About the Festival
Light Up Lancaster is a yearly festival that illuminates the city of Lancaster, UK, transforming the historic city into a captivating realm of lighting installations and fireworks displays. This mesmerizing event celebrates creativity and artistry, radiating the cobbled streets and painting the night skies with spellbinding colors that ignite your imagination.
An ideal event for families and friends, the festival is an opportunity for you to explore the streets of Lancaster, igniting your senses with sights of glowing butterfly-shaped lights and sparkling fairy lights adorning trees and lamp posts. Immerse yourself in captivating scenes of dancing light displays and animation projected onto buildings and walls. And as you get charmed by hanging lanterns, take a stroll down streets of rippling light shows and bask in the dazzling ambiance of the season.
Light Up Lancaster Dates (2023)
The festival will take place on November 2-4, 2023. Be ready to be enchanted by the breathtaking light art installations this year and experience a symphony of innovation and dreams that will last in your memory forever.
Where It’s Located and How to Get There
Light Up Lancaster takes place across various locations in the city. Some of the places where the magic happens are Market Square, Dalton Square, The Storey Gardens, Lancaster Castle, and Quay Meadow, among others.
The distance between Lancaster and the nearest airport, Manchester Airport (MAN) is about 60 miles (97 kilometers) by road. Traveling by car can take around 1 to 1.5 hours depending on routes and road conditions.
Getting to Lancaster From the Airport
There are different ways to get to historic Lancaster after arriving at Manchester Airport.
From the Airport to Manchester Piccadilly Station:
- Once you arrive at the airport, follow the directions to the train station located inside the airport terminal.
- Buy a train ticket to Manchester Piccadilly Station. Travel time takes approximately 20-30 minutes.
From Manchester Piccadilly Station to Lancaster Station:
- At Manchester Piccadilly Station, search for trains heading to Lancaster. Trains here are usually operated by TransPennine Express or Avanti West Coast.
- Take a look at the departure boards for the next train to Lancaster.
- Purchase a ticket for Lancaster and board the train.
- The journey from Manchester Piccadilly to Lancaster usually takes 1.5 to 2 hours.
Arriving at Lancaster:
- Once you arrive at Lancaster Station, it will be easy to get to any part of the city to enjoy the festival. You can get around the city by public transportations or taxis.
Manchester Airport to Lancaster:
- Exit the airport terminal and follow the signs to the M56 motorway.
- Merge onto the M56. After a few kilometers, you’ll come to a roundabout. Take the second exit onto the M56 motorway (signs for M56/M60/M62/M67/M61).
- Continue on the M56, which leads you onto the M6 motorway heading north toward Lancaster.
Arriving in Lancaster:
- Travel time by car from Manchester Airport to Lancaster takes about 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.
- Once you arrive at Lancaster, follow the directions to the city center or any specific location in the city.
Light Up Lancaster will illuminate the city from 5 PM to 9 PM. Within these hours, you can immerse yourself in awe-inspiring light art installations and jaw-dropping light shows, indulging your senses with the artists’ imaginations.
Cost to Visit Light Up Lancaster
Light Up Lancaster is a free event, making it perfect for families and friends to enjoy the eye-catching light shows and fascinating art installations.
Weather and What to Wear
Lancaster experiences a cool and chilly climate in November, with temperatures ranging from 5 to 11 degrees Celsius. Dress warmly to enjoy the festival. You can do this by wearing a waterproof jacket over a cozy sweater. You can also wear a scarf and a pair of comfortable shoes to make your experience worthwhile.
Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby
After immersing yourself in dazzling light spectacles, you can choose the following places to stay:
Royal Kings Arms Hotel
Royal Kings Arms Hotel is a historic hotel in the heart of Lancaster. It offers a range of modern amenities such as free high-speed internet service, banquet rooms, and restaurants. The hotel also offers rooms that provide an impressive view of the city.
Lancaster House Hotel
Lancaster House Hotel is a contemporary hotel perfect for a tranquil stay. They offer free high-speed internet and allow pets to come inside. They also have an electric vehicle charging station and pool. You can also enjoy delectable cuisine from their restaurants such as The Foodworks Restaurant, or enjoy a drink at The Sandeman’s Bar. It is a perfect place to wind up after enjoying the lights festival.
