The visual wonderland is back from November, with COVID measures and new creations aplenty

Following its European debut in Manchester last year, Lightopia lantern and light festival will return to Heaton Park this winter for more illuminated fun with friends and family. 

Alongside some of last year’s favourite installations, the visual wonderland promises new creations aplenty for 2020. Visitors can also expect a redesigned trail; featuring wider footpaths for social distancing, as well as three entry points to reduce queuing and direct access to two car parks.

New themes to uncover include a stand-out Christmas showcase, which uses the Grade I-listed Heaton Hall as its backdrop. Take in Santa’s sleigh amidst sparkling snowflakes and make your own festive soundtrack with a giant interactive walking piano.

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Other new displays include Astronomy - featuring a stunning moon sculpture and an interactive zodiac sign installation - plus an area dedicated to the Manchester skyline and an immersive ‘Musical City’ encouraging visitors to dance their way through the lights. 

The popular Animals attraction will return, while much-loved installations from 2019 can be revisited in the Discovery space. Children will no doubt love the magical world of candy, flowers and characters at the Woodland Fairytale area; featuring some bedazzling new additions.

The Lakeside water show will again play a key role, with a new production created for 2020 that reflects the Lightopia themes of discovery via state-of-the-art projections.

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Shimmering walkways, lights and lanterns will guide the route direction. Eye-catching dragon sculptures, meanwhile, will lead the way to Lightopia’s food stalls and licensed bars. 

Creative director of Lightopia, Ian Xiang, said: “We are excited to bring Lightopia back to Manchester and have once again created a world in which light, sculpture and art combine with traditional Chinese lantern-making techniques to create an immersive experience full of light and stories. 

“We want our guests to become part of the Lightopia story, helping to create new forms of art as they interact and engage with the luminescent sculptures that trail through Heaton Park.”

For those looking to plan ahead this festive season, Lightopia’s pre-sale tickets are available from Wednesday 12th August; visitors can sign up by email for 20% off the ticket price. General ticket sales will be available from Friday 14th August.

Lightopia will be open to the public from Friday 20th November until Sunday 3rd January. The event is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, except during school holidays, plus Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Opening times are 5-10pm, and last entry is 8.30pm daily. 

Advance tickets are priced at £20 for adults (or £22 on the day), £13 for children (or £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, with the disabled visitor paying the normal admission fee. 

To book tickets, visit

Read more: Top things to do in Manchester: August 2020