event would help generate “much-needed” income at a “critical” time coming out of coronavirus restrictions, while also boosting Kenwood’s profile. 

“We recognise that such events may offer the opportunity for a diverse audience to visit Kenwood and we encourage that,” Helen said.

“We would particularly like to know the impact of the event on ordinary visits to Kenwood, and our overriding concern is always to ensure the House, its incredible art collection, and the Kenwood estate are well cared for.”

The last time summer concerts were held at Kenwood was 2013. Picture: CUFFC

Kenwood House - Credit: Archant

William Britain, chair of the Highgate Society, said: “This Christmas especially people will be looking forward to an opportunity to enjoy themselves, and it will understandably be attracting large crowds.  

“During the winter when the ground will be muddy, we hope the Kenwood management will have measures in place to minimise erosion damage.” 

Alicia Pivaro, chair of the Highgate Neighbourhood Forum, said that as venues have faced significant challenges in recent months, new ideas to attract visitors are “understandable”.  

“It will be lovely for locals to have a wonderful Christmas experience on our doorstep and hopefully local schools will get to visit for free,” Alicia said.  

A decision on whether to approve the scheme is expected from Camden Council in the coming weeks. Residents can comment on the plans until September 26 using application number 2021/3797/P.