Lighting up winter nights

Across the UK, annual events take place at attractions keen to welcome groups despite the darker winter evenings drawing in.

Lumiere, the UK’s largest light festival, takes place every two years in November, with the next event set to brighten up the city from 14th to 17th November 2019 for its 10th anniversary edition.

It is hosted in the UNESCO world heritage city of Durham where the festival was first staged in 2009 and where it has taken place every two years since. Extra editions of the festival have also taken place across the UK including in London in 2016 and 2018, and in Derry, Northern Ireland in 2013.

Commissioned by Durham County Council and produced by arts charity Artichoke, the festival features new commissions and returning artworks from leading international artists working with the medium of light.

The seasonal Glow Illuminations at RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, run from the end of November to the end of December each year, with 2019’s dates from 21st November to 28th December. The event sets the gardens aglow every Thursday to Saturday (except Boxing Day) from 4.30pm to 8pm.

Special lighting effects create an illuminated trail around the garden’s magnificent trees and shrubs and sparkling illuminations are reflected in the lake, on the Streamside and Winter walks, Doric columns and Alpine House. The atmosphere is enhanced with a choir and special family activities in a dedicated marquee.

Along with this fantastic seasonal display, groups can also enjoy superb Christmas shopping at the RHS Shop and delicious festive treats at the famous Bettys Tea Rooms. Special discounted tickets have been introduced for visiting groups, available on Thursday evenings when pre-booking for 10 or more people.

In Wiltshire, the UK’s biggest lantern festival takes place annually at Longleat during the winter months. Running from 9th November to 5th January in 2019, ‘Festival of Light – Myths and Legends’ will take visitors on a thrilling odyssey to discover epic tales from around the globe.

From the heroes and villains of Ancient Greece and Norse Mythology to the spectacular Day of the Dead, the Arabian Nights and the tale of the Sword in the Stone, thousands of illuminated lanterns bring this magical and mysterious realm to life.

The 2019 Festival of Light includes more than 3,000 lanterns, crafted using 50,000 LED lights and 30,000 metres of silk. Dozens of other brightly-coloured, illuminated tableaux feature across the 30-acre ‘Capability’ Brown designed gardens. Festive light shows will be projected on to the front of the house for the very first time this year and you can paint your very own lanterns using special light projections.

A giant enchanted, musical Christmas Tree is a staple feature and Santa Trains transport visitors to meet Father Christmas. You can also immerse yourself in the magic of storytelling with the ‘Flight Before Christmas’, featuring real flying owls.

Groups of 12+ receive 30% discount on tickets. Advance booking is essential.