Winter Light Festivals 2019

Winter Light Festivals 2019

07/11/2019 Off By Deborah Welsh

Add some sparkle to your life with these cool twinkle-fests

The dark nights are upon us and Christmas will soon be here so what better way to kick start the winter season than a visit to some of the best light festivals around. We’re always looking for things to brighten up a dull day at this time of year and you can’t go wrong with twinkly lights and magical surroundings after dark. This week, I’ve taken a look at some of the best winter light extravaganzas around the country and there are some absolute dazzlers.

So, wrap up, grab your friends and family and head down to one of these gorgeous, sparkly events that are sure to warm your heart and ward off any winter blues…

Lightopia, Heaton Park, Manchester

Lightopia is a brand new, visually dramatic lantern and light festival that is set to bring a lot of sparkle to the Manchester night sky.

Lightopia Manchester bird

Installations include The Love Gate, Tree of Life, Elysian Field, S-Harmony, The Flower Road, Happy Valley, Two Moons Eagle and many more. There’s also an iconic Manchester Light Bees installation symbolising community, brightness and personal power, representing the amazing sense of unity and solidarity within Manchester. Visitors will be able to follow the bee to discover more destinations.

Lithopia also includes live entertainment and family rides.

Lightopia Manchester

The first of its kind in the UK and Europe, Lightopia is bound to create unforgettable memories for everyone who visits this enchanting event.

For dates, entry times and to book tickets, go to the website

Christmas at The Botanics, Edinburgh

This beautiful Edinburgh attraction never fails to deliver on Christmas sparkle and 2019 look set to be another cracker. The Royal Botanic Garden will be transformed into a winter wonderland with over one million pea-lights on the mile-long outdoor trail.

Edinburgh Botanics

The illuminated trail will also feature a host of installations for visitors to interact with, including weaving through dancing laser beams and theatrical fog in the Laser Garden, and navigating their way through a forest of larger-than-life icicles and neon spiral trees. 

Also, new for this year is ‘Voyage’, where you can enjoy moments of waterside reflection as hundreds of floating origami boats bob on the garden’s pond, creating ever-changing lighting effects.

Edinburgh Botanics Palmhouse

Festive favourite, the Tunnel of Light which wowed visitors with its 70m long archway in 2018, will return alongside the Fire Garden, which showcases an exciting mixture of fire and light to create a unique, sensory experience.

Visitors can conclude their winter wonderland journey by taking part in ‘Light Hearted’, a playful interactive lighting sculpture which lights up when two people hold hands, before enjoying the ‘Festive Finale’ at Inverleith House, which centres around colourful projections that play in time to much-loved Christmas classics.

Did you know that over 75,000 visitors attended Christmas at the Botanics in 2018 attracting audiences from as far as Germany, Japan and Australia?

Christmas at The Botanics is sure to be another hit this year so make sure you book those tickets soon.

Tickets are on sale now. For further information, dates, prices and timings go the website

Staying in Edinburgh and the Lothians there are two more show-stoppers that you might want to take a peek at and add them to your winter diary. Check these out…

Castle of Light at Edinburgh Castle

History is set to come to life at Edinburgh Castle this winter, as the iconic landmark is illuminated with tales from Scotland’s past.

The mesmerising 90-minute journey of light, sound and wonder, entitled Castle of Light, will treat visitors to an evening of dazzling animations, never seen before at the castle in its 900-year history. Running over six weeks throughout the festive season, from Thursday 14 November to Sunday 22 December, the castle will be transformed using state-of-the-art projections and enchanting storytelling.

Castle of Light Edinburgh

Tickets for this light spectacular, set within the historic walls of Edinburgh Castle, are on sale now.

Tickets will also be available for an ‘Access’ night taking place on Monday 2 December for people with additional support needs.

For more info and how to get tickets for this go the website

Dalkeith Country Park’s Spectacle of Light

Just a few miles out of Edinburgh city centre is Dalkeith Country Park and this fantastic winter experience is a must for friends and families. You can explore the night time wonder of adventure park Fort Douglas all lit up under the stars. Or, take the amazing journey up among the woodland canopy in the fort’s magical Sky Maze peppered with a magnificent kaleidoscope of illuminated parasols and majestic trees hosting giant mirror balls.

Dalkeith Skymaze

You can also enjoy some festive cheer with mulled wine, hot chocolate and marshmallows to toast by the fire pit which will be on offer around Fort Douglas and Restoration Yard. There’s plenty to keep Spectacle of Light adventurers warm such as traditional stovies or a hot dog from one of the winter cabins.

For ticket info, dates and times check out the website

Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire

The Festival of Light is set to illuminate Longleat once again and this year’s theme is ‘myths and legends’. You can expect to see some amazing sights on your magical journey around the estate and the glitz and glamour of Longleat House.

ePegasus & Bellerophon longleat

Sounds like an unforgettable experience.

Longleat’s Festival of Light runs on selected dates from 9 November until 5 Jan 2020

To find out more and to book tickets check out their website

Winter Light Trail, The Alnwick Garden

Another lovely way to spend an evening is by visiting The Alnwick Garden which will be transformed into a magical land of audio and visual delights when its Christmas Light Show opens on 13th December 2019. Immerse yourself in a festive story as you stroll through the gardens where you can expect surprises and beautiful sights waiting to greet you.

Alnwick Snowtower

The Light Trail will be on from 13th December to the 22nd December, 4.30pm til 8.45pm with tickets priced at £8.95 per person.

To purchase tickets please click here

Canary Wharf Winter Lights Festival

After Christmas, many of the light shows and attractions close, leaving us all a bit sad as the January blues kick in. Worry not, you can still enjoy a cheery ‘Winter Lights’ spectacular after you’ve packed away the baubles and tinsel.s

Canary Wharf Amigo & Amigo

Canary Wharf’s annual Winter Lights festival will be returning in the new year, drawing upon state-of-the-art technology to deliver spectacular artworks, installations and experiences for a sixth consecutive year.

 There are light art and interactive installations planned for the award- winning exhibition which will surely brighten up what must be the longest, dreariest month in the calendar!

Canary Wharf Studio

Canary Wharf Winter Lights festival 2020 is free to the public and can be seen across the Estate from Thursday 16th to Saturday 25thJanuary 2020. For more information visit

There’s probably loads more of these lovely happenings going on and you should check out what’s on in your neighbourhood.

 You might find you don’t need to venture far to find some night-time sparkle.

 I know it’s getting too cold to go anywhere but the fireside and it’s tempting to shut the door and curl up on the sofa but try to get out and about and take in some of these magical events to light up your winter.