Fantastic Free Lights Festival Returns To London Tomorrow

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 64 months ago

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

Last Updated 14 January 2019

Fantastic Free Lights Festival Returns To London Tomorrow
Canary Wharf Winter Lights 2018. Photo: Londonist

Canary Wharf Winter Lights — a free illuminations festival with more than 20 installations — returns tomorrow.

Winter Lights is now in its fifth year, bringing light art by artists from all over the world to east London. Some of the artworks are interactive or responsive, using lighting technology to change depending on what's going on around then — last year's festival involved light-up graffiti and cascading 'trending' words.

Take a look at the 2018 Winter Lights festival to get an idea of what to expect:

You'll find the artworks in parks, squares, streets and shopping centres all over the Canary Wharf Estate. That cascading writing is back this year, consisting of words appearing in a live newsfeed on The Times website (care to place a bet on how long it takes for 'Brexit' to appear?). Other highlights include psychedelic prisms designed to look like an ice palace, and a huge sculpture designed to resemble the skeletal insides of a whale.

New for this year is Winter Lights Bites, a gathering of vintage food trucks in Cabot Square. Pizzas, flatbreads, falafel, waffles and other street food options are available to see you on your way around the light festival.

You can download a map of this year's installations to help plan your route. In the past though, we've found the maps to be a bit tricky to follow, especially if you're not familiar with Canary Wharf. Stewards and volunteers are usually on hand to point you in the right direction if you're a bit disorientated.

The beauty of the festival's long-run time (11 evenings) is that you can split your visit over several nights — or even two weekends — if you don't have time to see it all in one evening.

Take a look at some of our photos from Winter Lights 2018:

Canary Wharf Winter Lights 2019 is free to visit, and is open 5pm-10pm, 15-26 January 2019.