Lightopia announces local heroes area and discounted tickets for key workers


Lightopia, the award-winning lantern and light festival in Heaton Park, has revealed a brand-new area for its 2020 launch: a Local Heroes display, dedicated to those on the COVID19 frontline.

And as a thank you to the essential workers, keeping everyone safe and connected during difficult times, Lightopia is offering an exclusive discount for key workers, with 20% off tickets.

The festival is also inviting five key worker families to its VIP launch night – a first chance to the see the magical illuminated trail of unique interactive and immersive lights, lanterns and installations before anyone else.

The Local Heroes walkway will be magically lit to reveal a beautiful, colourful rainbow display, with the words ‘Thank You’ lit up in front of the well-regarded symbol of 2020.

The large, heartfelt creation will make for the perfect photo backdrop for families and friends, and a way for people to show their appreciation for all the city’s heroes during the pandemic.

A new route has been designed for this year to create a safe environment, where Lightopians are able to see the sights safely with friends and family. There will be wider footpaths to maintain social distancing, three entry points to reduce queuing and direct access to two car parks.

Every creation in the festival has been designed by critically acclaimed contemporary artist Ava Moradi.

“This area has a special focus on Key Workers,” says Ava about the Local Heroes rainbow.

“The NHS rainbow is an important symbol of 2020 and a strong reminder to people that the current situation has had an impact on people all around the world. This large-scale light installation is visually bright and stunning and will bring joy and happiness to those that visit it.

“Lightopia is a world in which light, sculpture and art combine with new and traditional Chinese lantern-making techniques, to create an immersive experience.

“This year, the new route has a real festive family-friendly feeling and a magical journey through lantern trails awaits.”

The main centrepiece of the festival is Lightopia’s new, stand-out Christmas showcase, which uses the Grade I-listed Heaton Hall as its backdrop. Visitors can pass by Santa’s sleigh with reindeer, glistening snowflakes, and make their own festive soundtrack with a giant interactive walking piano. 

Also new for 2020 is the Astronomy display, illuminating the night sky with its beautiful moon installation, an area dedicated to the Manchester Skyline and an immersive Musical City encouraging visitors to dance their way through the lights. 

The popular Animals attraction will return, and much-loved installations from last year can be re-visited in the Discovery space and the Woodland Fairytale area, with some new captivating pieces featured in this illuminated wonderland.

The Lakeside water show will also play a key role in the exhibition, as a new state-of-the-art projection creates a visual masterpiece, bringing Lightopia’s theme of discovery to life.

Lightopia will be open from Friday 20th November until Sunday 3rd January. There are a limited number of tickets available for key workers, with a 20% discount off the standard ticket price, when using code KEY20 here. The 20% discount is applied to all tickets in the online basket. One essential worker ID is required for entry, per party. Standard advance tickets are £20 for adults (or £22 on the day), £13 for children (or £15 on the day), and £60 for families (£68 on the day). Children under three go free. 

Book now


For more stories like this, check our news page.

Why not follow #ILoveMCR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn? You can also send story ideas to

Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Charity Foundation raises vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. There’s a unique sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are making a real difference in the lives of others, especially those close to home.