I have never been to a Pride parade before, they do look so much fun but I tend to avoid anything that is overcrowded as I had a bad experience at the Notting Hill carnival back in the 90s. As I was attending a tour of Parliament in the early afternoon and I knew that there would be people milling around Trafalgar square I decided to take a stroll towards there and see if I could get some photos of the festivities.
I didn’t realise as I approached that actually the parade would be passing through at the same time and I managed to see all the emergency services and floats from lots of different companies all in support of the day. Trafalgar Square itself was so full I didn’t attempt to go all the way up there but Whitehall was full of people but not too congested.
I am so glad I took a walk to see the parade, it was such a joy to photograph so much colour and happiness and the atmosphere was truly electric. To top off the afternoon England won their game against Sweden and the jubilance continued on!
On Wednesday I was invited, as a TimeOut tastemaker, to the opening of the magical lantern festival held in the grounds of Chiswick house in West London.
The festival is to celebrate the upcoming Chinese new year, which this year is the year of the rooster. The theme for the festival is ‘Explore the silk road’ and it is filled with amazing pieces of art in the form of oversized lantern scenes lit up in bright colours.
I am not very familiar with Chiswick so tried to plan my route as best I could, unfortunately there seemed to be some sort of flood on the Victoria line so I had to take a total of four buses to get there!
I took my daughter and it was a freezing cold evening which she wasn’t impressed with. Once we reached the park and could see the giant handmade sculptures through the fence we had to navigate our way around passing three gates that were all closed before asking a passer by to direct us to the correct entrance. I think they should definitely have better signage or another entrance because I was already worn out before even getting there!
Once inside the park I was really impressed with the amount of sculptures on show, they seemed to go on for ever and I only managed to photograph a few because my hands were just too cold to hold the camera.
My favourite scenes were the ones overlooking the lake as the reflection of the lights on the water make them look even more magical. We followed a trail which you could take at your own pace and half way round there was an area that sold marshmallows that you could heat up on the fire and a few other pop up shops (unfortunately I didn’t notice any that sold coffee). There is apparently an ice rink and other attractions such as fair ground rides but I didn’t see them, although we were in a rush as we knew we had a long journey home and we were freezing (did I mention it was cold)
I think had the night been a bit milder and we didn’t have to walk miles to find the entrance to the park we would have enjoyed it more and stuck around to see what else was happening but I am glad that I got to see the amazing work and would definitely recommend a visit, especially with little ones.
The festival is on until 26th February and tickets are around £14 for a child (4-16) and £20 for an adult but there are other prices for families, groups and concessions.