Mancs can trip the light fantastic for the third year running in 2021

It was one of the few bits of light relief in last year’s damp squib of a festive season and Lightopia returns to Heaton Park in North Manchester this November. 

If you’ve been before, it won’t be the same old, same old. There is a brand new theme: A Christmas Fantasy for the 2021 edition. 

It wouldn’t be Manchester without someone rocking up with a giant bee

If you’re new to the ole ‘topia, expect an immersive, multi-sensory trail of bright lanterns, interactive lights and installations to weave your way through. 

This year’s fairytale world of mythical creatures with good and evil characters playing out a Christmas story should keep your little ones mesmerised and hopefully take your mind off the bills for a few hours. 

Grab some family and friends and become Lightopians for the evening.

A Deer Dances On The Water Of The Lake As Part Of A Light And Water Show At Lightopia Manchester 2021
You might even say it glows
Illuminated Flowers At Lightopia Manchester 2021
There's a bunch of fun to be had at Lightopia this year

What’s on the cards for Lightopia 2021?

Christmas highlights include a 9ft “bauble-inspired” Christmas tree and an immersive giant bauble, which Lightopians can walk inside.

There will also be a “fantastical” Magic Circus display with illusional installations and “interactive entertainment” via clowns, animals and magicians. 

Returning will be the giant Earth Flower - representing our beautiful planet. With 10 musical drums guarding it, Lightopians are encouraged to immerse themselves in the experience and give light to the flower with their musical energy. 

The earth flower’s roots illuminate the Field of Love: more than 50,000 illuminated love hearts filling the floor.

Lightopia will also be home to a Time Travel zone with holographic time portals and a colourful “time tunnel into the future” (we hope it has jetpacks and universal basic income).

Lightopia’s Fantasy Forest is home to “extraordinary and mystical animals” hidden in the woodland, including a nine-tailed fox (oo-er), unicorns and “out-of-this-world flowers”.

The Fantasy Universe will have a supernova display and bioluminescence plants; 

Dragon’s Land features two massive 40m dragons and a fluttering of fairies

Candy Land is an illuminated dreamland for anyone with a sweet tooth.

A Wonders of the World display features giant mirrored, glistening crystals and gems.

The Lakeside Water Show is a state-of-the-art projection show, bringing the story of Lightopia to life; with a new fantasy production created especially for 2021.

And it wouldn’t be Manchester without someone rocking up with a giant bee in tow. Fantasy Bees brings the iconic Manchester bee to life.

A Luminescent Moon Installation As Part Of The Lightopia Event At Heaton Park In Manchester
Fancy a moonwalk around Heaton Park?
A Forest Of Fantasy Mushrooms At Lightopia In Heaton Park Which Is Back For 2021
Lightopia, it's magic.

Lightopia 2021: a dreamworld adventure

Ian Xiang, Creative Director of Lightopia, said: “We are excited to bring a brand new Lightopia concept to Manchester this winter, a fantasy world that has never been seen before. Lightopia 2021 will be a dream world adventure, for families and friends to escape to this Christmas.

“We want our guests to become part of this new fantasy Lightopia experience, as they interact and engage with the luminescent sculptures that trail through Heaton Park.”

A Peacock Made Of Lights At Lightopia Heaton Park Manchester
Hope they don't pea-cock this one up

Creative Designer for Lightopia, Ava Moradi added: “This year, Lightopia will bring new artistic illuminated displays with unique fantasy-themed installations and light shows. My main focus as an artist is for this immersive light experience to bring happiness and joy; making this festive day out a go-to place for friends and family to celebrate together through the magical trail.”

Advance tickets are £20 for adults (£22 on the day), £13 for children (£15 on the day), and £60 for families of two adults and two children (£68 on the day). Children under three can go free. Essential carers of disabled visitors can attend for free, the disabled visitor pays the normal admission fee.

Lightopia will be open to the public from Thursday 25 November until Monday 3 January. Opening times are between 5pm to 10pm, and last entry is 8.30pm daily. The event is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays - except during school holidays - and on Christmas Day.

Dine in the Light debuts at this year's Lightopia:

This year’s Lightopia will give visitors the opportunity to experience a special dining experience amongst the event’s atmospheric woodland surrounds. Ideal for couples, friends and families alike, ten illuminated dining domes will serve up a varied and warming three-course menu of seasonal dishes curated by three-rosette chef Chris Holland and The Life Cafés & Resorts Culinary Team.

The former head chef of the Alderley Edge Hotel in Cheshire, best known for his classic British cuisine which incorporates molecular and experimental elements, will bring a menu in-keeping with the Lightopia spectacle.

The dining domes, which seat up to six or twelve for 90 minutes, available for booking before or after your visit to the main event, can be booked for £38 per person and include a three-course meal and drink. Children’s menus are also available and dining slots are 5pm, 6.30pm and 8pm.

But what of the food? Starters include comforting roasted pumpkin soup with a parmesan and sage crumble, vegan buffalo cauliflower wings and sriracha hot dip or confit duck terrine with zingy orange and cranberry salad. Mains include marinated hanging kebabs or sticky glazed short rib of beef, whilst The Manchester Trifle, with layers of Vimto jelly, is a standout dessert.

The Stables Courtyard Bar also debuts this year, offering a casual dining experience with food, music and drinks available in a festive setting. Softshell tacos and stone-baked pizza will be available for hungry Lightopians with table reservations (£5 per person, fully-redeemable against food or drink) encouraged. Walk-ins are also available.

Read next: The Alchemist launches Christmas dinner flavoured cocktail

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