Lightopia promises spectacular illuminations, a water-based laser show and 2000 lanterns

Back in 2017, the nationwide Magical Lantern Festival announced its arrival in Philips Park. Thousands bought tickets before it was announced the event had been cancelled, just days before it was due to start. The reason? Organisers didn’t actually have permission to host it.

Save for the iconic red tree hangings at Chinese New Year, Manchester has remained lantern-less ever since…but now that’s set to change with the arrival of Lightopia, ‘Europe’s largest lantern and light festival,’ which will make its debut in Manchester this winter. 

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Transforming Heaton Park, Manchester’s largest historic park and Europe’s largest municipal park, Lightopia promises an otherworldly illumination spectacular that transports visitors through six immersive trails designed by renowned contemporary light artist Ava Moradi.

Inspired by the human experience, installations include The Love Gate, Tree of Life, Elysian Field, S-Harmony, The Flower Road, Happy Valley and Two Moons Eagle; as well as a nod to Manchester via Light Bees, which guests can follow to discover further destinations. Spanning 2000 lanterns and 1 million bulbs, Lightopia will even feature a water-based laser show. 

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Other attractions include live entertainment - including acrobatic performances and local musicians - as well as family rides, food and refreshments. There’ll also be an educational element, as guests can learn the story and values behind each artwork.        

Ian Xiang, Lightopia’s founder and creative director, said: “Lightopia Festival aims to revive and reinterpret the senses, carrying the audience into a different world of expression and emotion through beautiful light designs and interactive installations. It is a world built upon captivating experiences, there is no ‘ordinary’ at Lightopia!

“We are incredibly excited to introduce the festival, not just to the community of Manchester but to the UK, and hope the values learnt throughout the journey are carried forward into the everyday lives of each of our visitors. See the light and join us at Lightopia.” 

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Lightopia is open to the public from 21st November - 31st December. The event is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (except during school holidays), Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Opening times are 5-10pm, with last entry at 8.30pm. 

Tickets cost £20 for adults and £13 for children up to sixteen (no charge for those under three), with a £2 discount if you buy in advance. There’s an even bigger discount for advance family tickets (two adults and two children), with a cost of £54 as opposed to £62 if you buy on the day. 

Lightopia Festival takes place at Heaton Park from 21st November - 31st December