Blackpool Illuminations gets arty with new LightPool festival

Yoko Ono is among the artists taking part in Blackpool’s festival of lights, a showcase of 30 installations, sculptures and performances across town
Plus more UK winter lights festivals

Blackpool – the town famous for its autumn illuminations – launches a new festival of light this weekend, featuring installations from renowned artists including Yoko Ono and Bob & Roberta Smith.

The first LightPool festival, which takes place from the 28 October to 2 November and coincides with the penultimate weekend of the Blackpool Illuminations, will see more than 30 installations, sculptures and performances take place across the town centre.

Highlights of the six-night festival include a new commission by Bob and Roberta Smith, Art Is Your Human Right, that will feature illuminated words hanging around the town; a display of 34 light drawings of children in windows of the former Ocean Hotel on North Promenade; and a performance from street-fire pioneers, Les Commandos Percu.

Dog with fairy lights on at LumiDog event, Blackpool
LumiDog is an illuminated dog parade taking place on 30 October, as part of LightPool. Photograph: PR

Two works by Yoko Ono will also be displayed, including her classic 1965 light art installation, Parts of a Light House, which will sit in the nave of Blackpool’s Sacred Heart Church, and modern work IMAGINE PEACE, love yoko, a moving billboard that will be shown on Blackpool’s historic North Pier.

The festival will also include installations and performances premiered at Burning Man festival in Nevada, and LumiDogs, a mass illuminated dog walk on 30 October.

All the installations will form an illuminated trail throughout the town. A specially designed map will be available to help visitors navigate their way through the works.


Magical Lantern festival, Birmingham & Leeds

Magical Lantern Festival

After launching in London last year, the Magical Lantern festival is heading north, making its debut at the Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston, Birmingham, and in Leeds’ Roundhay Park at the end of November. Visitors follow a trail of giant lanterns in a huge range of shapes colours and sizes; a fusion of Chinese culture and heritage with the celebration of Christmas.

Both festivals from 25 November-2 January, adult £12.50, child £8.50 in advance (£14 and £10 on the day),

Kew Gardens seasonal illuminations, London

Kew Gardens illuminations at Christmas

Offering a chance to see the capital’s historic botanical gardens in a new light, the Kew illuminations follows a twinkling mile-long path through the gardens after dark. Expect a tunnel of lights, scented fire garden and a laser show on the water.
23 November-2 January, adult from £16, children from £10,

Take the kids to Kew Gardens

Festival of Light at Longleat, Wiltshire

Longleat Light festival

As part of the celebrations to mark its 50th anniversary, Longleat safari park is staging “Europe’s largest Chinese lantern festival” this winter. Around 25,000 lights, 20km of silk and more than 30,000 bulbs will be used to construct giant illuminated versions of popular Beatrix Potter characters, as well as lions, giraffes, elephants and gorillas.
• Selected dates from 11 November-2 January, adult from £27.85, child from £20.65,


Will Coldwell

The GuardianTramp

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