AN all new Christmas at the Botanics lights trail is returning to turn the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh into a dazzling winter wonderland.
It follows a hugely successful first year which attractewd more than 70,000 festive visitors last winter.
And organisers say it will be even bigger and brighter this year, providing a completely new and unique experience.
There will be over a million twinkling lights and 30 magical nights to experience it at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, from November 23 to December 29, 2018.
TICKETS: On sale now, visitors are advised to book early to secure a chosen slot. For details, times and prices visit www.rbge.org.uk.
Inspired by the magic of Christmas, the one-mile trail will weave through the Botanics using the Garden’s natural landscape and historic buildings as a backdrop for awe-inspiring visual effects.
New this year, the Cathedral of Light is an immersive installation comprising of more than 100,000 pea-lights.
The installation, never seen before in Scotland, will run for 70 metres alongside the famous Beech Hedge.
A new Scented Fire Garden by The Pond will provide moments of tranquillity and reflection for visitors.
Large light installations by both UK-based and international artists will be positioned on the trail at locations including the Garden’s magnificent Victorian Temperate Palmhouse.
As part of the Christmas offering, there will be a Santa show and seasonal food and drink along the way.
The event will conclude with a Festive Finale, created by Scottish-based designer Ross Ashton. His spectacular light project, Presents, will illuminate the façade of Inverleith House in time to much-loved Christmas classics.
Ashton’s work has featured at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, London’s New Year’s Eve, The Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations and the FIFA Football World Cup.
Kari Coghill, Director of Enterprise and Communication at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, said: “The Botanics attracts over 900,000 visitors a year. It is a magical place by day and equally special by night. Christmas at the Botanics enables our visitors to enjoy a completely different experience here at the Garden at night time.
“Income-generating events like this are crucial in supporting our plant research and conservation work, helping us to raise awareness of important projects such as our international work to protect threatened conifer species, which ties in well with the Christmas theme.”
With over 70,000 tickets sold for last year’s event, Creative Director Zoe Bottrell of Culture Creative, alongside Scottish lighting designers Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes, promise a greater immersive experience for all ages.
Zoe said: "This year we will continue to build on the success of the trail by working with artists who use innovative technology to create work that interacts with its audiences, such as Squidsoup who were showcased on Inverleith lawn last year. We are also delighted to be working with Mandylights - a group of artists from Australia to create Cathedral of Light - a huge immersive piece and what we hope will be a wonderful spectacle for people to enjoy as they walk through the garden."
Jonathan Marks, Chief Development Officer at Raymond Gubbay Ltd, which organises the event, says: “This year we are investing in new installations to make the trail even more exciting than ever before. Edinburgh at Christmas, and throughout the festive period, is one of the most magical cities in the world. Christmas at the Botanics offers an exceptional after-dark experience, adding to the wonderment that already exists within the city.
“We’re also working with a new Scottish caterer, Supreme, to indulge visitors’ taste buds, as well as their imaginations, as they wander through the magical light trail. We’re looking forward to returning to the Botanics and bringing to life another fantastic event through the power of light and sound.”
The Royal Botantic Garden Edinburgh is a leading international research organisation delivering knowledge, education and plant conservation action in more than 50 countries around the world.
Culture Creative, the design team behind this festive lighting display, which takes its inspiration from Blenheim Palace’s vast landscape and history, is Culture Creative, who have previously worked with English Heritage, the National Trust, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Forestry Commission and the National Trust for Scotland. For more information about Culture Creative please see their website culturecreative.co.uk
Christmas at the Botanics promoters Raymond Gubbay Ltd is recognised as being at the forefront of promoting and producing popular classical music, opera, ballet and events in the United Kingdom.
Christmas at The Botanical Gardens in one of a series of Christmas light trails which include Christmas at Kew, Christmas at Blenheim, Christmas at Dunham Massey and Christmas at the Botanics, all managed by Raymond Gubbay. Additionally, the company regularly presents over 500 performances each year in London, around the UK and abroad.