Well, better late than never, I’d say. Back in 2015 (which feels so long ago now), I attended my first Electric Gardens in Glasgow. The year’s title was Lux Botanicum, promising a mix of colourful light installations, fire shows and activities for the whole family. As someone who loves the Glasgow Botanics in any weather, this was a great chance to see them all lit up by night.
A friend of mine was just as excited and we took off to spend our evening at the other end of town – from our point of view at least. I had decided to take my tripod and give night photography a shot for the first time. Needless to say, the visit involved a lot of ‘Wait for me, I need to pack up my stuff’ and ‘Oh my, I’m so sorry for hitting you with that thing AGAIN!’. Good thing she was a good sport about. Being an enthusiastic photographer herself, Alex took the bruises I caused with a smile.
Instead of taking the main entrance, we walked through the gates on the side of Queen Margaret Drive, just behind the Kibble Palace just after 7pm on a Wednesday. The staff were very friendly and welcoming and some certainly had a grin on their face when they saw me fumbling around with my tripod. Alas, it was worth the effort!
We made our way around the lit up path along the Kibble Palace and decided to have a look inside before exploring the gardens. Inside, there was a crafts table with a screen installed next to it, where you could attempt your own shadow theatre with cardboard bats. Not quite for me but palm trees and statues were lit up beautifully, working incrdibly well with the lights on the outside.
We then made our way to scope out what was going on outside. With the natural setting of the Botanics being used so well, we weren’t quite sure where to go next. Luckily, the fire show was about to start and took that decision from us. Quite impressively, the team of three on the stage entertained the crowd for a good ten minutes with their firey acrobatics. Even though the show was on regularly for the evening, the sound didn’t carry much. After leaving the stage behind, the path got quiet quickly, which allowed each installation to work well individually.
Between each individual installation, the path is lit up with all imaginable colours. They change slowly and softly and make the setup seem very fluid.
As we moved forward, we were surprised to spot masks in trees and large disco balls, again accompanied by music, as well as an impromptu dance party of a group of students. Quite unfortunately, we couldn’t see the installations in the rose garden. As we walked along it, all the lights there went out – it seemed that a fuse had blown, as the area remained blacked for quite a while. From what I heard, the area was arranged very well, with some smoke even, so it’s too bad we weren’t able to catch that part.
Our personal favourite was the path of shimmering snowflakes. The blue and green lights of the trees surrounding the path was perfect in setting the mood for the installation and fit the theme. The light was truly paramount in making them appear as snowflakes and additionally matched the cold weather of the night.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening, despite the hiccup with the rose garden. With a hurricane just behind us the weeks before and another storm on its way, some shows had been cancelled the nights before and might have been the reason why the night we spent there was quieter than expected. Nevertheless, I would very much recommend everyone to visit the Electric Gardens at least once.
There are some other similar light events across Scotland such as the Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry, the Electric Glen or the Electric Gardens at the Edinburgh Botanics. Even if you can’t make it to Glasgow, there are plenty of chances to attend outstanding events like this.
Have you been to any light shows around Scotland? Which was your favourite? I’d love to hear about it and see many more this year.
See you around,
The Electric Gardens are on between November and December every year, with 2015’s event running from the 13th of November to the 6th of December.
You can timed tickets, with doors opening at 5.30pm until 8pm, available every day except Mondays and Tuesdays. Tickets are £8-12 | Children (5 to 14) £5-7 | Families £25-36 | We visited on a week night and got an additional discount on our tickets because of that. About a month in advance, you can also get cheaper early bird tickets.