Holiday Inn Lancaster
Holiday Inn Lancaster is a hotel that lets you enjoy the scenic view of the River Lune. A short drive from the city center, the hotel offers amenities such as free high-speed internet service and parking. They also offer air-conditioned rooms as well as non-smoking rooms. Staying at Holiday Inn Lancaster also provides you with convenient access to the breathtaking Lake Windermere.
What to Eat
Complementing the Light Up Lancaster experience are the following spots to dine in:
The Borough is an award-winning gastro pub offering British and International cuisine. For starters, they serve Baked Camembert, and Haddock & Chorizo Fishcake, among others. Among their main dishes are Pan Fried Duck Breast, Braised Blade of Beef, and Pan-Roast Chicken Supreme. They also serve Cumbrian Beef Burger and Chicken Burger, among others. Located in Dalton Square, The Borough is a great place to hang out after being captivated by the Lights Festival.
The Whale Tail Café
For vegetarians and health buffs, the Whale Tail Café is a perfect destination. This cozy place is known for their delectable vegan dishes such as the Kimchi Raw Bowl and Nourish Bowl. They also have a Build-Your-Own-Breakfast option where you can create your own morning meal from sausages, avocados, baked beans, among others.
Quite Simply French
For those with a passion for French cuisine, Quite Simply French is the perfect place to be. With a riverside view, you can enjoy their Escargots or Scottish Oysters. You can also enjoy their Chargrilled Lancashire Beef Fillet or their Confit Gressingham Duck Leg. They also serve Grilled Whole North Coast Lobster, Wild Mushroom Gnocchi, and Pan Fried Chicken Supreme.
More Things to Do in the Area
Aside from hosting Light Up Lancaster, the historic city also offers activities and attractions to enjoy.
This historic structure is perfect for exploration. Be captivated by its tales and history as you enjoy and take pictures of impressive medieval architecture. You can also visit the castle’s interior and be mesmerized by well-preserved historic rooms and furnishings. If you want a panoramic view of Lancaster and the surrounding countryside, you can climb the steps of the castle’s keep. A visit to the Lancaster Castle will complement your Light Up Lancaster experience.
If you love animals and stunning views, this 54 acre park is perfect for you. Come and explore the famous Butterfly House or the Bird Enclosures. You can also take a leisure walk through the park’s woodlands and gardens or visit the iconic Ashton Memorial to enjoy panoramic views.
Lancaster Maritime Museum
The Lancaster Maritime Museum lets you in on a journey through the region’s maritime history. You can explore the museum’s diverse exhibits and engage with the feature interactive displays to gain an understanding of maritime life. You can also watch films and documentaries in the screening rooms to learn more.
A Final Sparkle: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Visit to Light Up Lancaster
Light Up Lancaster is a festival that illuminates more than just the night sky and the city streets—it brightens our hearts and imaginations. With its breathtaking light displays, vibrant community spirit, and historic backdrop, Light Up Lancaster is a spectacular event of dazzling lights, artworks, and innovation, inviting you to ignite your senses with the magic of creativity and connection.
With more places to explore and accommodations to stay in, Light Up Lancaster will sparkle in your hearts and memories forever.
Is Light Up Lancaster suitable for children and families?
Definitely, Light Up Lancaster is a family-friendly event, welcoming everyone of all ages. Children will enjoy artistic displays and illuminations that will light up their imagination.
Can I take photographs and videos during the festival?
Yes, you can take pictures and videos of the stunning displays.
Are there any accessibility considerations for visitors with mobility issues?
Light Up Lancaster strives to be inclusive. While some areas have uneven terrain, organizers aim to ensure accessibility to all. Accessible viewing areas and facilities are also available.
Is there an information center or help desk during the festival?
Yes, there are information points and approachable festival staff ready to assist you with any assistance or questions you may need during the event.
Are there any specific guidelines for pet owners attending the festival?
While well-behaved pets are welcome, keeping them on a leash and ensuring their comfort during the festival hours and the chilly weather is advisable.
While this article aims to answer some questions and concerns about the festival, it is always best to visit the festival’s official website for updated information.