Your Guide to Our Region’s Most Beautiful Christmas Lights

Sunday 23rd October 2022

We may crowd around big bonfires on Guy Fawkes Night and stare up at fabulous fireworks on New Year’s Eve. However, it’s undeniably around Christmas when our shared love of lights really goes into overdrive.

Christmas light displays – and their ceremonial public switch-ons – are a key highlight on many of our festive calendars. Across our region, we really are spoilt for choice by brilliant Christmas lights. From high-street illuminations to spectacular ticketed events at historic locations, let’s take a sneak peek at our best Christmas light shows for 2022.

Glimpse Edinburgh’s most iconic monument colourfully lit up 

Where: Edinburgh Castle

When: Selected dates in November and December

You may have visited Edinburgh Castle before (or simply admired it from another spot in the city). But have you ever seen it illuminated in thousands of kaleidoscopic lights?

The Castle of Light: A Kingdom of Colours event, now in its third year, will see the ancient landmark projected with numerous shades and shapes during a fantastic, family-friendly light show. The festive display is ticketed and well-worth the cost of admission. It’ll take place after dark on selected dates in November and December, with prices starting at £20 for adults and £12 for kids (it’s free for under 5s).

Castle of Light is not the only beautiful light display to bless the Scottish capital this year either. Edinburgh residents and visitors will also be able to wander through the gates of the city’s Royal Botanic Gardens during the Christmas at the Botanics festival to see its lush trees and tropical plant life adorned with over a million twinkling lights.

Christmas lights at night

See history illuminated in Liverpool

Where: Royal Albert Dock

When: Mid-November to early January

Grand architecture and centuries of history come together along Liverpool’s waterfront. Its monumental Royal Albert Dock – once one of the most important docks on the planet – is a major attraction throughout the year thanks to its eclectic mix of restaurants, bars and award-winning museums.

At Christmas, it becomes even more atmospheric with the arrival of its annual festive lights display. Head to the docks after dark to stroll along its waterside paths and marvel at glimmering lights that are artfully arranged around its buildings’ impressive facades and many towering columns.

Albert Dock is also just a short hop away from Liverpool ONE. The contemporary shopping area – a brilliant place to pick up some last-minute gifts – is always fantastically illuminated by December, with a giant Christmas tree taking centre stage.
Swan Christmas light

Watch the Winter Lights switch-on in York

Where: York City Centre

When: From 17th November

Lights aren’t just for Christmas, and this is very much proven by the historic city of York where they turn their festive lights on in mid-November and leave them up until spring.

The event is locally known as the Winter Lights and it’s set to be brighter than ever before in 2022. The official switch-on will coincide with the opening of St Nicholas Fair – one of our favourite Christmas markets – and it will light up a huge number of monuments and landmarks across the city.

Whether you’re there for the big unveiling on the 17th of November or you choose to visit in the weeks and months after, expect to see York’s bustling centre shrouded in sustainable LED fairy lights. This includes walls of lights along the ancient bars, plus the spectacular Tree of Light near Clifford’s Tower. York Minster will also be illuminated with breath-taking, themed light projections throughout the festive season.

York Christmas lights

Marvel at Manchester’s Lightopia festival 

Where: Heaton Park

When: 24th November – 2nd January

Yes, Manchester city centre may be a great place to gaze up at magical Christmas lights. But for something extra special, all you need to do is travel a little way out of the city, and you’ll find a truly magical display in leafy Heaton Park.

This gorgeous green space – the largest in the city – is just a short tram ride from Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly stations. Once you enter the park, you’ll be able to embark along an illuminated trail courtesy of Lightopia Manchester. You can simply gaze up at glittering sculptures which vividly showcase the story of Christmas. You can also expect to see plenty of luminous figures of mythical creatures, popular children’s book characters, woodland animals and more.

Lightopia is an award-winning show and extremely popular, so you’ll want to book your tickets early. Prices start at £17.50 for adults and £11 for kids (it’s free for under 2s).
Town hall covered in Christmas lights

Follow the story of Christmas at Sheffield Cathedral 

Where: Sheffield Cathedral

When: 29th November – 4th December

York isn’t the only city with a cathedral that’s given a festive makeover at Christmas. This year, Sheffield Cathedral will host its third award-winning Christmas light show that’s yet again been organised by acclaimed artist, Peter Walker.

2022’s edition is set to see the nativity story projected in wonderful, coloured lights on the walls of the medieval building. Titled ‘The Manger’, the show is destined to be a family favourite and will only run for six nights at the end of November/start of December. Tickets for the event are £8 for adults and £6 for kids (free for under 4s).

Sheffield Christmas lights

Why not witness these beautiful illuminations for yourself? 

Remember to check before you travel and book your
tickets in advance on our website or using the TPExpress app.

Don’t miss out

Get the latest offers, news & travel inspiration

TransPennine Express Privacy Policy