I was lucky enough to attend Durham University, so was able to see the biennial ‘light festival’ in its home town. I’m not going to lie, that has kind of ruined the London version for me, as I think the event is much better suited to Durham where the entire city can be taken over, versus the isolated areas you get in London.
That being said, I have attended the two years it’s been here in London, and I do like the way it’s been set up this year in the ‘pods’ of King’s Cross, Fitzrovia, London’s West End, Mayfair, Westminster & Victoria, and South Bank & Waterloo; which gives it a bit more of that all-encompassing feel that you got in Durham.
This year, I chose to visit the Kings Cross portion – it’s easily accessible for me from South London, plus I’m familiar with the area. The ‘trail’ starts right outside the station (use the Regents Canal exit) with the gorgeous IFO – although as this is a remnant from the last Lumiere LDN, you’re likely familiar with it if you’re ever around the Kings Cross area.
Unless you’re planning on making a weekend of it and visiting absolutely everything, I’d really recommend going for the area(s) you know best as it’s amazing to see them transformed!
The trail of artwork takes you up towards the canal, through Granary Square, and out the other side, where there’s a decent food market and pop-up bar. You can then meander back along the water and return to the station via the Granary Square exit to finish your tour with another installation familiar to regular station-goers.
As you wander round, keep your eye out for shops offering things like glow-sticks and face-painting – it’s all free, so busy, but some of them were also giving away collectible stickers that you could trade in for free candyfloss (if you’re willing to wait in the even longer queue in the food market)!
I’ll leave you to explore the artworks yourselves, but do want to cover a couple of practical aspects, as you’re probably used to by now if you’ve read any of my other posts.
- This may seem obvious, but it’s January and it’s night-time – it’s cold! Wrap up warm, especially if visiting the Kings Cross portion as you can get some pretty cold gusts off the canal.
- It’s going to be busy, so if you’re planning on grabbing dinner too, book ahead. We went on the Thursday and still struggled to find somewhere with a free table (we ended up in Vinoteca – review coming soon).
- Download the app if you’re likely to want a map or information about the installations, the hard copies available there aren’t free.