Christmas at the Botanics brings the magic and wonder to Edinburgh (5 stars)

Light installation review: Christmas at the Botanics

One of Edinburgh's most attractive locations just became even more beautiful, with a festive light display that will delight all ages

Only a fool would try to compete with Mother Nature in the beauty stakes – but complementing her is a talent well within the grasp of Culture Creative. Working in partnership with the Royal Botanic Garden, the company has found a way to make one of the jewels in Edinburgh's crown shine even brighter.

There's already something special about being in the Botanics after dark, but seeing branches, bushes and buildings come alive with colourful illuminations is a truly magical affair, whatever your age.

Winding its way around the Garden, the one-mile trail has unexpected treasures at every turn, both visual and musical. Starting with the gorgeous Choir of Trees, a gathering of nine conifers coiled with lights, we hear each one 'singing' a different note until it builds into a sumptuous harmony.

A Fire Garden, ablaze with dozens of real flame torches, has tribal drums subtly delivering Christmas tunes; the romantic Mistletoe Moment corner (which you can kiss under) is playing Burns' Ae Fond Kiss; while the glass windows of Inverleith House are lit up in a stunning display of images backed by music from The Nutcracker.

And just when you think things couldn't get any more dazzling, you meet the enormous beech hedge bejewelled with golden lights, then walk onto pathways almost dancing with movement from the disco balls above (pictured).

If all that magic and wonder doesn't leave you feeling Christmassy, then stop by the wee cottage near the exit where Jack Frost and the big bearded man himself are waiting to say hello – in rhyme.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, until Sat 30 Dec

Christmas at the Botanics

A one mile illuminated trail that winds its way through the garden. Wander beneath the tree canopies bathed in seasonal colour, enjoy the sounds of the Choir of the Trees and keep an eye out for Santa and his elves. There's spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate to warm you up.

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Wed 13 Dec

Thu 14 Dec

Fri 15 Dec

…and 14 more dates until 30 Dec

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