(Disclaimer - We received press tickets to the opening night - all opinions are our own)
Lightopia London, Crystal Palace Park, Thicket Rd, London SE19 2GA
November 17, 2022 to January 2, 2023
Last year on New Years Eve, I booked tickets for us to go to Lightopia London. It was a fantastic night and kept us feeling festive. This year there are lots of new additions - read on to see what we thought...
"Lightopia London promises to bring the history of Crystal Palace Park to life, with a fantastic Christmas light walk, creating a winter wonderland of illumination."
We live just south of London so it was easy enough for us to jump on a train to Crystal Palace, then it is a very short sign-posted walk from the train station to Lightopia. When you arrive and will have your tickets scanned and there are a few fairground rides (these are an extra expense at around £5 per ride) there are dodgems and a waltzer as well as a place to buy hot chocolate and mulled wine (from £3 - £5).
The first installations are colourful, circus style lanterns before you reach panels with 3D outlines of the architecture of the historic Crystal Palace. These changed colours in time with music which created a very eye-catching view. In 1936 The Crystal Palace caught fire and burned down, centrepiece of the Great Exhibition of 1851, it was a glass and iron structure which was very similar to the glass house at Kew Gardens.
If you need the loo, I would say go now, there are port-a-loo blocks in this area.
This year The Clangers are at Lightopia London, so you'll get to see a cute installation with the characters as well as a light-up interactive musical walkway. Moving on there were some neon bongo drums which led up to a huge flower, the kids could play these, and then sent shoots of light to the top of the flowers. These were opposite the huge dragon, which I will admit was a favourite display.
There are a few food stalls here where you can buy bratwurst (£7 each); roast dinner wraps, fries and burgers. We bought bratwurst with sauerkraut and it was really tasty. But at £7 a pop they are an expensive treat. There are also stalls dotted around selling sweets and doughnuts as well as light-up wands. The stalls all took cash or card payments.
One tip I will give you is to wear wellies! It is pretty muddy in places and wrap up warm, I'm talking big coats, hats and gloves!
All around Crystal Palace park there are magical, twinkling lights in the trees, glowing hearts, mystical creatures, mushrooms, gingerbread men and this year, there is a light display on the lake which is projected into spraying fountains. It was windy on the evening we went, so be warned, we got pretty soggy.
Crystal Palace's iconic dinosaurs are also lit up. It will take around an hour to walk around the park, possibly longer of you stop for some food. You can park nearby the sports centre but it has to be booked in advance with your tickets (plus it is £11). To be honest the station is so close, if you can come by public transport it would be best.
It is a pretty expensive night out but it is very pretty and it will get you in the festive mood. Plus if keep an eye on social media as they often post pretty good discount codes - that's how I managed to get 25% off of last years tickets.
Off-peak tickets are £19.50 for adults and £13 for children aged 3-15. Children from 0-2 go free! There is a group discount code and family tickets (2 adults, 2 children) are £59.
Peak tickets are £24.50 for adults and £16.50 for children aged 3-15. Once again children from 0-2 are free and there is a group discount available. A peak family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) is £75.