Best Lantern Festivals In Manchester 2023

lantern festivals

Imagine the night sky aglow with the shimmering and bright and bold light, that reflects in your eyes… If you’re looking for a magical, shimmering adventure that will light up your nights and create cherished memories, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the world of the best lantern festivals in Manchester, where glowing lanterns and family togetherness take centre stage.

Wrap up warm, it’s time to head out into the night!

The Best Lantern Festivals in Manchester

lantern festival chester zoo

1. Lanterns and Light, Chester Zoo

There’s something special happening this winter… The world premiere of Lanterns and Light, where wildworlds are brought to life!

It’s bigger, better and brighter than ever, with a captivating experience is nothing like you’ve experienced before.

Transport into a world of dazzling light installations, and colourful lanterns surrounding you and wander through enchanting lands. All ablaze with festivity, colour and spectacle! Where the beloved lantern animals illuminate the darker nights and transfix your gaze. From lions, dolphins and a 3D projection of woolly mammoths to birds floating above you!

From festive fairground rides and mouthwatering marshmallow toasting to magical and classical music playing throughout.

Not only that, but there’s also a Winter Cathedral tunnel of lights stretching as far as the eye can see… You might even catch a glimpse of Father Christmas in his sleigh too!

It’ll be a festive light trail full of dazzling illuminations that will surely illuminate your winter nights like no other.

Shape Location Get directions

Chester Zoo, Chester, CH2 1LE

Opening Times

17th November to 31st December at 16:15 - 21:15


Tickets from £12.00

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phoenix at lightopia

2. Lightopia, Heaton Park

Kicking off our lantern-lit journey is the glorious and award-winning Lightopia light festival. It blew away everyone back in 2022 – so we hope it makes a return this year!

Held in Heaton Park, this festival transforms the park into an otherworldly realm of lights and lanterns. Picture this: your family strolling through a sea of illuminated creations, with everyone’s faces lit up with awe and wonder.

Last year there was a brand new light trail focusing on Christmas! And all things hopeful, new beginnings and rebirth. Expect to be dazzled by mesmerising installations, immersive water shows and of course, the world-famous Phoenix!

Did you know it’s Europe’s biggest light and lantern festival?! Promising big and beautiful art installations for the human experience.

And for those who need a pick me up, something warm or a bite to eat, you’ll find delectable food stalls offering hot chocolate and more!

Shape Location Get directions

Middleton Rd, Manchester M25 2SW

Opening Times

Not announced for 2022 yet

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chinese lanterns at the moon festival

3. The Manchester Moon Festival 2023

Prepare to be transported to a world of celestial beauty at the Manchester Moon Lantern Festival! A mid-Autumn festival that combines the importance of the harvest and is celebrated in conjunction with the lunar calendar!

Held in Manchester’s Chinese centre, the family-friendly event is all about embracing the lunar magic and creating unforgettable memories with your family. Watch the Chinese dancing lion, take part in on-street kung fu lessons and listen to the history.

The cultural festival highlights include stunning Chinese lanterns of all shapes and sizes to moonlit storytelling sessions under the starry sky. It’s a family day full of Chinese workshops, an array of unique market stalls and food galore with authentic street food trucks offering international treats.

It’s one of the best cultural and lantern festivals in Manchester.

Opening Times

Information hasn't been released yet - but we'll keep you updated!


Free to enter

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lanterns in the sky

4. Festival of Light, Rivington Terraced Gardens, Bolton

Come along this winter night and marvel at the colourful illuminations before you. Feel the excitement as the music calls out to you and the glow of the lanterns fills the night sky.

Take in the spectacular light and laser show dancing along the Italian Lake and Garden and gaze at the water reflections. Wander through a magical and illuminated trail with hundreds of lanterns surrounding you.

Then fill your tummies with the warmth of hot chocolate, tasty treats and delicious desserts! There’s also drinks on hand for adults looking for a tipple…

Shape Location Get directions

Rivington, Bolton BL6 7RX

Opening Times

26th - 28th October 2023 from 18:00 - 21:30


Adult £18.00
Child (6-16) £9.00
Child (under 5) free

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a blue tunnel of enchanting lights

5. Luminate at Walton Hall and Gardens, Cheshire

The magical light and lantern festival, Luminate, will be travelling all of the UK. Coming to Cheshire from 30th November to 24th December!

Walk under shimmering stars, through illuminated trails and past fluorescent flora and winter wonderland set to light up the night.

It’s a dazzling adventure that families will love. From fun light play and ambient music to interactive elements and glittering tunnels of light. Luminate will ‘wow’ you and keep you coming back for more!

Not to mention you can roast marshmallows around the campfire and sip on hot chocolate too!

Shape Location Get directions

Walton Lea Rd, Higher Walton, Warrington WA4 6SN

Opening Times

30th November to 24th December from 16:00 - 20:00


Adult from £15.00
Child from £11.50

Find out more
tunnel of lights

Now that you’ve got the inside scoop on the best lantern festivals in Manchester and around, it’s time to gather the family, grab your lantern-making materials, and get ready to light up the night. These festivals offer an incredible blend of art, culture, and family fun that will leave you with memories to cherish for years to come. So, mark your calendars and prepare for an illuminating adventure in the heart of Manchester!

Are you looking for even more sparkling fun? Then you might like Lightpool Festival in Blackpool and if it’s raining in Manchester, we have plenty of family fun! For older kids, Manchester has an array of fun-tastic activities for them too.

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