We were extremely lucky to go and celebrate Chinese New Year at the Magical Lantern Festival at Chiswick House and Gardens in London on Saturday.
This year the festival also took place in Birmingham and Leeds and will be in London until February 26, 2017.
So what's it all about?
"The Magical Lantern Festival London is a spectacular fusion of art, heritage and culture. Illuminating outdoor installations of beautifully sculpted lanterns taking various forms.
The festival has entered its second year in London as the UK celebrates the Chinese New Year of the Rooster 2017 and the cultural significance surrounding this extraordinary event. The theme for this year’s festival is: ‘Explore The Silk Road’. Visitors will discover magnificent life-sized and oversized lantern scenes, which represent and highlight this significant route of trade and culture from Europe to Ancient China."
We took our three children along on the train, there is parking available but public transport is recommended. Chiswick House is around a 10 minute walk from Chiswick station and it is signposted (or just follow the crowds).
Once you have had your tickets scanned in at the gate you will enter into a dazzling world of giant sculptures. The queue moves fairly slowly as you meander your way around the trail of the Silk Road - this is mainly because everybody kept stopping to take photos.
I'd also recommend wellies as it got pretty squelchy in places as people ventured onto the grass to overtake others.
The huge sculptures are really amazing, if you've seen the film Coraline and imagine the garden scene with huge glowing flowers you'll understand what I mean.
Half way around there's a stall where you can buy big square marshmallows in some pretty unusual flavours -mango and sweet orange, vanilla bean and blueberry and spiced gin to name a few. These are £1.50 each! The novelty is getting to toast them over some big fire bowls. Here you can also buy mulled wine, spiced cider and hot chocolate there are also glow sticks and twirly light up things for sale.
The archway of Chinese lanterns is breath-taking, really stunning and my daughters loved the Kawaii style characters and pandas.
Once you've reached the end of the trail you will enter the entertainment zone. Here you'll find more food stalls, The Eis Haus Bar, a synthetic ice rink, virtual reality area and a few fairground rides including a ferris wheel (£3 per rider).
There is access for wheelchairs and buggies although muddy in parts - it is all fairly flat apart from a steep bridge over the water. We all really enjoyed ourselves and would recommend it to other families.
A little tip from us would be to wear wellies, maybe take a few glow sticks for the children and take a few of your own marshmallows - although the children did try the big ones they weren't overly keen on the flavours (I liked the mango one though).
Tickets are available here - it would be a great half-term activity for the family, it certainly gets a thumbs up from us.