Summer Lights: Beautiful Free Art Trail Returns To East London

Summer Lights: Beautiful Free Art Trail Returns To East London
Image: Canary Wharf

Love a light festival but hate the cold winter weather that goes with them? Solution = Summer Lights.

The free festival launches on the summer solstice in Canary Wharf, and will stick around for a couple of months. Rather than using glowing, illuminated structures as with winter light festivals, it features a series of artworks which make use of the daylight and (hopefully!) sunshine to look their best.

Summer Lights first came about during the pandemic, when restrictions forced the cancellation of Canary Wharf's ever-popular Winter Lights festival. Organisers cleverly came up with an alternative to encourage people to visit Canary Wharf (and no doubt make use of its cafes, restaurants and shops while in the neighbourhood).

This year, the Summer Lights trail features 11 new installations, as well as six permanent artworks, dotted around the area at locations including Cabot Square, Jubilee Park and Crossrail Place. We don't know exactly what the installations will look like yet (though you can read about them), but there are a couple we particularly like the sound of:

  • Love Birds by Australian-based Atelier Sisu consists of a flock of carbon-neutral colourful birds fluttering above visitors' heads, using natural light to create mesmerising shadows on the ground.
  • The Long and Winding Road by Ottotto repurposes corrugated drainpipes onto a steel structure to direct people into an area where they will be bathed in yellow light.
  • Kaleidoscopic Prisms by Fiona Grady uses the colours of the Pride flag in triangular shapes to create an atrium which the public can walk through, as if in a technicolour dream world.

There's also an exhibition of handblown glass in the lobby at One Canada Square.

A map of the artworks' locations will be released closer to the time. Summer Lights is free to visit — bookmark this page if you're looking for budget-friendly things to do with the kids in the summer holidays (top tip: there's free mini golf too). It's mainly outdoors, so come prepared for the British weather.

Summer Lights takes place 21 June-20 August 2022. It's free to visit, and best seen in daylight hours.

Last Updated 20 July 2022

Continued below.