Lightopia London Review 2022 - The Light Trail at Crystal Palace

(PR Invite) Lightopia returns to Crystal Palace this year with exciting new lanterns and beautiful displays. Having seen photos of last year there are a lot of changes. Lightopia Festivals take place in 4 locations (it’s in Manchester, Alton Towers and Brussels as well as London) this gives them a great opportunity to switch up the displays each year. Whether you have been before or are thinking of heading there for the first time the light trail will amaze and entertain you (or at least it did me).  This post shares the best bits and tips for visiting. 

Lightopia is one of several light trails in London this year, check out this post about the other light trails near by. 

Lightopia review at Crystal Palace London
We were invited to visit Lightopia London on opening night 2022

Lightopia London 2022 Review

We went along on the first night of opening for the 2022 season. There were a few teething problems including some speakers not working and the water display stopped working a couple of hours in (I don’t know if they fixed it again after we left), but I really enjoyed our visit. There is so much to see along the route that if a few bits aren’t working as expected it doesn’t really impact your overall experience. 

Right from the entrance there are light sculptures spaced regularly along the route (which is clearly marked). Some of the lanterns and light displays are big and really impressive while others are much smaller and just light the way. There seems to be a combination of new displays with older ones which show some signs of wear. 

For us the most impressive displays were the CBeebies Clangers, the Chinese dragon (Wonders Of The Dragon), the big Christmas tree at Magical Christmas and the moving red and green lights above the hearts which made it look like the trees were full of fairies. It is hard to choose favourites though because there are so many great ones. 

Lanterns of the Clangers and Soup Dragon at Crystal Palace Lightopia
A new Cbeebie's Clanger display

A magical Christmas tree and candy canes all lit up
Magical Christmas Display at Lightopia

A chinese dragon lantern surrounded by crystal lantern lights
Wonders Of The Dragon at Lightopia

On the route there are a couple of interactive sections. We spotted some circles that make music at the Clangers and lit up bongo drums by the Earth Flower (opposite the Chinese dragon), but there may be more. The rest of the displays are behind roped off sections to discourage people from touching them.

The water display is pretty cool and left everyone wondering how it was done as moving images appear in water spray above the lake. The water spray travels though, especially when windy so you get a bit soggy when nearby. I enjoyed watching it, but I preferred the sculptures. 

After the light show the route seems to tail off with no more big impressive sculptures, although there are various light displays along the route. I have seen a route map shared and it looks like this was created before the installations were set up because they aren’t in the same order. Near the end of the route you get to walk past some of the famous and old (they date back to 1854) Crystal Palace dinosaurs which are all lit up. 

A large lit up bauble, mouse, gingerbread man and witch in lanterns
Catch the gingerbread man before he runs away

a mythical beast lantern, a griffin maybe
A griffin at Lightopia

Flower lanterns display
Fantasy Flowers

Crystal Palace dinosaurs lit up at night
The Crystal Palace dinosaurs are beautifully lit up at the end of the light trail

What else is there at Lightopia?

As well as the lanterns and light displays Lightopia London has: 

  • A few fairground rides: dodgems, waltzer and a child’s roundabout. 
  • There are food cabins dotted around selling a wide range of food including: wraps, burgers, hot dogs, fresh doughnuts, sweets (not cheap though). The cafe next to the water show is also open between 6 and 8pm.

There are 3 fairground rides at the entrance to Lightopia

Useful Information To Know Before Visiting Lightopia London

  • There were toilets at the beginning and near the cafe.
  • It was pretty busy when we visited, but as everyone is moving at their own pace it doesn’t cause a problem. You might need to wait a minute for a photo opportunity in a couple of places like at the Clangers. I think it probably gets quiet later on as families tend to book the earlier slots.
  • Unless you stop in the cafe the whole route is outside and there is no cover. Wrap up warm and remember waterproofs if rain is forecast. 
  • There had been A LOT of rain in the days leading up to our visit. The path was mostly dry, but had muddy patches and some puddles. Adults don’t need wellies, but a decent grip is advised as some bits were slippy. Children might benefit from wellies as they will find the mud.
  • The trail will take you an hour plus, but exactly how long depends on the little legs you have with you and how long you stop to appreciate the lights/ take photos. 
  • The trail is one way only so make sure you are absolutely sure before you walk past any of the food places that you don't want them. 
  • Lots of people had pushchairs. I didn’t notice any step only areas unless you want to go into the cafe.
  • The paths are lit well enough that you can easily see where you are going, although you can’t always see the floor so we walked into a few puddles without realising. 

A pile of Fairy Magic books in one of the displays at Lightopia London
Land of the Fairies (based on Fairy Magic books)

3 large yellow bees lit up as lanterns.One is eating pizza, another a burger
Night Bees having a snack

Getting to Lightopia London

The address is:  Crystal Palace Park, Canada Gate, Anerley Hill, London SE19 2BA

There is limited parking and public transport is encouraged. To find the entrance is a little confusing in the dark because you can’t see the signs. Luckily there were staff in high vis jackets who helped. The entrance is close to the station, just come out and turn right. The pedestrian entrance is a bit to the right of where cars go in. 

Ticket Information

Entry slots are from 5pm to 8.30pm, closes at 10pm.

Tickets: peak £24.50 adults, £16.50 children, off peak £19.50 adults, £13 children.

Children under 3 go free, but need a ticket booked. There is a booking fee in addition to prices. You can currently get a 15% discount by signing up to the mailing list (according to a pop up on the website) this was previously 5%, so worth signing up either way incase there is an offer still.

If tickets are available on the day for walk ups they will cost £2 extra.

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