Aside from a smattering of snow and the jingle of bells, the thing guaranteed to make Christmastime feel extra special is colourful sparkling lights. This year, one of the best places to be dazzled and wowed and feel super-Christmassy in the UK is Lightopia London, which is being held at Crystal Palace.
The area of south London known as Crystal Palace takes its name from the fantastic glass exhibition building moved there from Hyde park. This followed the famous Great Exhibition, which promoted all Great Britain offered in the Victorian era. Sadly, the building burnt down, but Penge, the area surrounding it, adopted Crystal Palace.
There is now a community park on the site, which from 19th November will light up again at night, with a festival of lights, music, and entertainment. Lightopia takes over Crystal Palace Park for the first time and will continue into the new year, ending on 2nd January 2022.
The event consists of a stunning illuminated trail with multi-sensory interactive lights and lantern installations. The park will be turned into a winter wonderland glowing with colour, a visually spectacular feast.
The trail is just over a mile long, with 22 illuminated trees symbolising growth and unity, which the organisers want visitors to connect with. Displays will include a ten metre long Phoenix sat on 50 000 sq feet of lights. Dinosaurs will move and appear projected onto objects along the already famous Dinosaur Trail long established in the park.
Chinese methods have been used to create each handmade lantern within the light display. Using a technique from the Tang dynasty, they have also been hand-painted.
The awe-inspiring feature piece will be the 40 metres long, 12 metres high Crystal Palace reborn in lights. Recreated using lanterns, Lightopia uses 3D mapping projection to bring the historic building to life.
The trail through Crystal Palace Park will leave visitors in rapture and be educated as they walk. All the displays tell a story of wonder and Rebirth through ancient Chinese beliefs and symbols. Wrapped up with the magic of Christmas, guests will never forget the event.
Creative Director of Lightopia, Ian Xiang, said: “Lightopia is an award-winning and visually spectacular lantern and light festival with magically illuminated trails and amazing immersive light installations. In bringing it to London, we needed a venue that was equally as magical, and we have found it in Crystal Palace, with its rich history of innovation and its powerful local community spirit.
Crystal Palace Park officially opened in 1854 to celebrate, educate, entertain, and inspire people. Lightopia, The Palace of Light will do just that, and we can’t wait to welcome people to the park to enjoy the show.”
Ava Moradi, the Creative Designer for Lightopia, added: “This festive season, our main installation design theme is Rebirth, where we’re proud to bring the memorable Crystal Palace building back to life through the power of light. From the concept to the design and creation, my focus has always been to transport the viewers to a magical place, where they can experience Christmas through colourful and interactive installations.”
Be it Crystal Palace Park’s famous dinosaurs set awash with light or Lightopia London’s very own fantastical animals, there is something new to discover around every corner, perfect for allowing imaginations to run wild.
Along the trail, venturers can stay refreshed and enjoy delicious festive delicacies from local suppliers of the finest food and drink. I am sure there will be Mulled wine, hot chocolate and plenty of treats.
Lightopia London – Where and How?
Standard advance tickets are priced at £19.50 off-peak and £22.50 peak for adults, £13.00 off-peak and £15.50 peak for children, and £58.00 off-peak and £70.00 peak for families of two adults and two children. Children under three can go free. Essential carers of disabled visitors can attend for free; the disabled visitor pays the regular admission fee.
Lightopia also runs festivals of light events in other parts of the country; find out more at www.lightopiafestival.com.
Read more lifestyle and festive themed news and guides here.