The lawns of The Runnymede on Thames are being transformed into a winter wonderland this festive season. And it begins with a life-sized snow globe…
Snow globes offer the quintessential image of Christmas. An idyllic scene with snow billowing all around, snow globes catch a perfect moment in time. There are a few theories about when and where snow globes actually originated, all of which seem to hinge on chance creations.
One story says that snow globes first started in 19th century France, when glass blowers who previously started a paperweight craze created something akin to the snow globes we know today. Indeed, snow globes are known to have been exhibited at the Paris Universal Expo of 1878, so there may be some truth to this story.
However, around a similar time, an Austrian creator is said to have designed the snow globe – and received the first ever patent for it. Erwin Perzy was a designer of surgical instruments. He was fascinated by the Schusterkugel – a flask of water used to focus candlelight that had been used since the Middle Ages. Erwin was experimenting with using this concept to intensify light to create a surgical lamp. Using particles made of various materials to reflect light, he noted how these particles looked like snowfall. He ran with the idea and built a snow globe. Quickly becoming inundated with orders for more, he went on to open a snow globe shop in Vienna with his brother.
The company ‘Original Vienna Snow Globes’ still exists to this day and produces around 200,000 snow globes per year. The company has 350 designs and the ability to produce bespoke creations too. Many notable people from across the world have requested snow globes from the company, including a number of former US Presidents and their children. The material the snow is made from – which floats for much longer in water compared to many other snow globe producers – continues to be a trade secret…
Inspired by the magical feeling snow globes bring at the festive time of year, we decided to take the invention a step further by creating a life sized snow globe! You’ll be able to step into a snow globe with a winter forest scene – complete with a snow carpet inside and outside the snow globe – with fake snow blowing around the globe. Come in to get that perfect Christmas photo, or book the snow globe to enjoy a festive afternoon tea inside!
The Christmas experience continues on our Lounge terrace this winter, which will have a distinctly Christmas market feeling. Our shiny Airstream trailer will be parked up too, serving everything from mulled wine to turkey and cranberry hotdogs.
Look no further for a quirky Christmas experience this year!
Following the latest government announcement, we are delighted to share the news that we will be re-opening the hotel including our restaurants, lounge and riverside terraces from Monday 17th May. The Spa will re-open to members and non-residents from Monday 12th April.