LISTEN: Christmas At The Botanics 2018 - an exclusive preview this all new dazzling spectacular

The Cathedral of Light immersive installation has 100,000 pea-lights alone
The Cathedral of Light immersive installation has 100,000 pea-lights alone
Promoted by Christmas At The Botanics

BIGGER, better and brighter than ever Christmas At The Botanics is back with more than one million dazzling lights and we have been given an exclusive look at what families can expect.

It includes a spectacular and jaw-dropping Cathedral Of Light which is 70 meters long, seven meters high and alone boasts 100,000 individual lights.

Christmas light lovers - who will be able to walk the trail at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh from November 23 to December 29 - will also get to explore an avenue of electric trees, a fire garden, a vortex tunnel and a full copse of singing Christmas trees.

Huge sculptures by world famous and local artists will be painted in light and iconic venue buildings like the Glasshouse and Inverleith House will be transformed with amazing new light and sound projections.

BUY TICKETS: Tickets are on sale now and visitors are being advised to book early to secure a chosen slot. For details, times and prices visit www.rbge.org.uk.

AUDIO: Listen to our exclusive guided tour chat and top tips about how to get the most out of your visit with Creative Director Zoe Bottrell - CLICK HERE.

Culture Creative, working with Scottish lighting designers Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes, promise a greater immersive experience for all ages at the event promoted Raymond Gubbay Ltd, which organises the event.

The installation work will begin week commencing November 5.

But today Creative Director Zoe Bottrell, of Culture Creative, lit the way as she gave us a 'virtual guided tour' - listen to our full chat with her online - and below we bring you all the bullet point highlights.

She said: "As the shows get bigger, better and brighter, certainly the number of lights goes up and it's not just about the big intelligent moving light and colour changing lights - it is also down to all of those pea lights

"Our new Cathedral of Light is a huge installation and will have over a 100,000 pea lights in that itself.

"We will have something like 25 kilometres of cable on site and it will take somewhere in the region of 20 to 30 crew and artists to put the experience on the ground, with actors and technicians and there's a dozen people on site every night to make sure the lights and audio systems all run smoothly.

"I can come up with a great idea. But these are the guys that actually make it work and important to ensuring that families enjoy a great show."

But she laughed: "My crews hate the phrase I've had a good idea."

A new Scented Fire Garden by The Pond

A new Scented Fire Garden by The Pond

She said of this year's trail: "It's really about the Botanical Gardens - we are trying to really highlight some of the key and special things that sit on that site and we do that by working really closely with the team there and focusing on their work, particularly around its conifer collection.

"We all know them as Christmas trees, but actually they're conifers and they come in all different shapes and sizes. So we made a real focus on that."

The trail should take at least one hour and here are this year's start to finish highlights.

1. Carbonium: A dazzling avenue of electric trees will greet visitors as the leave John Hope Gateway - the five to seven meters tall carbonium trees are by French company Tilt, who designed last year's huge Epidermis.

2. Starry Skies: Next enter a huge canopy of light that will swing above your head as you move along the footpath - plus the first opportunity to then allow you to get into a little bit of food drink let you have a stop along the way we're working with Caterers from both Edinburgh and Glasgow to look at providing great food and drink as you go along the trail,

3. Feast of Light: This avenue of conifer trees offers a fantastic immersive experience to walk through the lights themselves - as artists Squidsoup return with Feast of Light.

Glasshouse Show: A highlight of the trail

Glasshouse Show: A highlight of the trail

4. Conifer Tree Trail: Head for the lit waterfall and ponds towards East Gate and pick up a Conifer Tree Trail map - a great way to discoer a number of key conifers around the trail.

5. Fire Garden: Here the trail really hots up with a new scented fire garden with real flames and a 4.5 meter high Christmas tree taking centre stage all designed by artist Pa-Boom.

6. Lily of the Valley: Next up a tranquil, low lit area, sensitive to wildlife in the Garden, where artist Tilt have designed beautiful sculptural plants for this part of the trail, known as Lily Of The Valley.

7. Glasshouse Show: A highlight of the trail will again be a stop on route to be dazzled by this light and sound installation as changing coloured lights are projected onto the towering buildings in time with a stirring soundtrack. Another food stop to sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

8. Cathedral of Light: And if you thought that was something up next is the jaw-dropping twinkling star - all 100,000 of them - of this year's show - the 70 meters long and seven meters high Cathedral Of Light by Australian artist Mandylights.

Never seen before in Scotland, it is covered in 100,000 pea lights and will run alongside the famous Beech Hedge. Visitors can walk through with the wonderful cathedral-like window at the end of it, as you head back towards John Hope Gateway.

9. Santa Panto: Remember the avenue of singing trees last year? There's going to be a whole copse of them for a boogie-woogie experience as you head to the Santo Panto - not a one-on-one experience, but a show with Father Christmas and his elves especially for the young ones, by the acclaimed Walking Theatre Company.

10. Vortex: Heading back towards Inverleith House you will walk through a Vortex - a twisted tunnel of lights - watch out, they may make you feel a bit wobbly, as you feel your perspective constantly turning and changing.

11. Dear Santa Show: The big finale will see trail highlights and a few Christmas surprises projected on the front of Inverleith house - the work, title Presents, is by Scottish-based designer Ross Ashton, famed for his work at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, London’s New Year’s Eve, The Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations and the FIFA Football World Cup.

12. Mistletoe Moment: As you leave Inverleith House you will be invited to take a moment with your loved ones to share a traditional Christmas kiss under the Mistletoe. And for those who completed the conifer trees trail - write your Christmas wish on the back of your trail card and hang it on the special wishing tree.

Christmas At The Botanics

Christmas At The Botanics

Explore an avenue of electric trees and more

Explore an avenue of electric trees and more