Durham Lumiere: Pictures as 'biggest ever' light festival returns

  • Take a sneak peek at what to expect

Thousands are expected to descend on Durham over the next four days as the UK's largest light festival begins.

Global light art biennial, Lumiere, returns today for its 8th appearance in 14 years and its largest edition ever. From Thursday 16 November until Sunday 19 November, more than 40 light installations will brighten the city's skies between 4:30pm and 11pm.

Visitors are being advised to plan their journey to the free event and each installation can be found on a map on the Lumiere Festival website

Lumiere appeals to all ages and whether from further afield or local, first-time or returning, visitors describe the festival as "an exciting experience."

One couple who travelled from Cambridgeshire said: "The art installations are fantastic. Our favourite is Neptune's sphere as it is simple but effective."

Another couple said: "It's such a lovely experience to come along and have a nice time with the family."

It's an interesting time too for fresher students who have never seen the city lit up this way. Some described the experience as "beautiful" and added: "There's a real atmosphere in the city. An anticipation for the start. It's bringing Christmas vibes."

One 70-year-old woman local to Durham said: "I love lights. I am attracted to lights. I think I am a moth!" and added: "Durham is a beautiful city. I am very proud."

An art installations creates a very different look for the city's castle. Credit: Matthew Andrews

One man said he had planned to come for three years but finally made the journey from Stockport as he felt this was his first opportunity when no rain was forecast. He said his phone is primed and ready to take lots of photos.

This year will see Javier Riera's 'Liquid geometry' drape Durham's Cathedral UNESCO World Heritage Site in what producers Artichoke promise to be its most spectacular transformation yet, both outside and inside its walls.

Meanwhile Mr. Beam's 'Castle of Colour' is just one of the unique installations appearing in the historic town centre of nearby Bishop Auckland.

Watchtower is another of the installations to be on show this year for the many visitors of the city to photograph and experience. Credit: Matthew Andrews

There are 18 new commissions in total plus seven UK debut installations from North East artists' schools and communities, as well as artists from around the world who are prominent in the light art movement.

Other light artworks to look out for are Ai Weiwei’s Illuminated Bottle Rack, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse Topology and Adam Frelin’s Inner Cloister.

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