Lightopia: This award-winning Christmas light festival in Manchester's Heaton Park is an enchanting adventure for all ages

It’s easy to see why this dazzling Christmas light festival is an award-winner.
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I’ve been excited all year to go to Lightopia in Heaton Park, Manchester.

And when I walked the trail last night with my partner and son, for the very first time, I was not disappointed.

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This annual event takes Christmas lights to the next level with its stunning lanterns and illuminations. It was a fantastic way to kick off the festive season and is ideal for all ages.

The Phoenix at Lightopia in Manchester.The Phoenix at Lightopia in Manchester.
The Phoenix at Lightopia in Manchester.

It was certainly sensory heaven for my two-year-old. The look of awe on his face as he walked back and forth under an arch of lights or a canopy of stars and diamonds in the treetops as we meandered through the park is a treasured memory. I cannot begin to imagine how magical it must have been for him.

That same wonder was also shared by my partner and I: the immersive water show with video images projected over a lake was impressive, like watching a film of cinematic size beamed over the water. It was simply invigorating.

One of my favourite installations was the gorgeous Phoenix, and I’m not embarrassed to say my toddler and I had a little dance under the colourful spotlights as pop music blasted out. For a moment, it felt a bit like we were at an outdoor concert.

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We all loved the interactive elements, such as drums that sent pulses of colour shooting up a tree whenever they were played.

Walkway at Lightopia in Manchester. Photo by Joe Smith.Walkway at Lightopia in Manchester. Photo by Joe Smith.
Walkway at Lightopia in Manchester. Photo by Joe Smith.

A fairground with rides for various ages added to the fun, as did a bar serving hot drinks plus cider, prosecco and beer to help the adults feel a little warmer.

The whole event was simply enchanting: there was so much to discover, from dinosaurs to mythical creatures, and it has given me several wonderful photos for the scrapbook. Organisers say the festival is focused on hope, rebirth and new beginnings, and they have definitely achieved their goal. Despite feeling tired and cold as we headed for the train home, my family and I left Heaton Park beaming from ear to ear.

Lightopia is open to the public until Monday, January 2nd. The event is closed on Christmas Day. Opening times are between 5pm to 10pm, and last entry is 8-30pm daily.