FIRST LOOK: Christmas At The Botanics 2022 dazzles with Northern Lights showstopper

Dreaming of a bright Christmas and the spectacular Northern Lights?

Then top of your festive wish list should be a trip to the sixth annual Christmas at the Botanics at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

And when you get there, look up.

Aurora, this year's dazzling new showstopper, is an overhead installation which celebrates the stunning visual tones of the Aurora Borealis with dancing waves of colour.

"No matter how cloudy it gets this year you'll be able to see the Northern Lights here. It's tens of thousands of lights above your head with shooting stars," says Zoe Bottrell, managing director of trail creators Culture Creative, who bring the Christmas magic with promoters Sony Music and Raymond Gubbay.

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Christmas queen Zoe Bottrell reveals magical new lights trail highlights

BUY TICKETS: Christmas At The Botanics is now open on selected nights to December 30 – for entry time slots and more information CLICK HERE.

Aurora, by UK artists Ithaca, is making its first ever appearance in Scotland. But there's more.

Over a million sparkling lights make this sixth annual after-dark lights trail the most twinkly yet and it open for an extra sixth week to meet demand, after 92,000 visitors turned up last year.

It has been created though with sustainability in mind.

The installations are low in energy usage. More than 90% of the trail is LED lit using the Garden’s main power supply to remove the need for generators, while lighting is only used where necessary for public safety.

This is immersive experience of lights, sounds, with a background soundtrack of Christmas songs, carols and orchestrated festive classics, plus smells, with plenty of festive food and drinks, at extra cost, from vendors along the trail.

Tree tops glisten and shimmer, drenched in seasonal colours, with other jaw dropping installations on the one mile trail including a snowflake show, giant sized luminous Lilies on the Botanics pond, created by artist Jig Cochrane, of Jiganticsn and Floraison, from French artistic collective Pitaya, featuring 240 red, glowing flowers that appear to blossom on trees along the path of the Chinese Hillside.

Feathers, by UK artists Pyrite Creative, sees huge UV feathers which appear to float gracefully in the trees above visitors as they pass.

Christmas Gifts by Woody Fox, is an installation of 14 giant wicker sculptured Christmas presents.

Edison Trees features 60 reproductions of filament bulbs made popular by London’s historic Edison Electric Light Company.

Aurora, this year's dazzling Christmas At The Botanics showstopper, is an overhead installation which celebrates the stunning Northern Lights.

Returning favourites include the Inverleith House projection and magnificent Christmas Cathedral, a towering, 60-metres long walk-through archway, festooned with over 100,000 lights.

Also back is the Fire Garden, lit with real-flame torches, and Laser Garden. Santa also makes a brief appearance.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a world-leading scientific organisation, a globally important resource, and a charity funded by the Scottish Government and by visitor income. Visitors to the trail are helping to fund the Garden’s plant conservation work, which addresses biodiversity loss and the impact of the climate crisis.

Kari Coghill, Director of Enterprise and Communication at the Garden, said: “Christmas at the Botanics has increased in popularity each year and has become one of the city’s most popular festive traditions. Its opening is a milestone moment in the capital’s festive calendar that kicks off the holiday season feeling for so many people.

“Bringing new installations to the trail is exciting and we are also bringing back much-loved favourites this year too, such as the light projection on the front of Inverleith House and Christmas Cathedral, a tunnel of sparkling lights which has provided so many fantastic Christmas images for visitors in recent years.

“Visitors to the light trail contribute directly to our wider work because our profits from ticket sales support the Garden’s plant research and conservation efforts in Scotland and around the world.

Festive favourite Christmas Cathedral returns to the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. Photo by Phil Wilkinson

“Part of the joy of the trail is that it is a chance to be in the Botanics after dark and to experience the Garden from a whole new perspective. Our trail designers have been appointed on the strength of their experience of working in environmentally sensitive ways in heritage and landscape settings.

"This year’s trail is the best yet.”

Jonathan Marks, Director at Raymond Gubbay, the division of Sony Music which is promoting the event, said: “It is always exciting to open Christmas at the Botanics.

"The trail attracted over 90,000 visitors during its five-week run last year and we hope that this year’s trail will inspire even more people to come and enjoy the trail, a festive tradition for so many. Everyone involved in the production has worked hard to provide a special experience for all who attend as they explore installations old and new.”

Christmas at the Botanics is one of 15 illuminated trails staged across the UK with others in America, Australia and France, by leading events promoter Raymond Gubbay Limited, a division of Sony Music. Christmas at the Botanics is presented in partnership with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and creative producer Culture Creative.

* Christmas At The Botanics visitors are encouraged to book in advance to avoid disappointment, with popular early evening and weekend entry timed slots selling out fast. For tickets and more information CLICK HERE.


Twitter: #mychristmastrails

Christmas at the Botanics turns Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh into a winter wonderland. Photo by Phil Wilkinson
Floraison, from French artistic collective Pitaya, featuring 240 red, glowing flowers
Shine a light! Edison Trees feature huge filament bulbs celebrating London’s historic Edison Electric Light Company. Photo by Phil Wilkinson.