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Lightopia unveils new immersive Dine in the Light experience

Nestled in Heaton Park’s woodland and surrounded by lanterns, Lightopia’s illuminated Dining Domes will make for a magical dining experience

This year, Lightopia Manchester will unveil a brand-new intimate and immersive dining experience – Dine in the Light – to complete the ultimate magical Christmas Fantasy journey at Heaton Park.

The award-winning Lightopia will return with its flagship event in Manchester this November, with a brand-new enchanting light and lantern festival, presenting a Christmas Fantasy. 

And this year, for the first time, the never-before-seen illuminated trail will feature a brand-new dining experience, Dine in the Light.

Nestled in the park’s woodland and surrounded by lanterns, Lightopia’s illuminated Dining Domes will make for a unique and atmospheric dining experience for families, friends and couples. 

The 10 dining domes will serve up an imaginative and hearty three-course menu of classic seasonal dishes, all with a whimsical touch and curated by three-rosette chef Chris Holland and The Life Cafés & Resorts culinary team. 

Former head chef of Alderley Edge Hotel in Cheshire and best known for his traditional British cuisine with a molecular and experimental edge, guests should expect the unexpected – smoke, sparklers and much more.

You’ll be able to drink, dine and be merry in your very own private dining dome, which sits up to six or twelve for up to 90 minutes, before or after heading off to discover the enchanting Lightopia light trail. 

The three-course menu and a drink cost £38 per person, and a children’s menu is also on hand, served with a sprinkling of magic. 

Begin with a selection of winter-warming starters, including roasted pumpkin soup with a Parmesan and sage crumble, Swiss cheese and Riesling fondue served with torn ciabatta for dipping, vegan Buffalo cauliflower wings with Sriracha hot dip, and a rich confit duck terrine with zingy orange and cranberry salad. 

For the main event, there’s hanging kebabs – choose from lamb marinated in harissa, mint, cumin and served with toasted flatbread and dips, or smoky barbecued mushroom and celeriac served with flatbread and preserved lemon. 

Other dishes include sticky glazed short rib of beef with pureed potato and grilled tenderstem broccoli, and slow-cooked free-range chicken rubbed in Middle Eastern spices served with pilaf rice topped with crispy onion. 

Finish with a comforting Manc inspired dessert, the Manchester trifle with layers of Vimto jelly, vanilla sponge and mulled blackberries – or a Heaton Mess meringue loaded with fresh cream, baked peaches and raspberries. 

The dark chocolate and orange mousse is a twist on the classic combo, made with silken tofu and cacao, topped with orange zest and Chantilly cream. 

Those with a savoury tooth, meanwhile, can opt for the Lancashire cheeseboard, a selection of locally sourced cheeses with biscuits and a local chutney. 

Beverages include mulled wine, a selection of festival cocktails, wine, craft ales and lager.

For little ones, let them enjoy the Pirate Banquet, plated in their very own pirate ship that docks in the Lightopia Dining Dome.

They can choose from a selection of pizzas by the slice, including margarita, pepperoni and a vegan option, or alternatively fish goujons, both served with sweet potato fries, cheese bites, watermelon and cucumber. 

Sip on orange or apple juice, shiver-me-timbers strawberry lemonade or, to warm up, Captain’s hot cocoa, before tucking into an ice cream dessert, which they can top with their own very treasure – a selection of delicious toppings.

Dome dining experiences must be pre-booked, and Lightopians can choose from three dining time slots: 5pm, 6.30pm or 8pm. 

Also new for Lightopia Manchester 2021, The Stables Courtyard Bar and Dining will offer a more casual dining experience. 

Reserve your table at The Stables, under the beautiful, heated canopy in the Courtyard, where there is a variety of food and drink outlets occupying converted vintage horseboxes, offering everything from tasty, gourmet soft shell tacos to delicious stone-baked pizza al taglio, roasted chestnuts plus festive beverages and theatrical cocktails.

Walk-in on the evening, or to guarantee your spot, reserve a seat for £5 per person, which is fully redeemable against food and drink on the night.

Lightopia will be open from Thursday 18th November until Monday 3rd January. The event is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, except during school holidays. Christmas Day is closed. Opening times are between 5pm to 10pm, and last entry is 8.30pm daily. Bookings for the Dine in the Light experience are now available here. Advance tickets are priced at £20 for adults (or £22 on the day), £13 for children (£15 on the day), and £60 for families of two adults and two children (£68 on the day). Children under three can go free. Essential carers of disabled visitors can attend for free, the disabled visitor pays the normal admission fee.

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