Last Updated on November 23, 2021
Lightopia returns to Crystal Palace Park this year!
This Christmas season, Lightopia brings Crystal Palace Park’s history back to life in stunning illumination through interactive displays, light displays and laser displays in a 1.5km trail along the park. Lightopia 2021 is a festival of hand-sculpted lanterns, cherry-picked from across the globe. These unique pieces are carefully curated into a new Rebirth themed route that leads through the beautiful Crystal Palace Park.
Entrance to the exhibit is via Canada Gate and the first lantern is the Guardian Gate which has an illuminated sign that says Lightopia. When you enter Lightopia, there are various fairground rides like Twist and Dodgems for you to pass the time if you’re waiting for the rest of your party to arrive. There is also a mulled wine stall and a stand that sells light up and glowing toys to get in the mood. Tickets come with entry times, but if you arrive late for your entry slot, the stewards will try to accomodate you. Forgot to book online? You can also buy tickets at the on site box office at an extra £2 per ticket.
The trail starts off with a giant illuminated Christmas tree followed by giant baubles and gifts. There are also photo opportunities by a giant love sign and inside a giant lighted snow globe. There are no more Christmas themed lanterns after this point, but it doesn’t make the experience any less magical, and is a rather inclusive way of catering to people who are not celebrating Christmas due to their personal preferences or culture. Mobile toilet areas where you can wash your hands and do your business follow this section.
The trail continues with a giant phoenix which magnificently illuminates a big portion of grass and next to it are some hot food and beer stalls. There is also a set of illuminated bars which change colour on various trees.
Afterwards, you will hit rainbow road, which is a section with magical park flowers, insects and laser beams illuminating the trees. The lanterns and light projections create an enchanted garden feeling.
After crossing a small bridge, you come onto the life balance section where there are various lanterns depicting scenarios signifying balance. Then you can see the centerpiece of the exhibition called the Palace of Light, a recreation of the historic landmark in stunning illumination.
You will then come onto the dinosaur section of the park where you can see the park’s dinosaur installation lighted up in various colours. I’ve never been to this park before so the illuminated dinosaurs were definitely a treat for me. Other magical animals await after the dinosaur section including frogs, fish and pandas. On average, people spent 90 minutes on the trail, however, depending on your walking pace and the food, drinks or rides, this may be longer or shorter. Personally, I spent about an hour on the route because I was a fast walker and I didn’t stop to take pictures of every single installation. However, I didn’t partake in the rides, food or drinks.
Lightopia 2021 is a great walk if you want to stretch those legs, be immersed in nature and look at magical lanterns for a change, instead of the numerous Christmas light trails found in and around London.
Crystal Palace Park
Dolphin Terrace, London
Friday 19th November – Sunday 21st November
Thursday 25th November – Sunday 28th November
Thursday 2nd December – Sunday 5th December
Thursday 9th December – Friday 24th December
Sunday 26th December – Sunday 2nd January
Gates Open: 17:00 | Last Entry: 20:30 | Event Close: 22:00
Book tickets here
Looking for something on the other side of town? We’ve also reviewed Christmas at Kew 2021 – definitely worth a visit