Review: Lightopia Festival, London

(Gifted)¦ On Thursday evening, we wrapped up warm and headed up to London to visit Lightopia. Open at Crystal Palace Park across the festive season (from 17th November – 2nd January), it is a multiple award winning lantern and light festival.

This was the first Christmas event in our calendar. It felt a little odd to be doing something festive already, but I was keen to see if it could put us in the Christmas spirit! The entrance was beautiful and I wanted to admire it for longer, but Autumn needed a wee after the hour long car journey so we quickly walked in past it, past the rides and the first few displays until we got to a toilet cabin. The rides are more for adults and teenagers, although children could of course enjoy the dodgems! I appreciated the fact that there was a lovely circus themed display to look at while we queued for our tickets to be scanned.

I really enjoyed the Crystal Palace display, which was a wonderful nod to Lightopia London’s location and its history. Panels with 3D outlines of the architecture behind changed all the colours of the rainbow in time with music.

We then saw the Clangers which were very cute, before passing the majestic dragon and reaching the Earth Flower.

Lightopia allows children to immerse themselves in the experience and interact with it (or adults, if they want to!) There were illuminated circles that made a tune on them as you walked by the Clangers. The Earth Flower was far more impressive, though. Positioned in front of it were several illuminated bongo drums. As the children patted them, streaks of multicoloured lights shot across the ground from the drum, up into the Earth flower. You can see this in my TikTok video at the bottom of the page!

It was a lovely family evening out ahead of Christmas. It was quite magical, meandering through Crystal Palace Park through a haunted road, past fantasy creatures, flowers and fairies. The book fairy and the little toadstools near the end were my favourite.

Of course, there were some Christmas themed lights too!

I can’t help but wonder how long it took to design and put this wonderful experience together!

Near the end, we reached the water show. Autumn couldn’t take her eyes off of the nutcrackers, Father Christmas and lights beaming from across the water. The only thing was, it was a very windy night and we got pretty wet standing on the pontoon to watch it! Nevertheless, it was certainly something different and a good almost-finale to the Lightopia experience.

I thought we’d dressed warm enough, but we could have done with wrapping up a bit more. Especially by the water light show! The park is quite open in places, so the cold wind just whips across. So make sure you take your scarves, wooly hats and gloves!

It was a really good evening out and certainly had us feeling more festive. It would have been nice if there had been some Christmas market type stalls throughout the experience and it could have done with more food stalls. That said, there was a fairly good variety of food stalls ranging from German sausages to sweets.

It also could have done with some toilets at the end and better signage back to the car park. We were quite tired, cold and still slightly soggy by the time we got near the car park. It wasn’t completely clear how to get back there and we saw lots of other people try to take the same shortcut we did which didn’t get us anywhere.

If it was in Kent, lovely as it was, I’d have thought it a little over-priced (see prices below). However, as everything in London is more expensive, it is probably about right!

Parking for Lightopia Crystal Palace

There is a limited amount of parking. If you’re there early you might be lucky to get a space. Parking there cost us £12, but if you pre-pay it is £10. However, it might be easier to take public transport to get there.

How to get to Lightopia London

Transport links are good – it’s right on the doorstep of both Crystal Palace and Penge West Stations. If you’re travelling from within London, public transport would probably be much quicker and convenient than driving. If you’re coming from one of the home counties like me, (I travelled from Kent), car may be better.

How much do tickets cost?

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.

You can book your tickets here.

How long does it take to walk through Lightopia London?

It takes around an hour and a half to see everything. It really depends on your pace, if you go on any rides, if you get any food and how long you stop to admire things for! We were there for about 2 hours, including a couple of stops for refreshments.

Was it muddy?

The paths are good for pushchairs and wheelchairs and relatively mud free. That said, if there has been rain I would definitely pack your wellies!

Can you show me more?

Of course! Take a look at my TikTok for a 30 second whizz through the magic of Lightopia!

Disclosure: We were gifted tickets to Lightopia London in exchange for coverage. As always, all views and opinions are honest and my own.