The Winter Light Trail at Victoria Park in Southport (Photo: Claire Brown)
By Andrew Brown
Review: Luminate’s Winter Light Trail at Victoria Park, Southport, through December 23
Let there be lights! And a lot of them.
The new Winter Light Trail has officially opened at Victoria Park in Southport, wowing visitors from across the region.
Once on the light path, visitors can expect 3D projections, light tunnels, a wishing tree, interactive shadow play, a laser light maze and more.
This is a whole new event for Southport, and a real blow to our region. The organizer, Luminate, currently holds its events in just five locations in the UK: Margam Country Park in Wales; Coombe Abbey in Coventry; Sandringham Estate in Norfolk; Walton Gardens in Cheshire; and now Victoria Park in Southport.
The event is there every day until December 23, with visitors admitted in 15-minute slots from 4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. until 8:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. This is to ensure that there are no large crowds at all times, allowing everyone to have a better experience as they walk through the park. You wouldn’t want someone to photobomb your selfie!
Luminate has created a light trail stretching a huge 1.2 km around the park, with several highlights along the way.
It should take around 90 minutes, with plenty to enjoy along the way.
I went with my wife and two daughters, aged five and 10. Took us almost two hours to get around, but we could have stayed longer.
Luminate describes his event as âa spectacular and illuminated journey, full of wonder and intrigueâ. It’s all of these things and more.
As this was Luminate’s first time in town, it was hard to imagine what we can expect! This made exploring this new attraction all the more fun.
People will be able to get an idea as the event progresses. It’s so compatible with Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok that you are sure to be able to enjoy hundreds of awesome photos and videos of the attraction over the next few days and weeks. If you go, please post your images on our Stand Up For Southport Facebook group!
Entrance is through the Victoria Park Beach Entrance, with a number of mulled wine and festive food stalls.
The light trail begins with a series of lights outside the bowling club, before passing the pond, the perfect backdrop for a magnificent light and laser show set to music.
Then there is a lighted maze, before heading to the bandstand, which has been transformed into a lighted âMake A Wishâ center. Children can write their own wishes on tags, before attaching them to the bandstand. There were beautiful ones that had been written down and pinned down.
Our daughters loved that the Winter Light Trail was so interactive. There are so many things out there that are designed to stimulate the senses of children. Their senses are put to the test throughout the park, it’s a lot of fun.
There is also something to wow adults. Then for us there was a wonderful tunnel of lights, which was a joy to walk through. Expect to see plenty of selfies taken in this one! It was mind blowing.
Next, we walked over to a hanging light installation, another engaging sight.
Braving a cool night, we were happy to reach the halfway point; a number of fireplaces where we could warm our hands and most importantly roast marshmallows! You can either buy them on site or bring your own. It was a big hit with our daughters!
From there we walked down a boulevard of trees, bathed in changing color lights, until we reached an illuminated fairy vale of the woods, where the girls tried to find as many fairies as possible.
From there we found something similar to an outdoor disco. What looked like a large, multi-colored neon rock climbing area housed a series of ground circles for children to dance and play on.
The final installation was a row of illuminated square shapes placed at varying angles, which sparkled in patterns, creating eye-catching optical displays as we walked.
My daughters’ verdicts: 10/10 for our 5 year old and 9/10 for our 10 year old (she doesn’t like to give 10/10)!
After a busy few hours in Victoria Park we all developed a real hunger so we headed to town where we had a restaurant meal, and that is really the point of creating new events in Southport. Bringing more visitors to our city is beneficial to everyone.
This year, Victoria Park unveiled a slew of new events, such as Southport Classic and Speed, Southport Lookalike Festival and Save The Rave, which complemented the return of popular favorites like the Southport Food & Drink Festival and the British Musical Fireworks Championship.
Next year, people can enjoy the all new Smoke and Fire Festival and UB40 featuring Ali Campbell – not to mention the long awaited return of the Southport Flower Show!
Between them, these events draw tens of thousands of people to Southport, bringing traffic and customers to restaurants, hotels, shops, guesthouses, taxis and other local businesses.
Victoria Park is of course run by the Southport Flower Show charity, which maintains this beautiful but expansive park at no cost to Sefton Council taxpayers. Every penny counts.
They also create jobs for the local population. Luminate was delighted to employ a number of people from Southport to work as flight attendants and in other roles on the Winter Light Trail. There were many of them, always there with a smile, advice and a helping hand. They were brilliant.
There are a few discounts: it’s great to see 10% off for Blue Light Card holders, while caregivers and under two are free.
Southport Flower Show / Victoria Park Events have also partnered with Luminate UK to gift a number of local charities with 10 family passes for this year’s Winter Light Trail. They include Sefton Fostering, Queenscourt Hospice, Southport Offshore Rescue Trust (Southport Lifeboat), Bridge Inn Community Farm, and Community Link Foundation.
Southport already has one of the best event programs in the UK. We have attractions such as: Southport Flower Show, Southport Air Show, British Musical Firework Championship, Southport Food and Drink Festival, Southport Mad Dog 10k Race, Day Of The Dead Festival, Southport Classic and Speed, and many more still others. .
The Southport Winter Light Trail is an exciting new addition; something very different from what we’ve seen here before. Hope this one is here to stay.
The Winter Light Trail will run at Victoria Park in Southport until Thursday, December 23, starting at 4:30 p.m. each evening. You can purchase tickets by clicking here.
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