One of the most magical things about Christmas time is the lights. The nights may be getting darker but at Christmas time that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Decorations really add some sparkle to the festive season and wherever you go, you can catch a little bit of colour and a twinkle to brighten up your day. 

Christmas light trails and light experiences are becoming a hugely popular family activity to help everyone get into the festive spirit and experience that little bit of magic. These after-dark spectacles make for a great alternative Christmas adventure and make a vibrant change from visiting Santa’s Grotto year after year, it’s something that can captivate all ages from 7 to 70. 

Here is a roundup of some of the most stunning Christmas light displays in and around Greater Manchester, so that you can make this year’s celebrations that little bit more glittery. 

Lightopia Heaton Park

Lightopia Heaton Park 

The award-winning Lightopia is returning to Heaton park for 2022 and it’s brighter than ever. Journey through the Lightopia Christmas Story which focuses on hope, new beginnings and rebirth. Expect dazzling illuminations, inspiring installations and an immersive water show that will add some magic to the festive season and capture the imaginations of the whole family. Experience Heaton Park like you’ve never seen it before in this immersive, visually dramatic light festival. 

Lightopia runs from Thursday 24 November to Friday 2 January between 5 pm and 10 pm daily, with the last entry at 8:30 pm. Tickets are £22.50 per adult, £14.50 per child and children under 3 go free. Family tickets are available. Book Now. 

RHS Glow 2022 at RHS Garden Bridgewater  

This Christmas season, let it glow, let it glow, let it glow! Salford’s RHS Garden Bridgewater is hosting an unmissable after-dark showcase. The garden will be lit up in breathtaking light displays with a sparkling new trail full of festive colour and glitter. There’s a magical family discovery trail inspired by local folklore, a dramatic fountain display, colourful projections and more. Plus the Bridgewater Café will be serving treats if you fancy warming up with a hot chocolate and the RHS Bridgewater Garden Centre will be open to help you find a perfect gift for a special someone. 

Glow 2022 runs from Wednesday to Saturday between Wednesday 16 November and Saturday 17 December then from Tuesdays to Fridays between Tuesday 20 December and Friday 30 December. Prebooked tickets only with an adult non-member costing £12 and Children between 5 and 16 £6, and under 5s go free. Book Now. 

RHS Glow

Christmas Light Trail at Dunham Massey 

More than a million lights, lasers and seasonal sounds will fill the air at Dunham Massey this Christmas. With glittering deer, sparkling light tunnels, waterside reflections and bejewelled trees, you’ll make mesmerising memories that will last a lifetime. The Christmas Light Trail at Dunham Massey will dazzle all ages as the magic of Christmas is brought to life. There will also be a fire garden full of flickering flames and the chance to spot Father Christmas. 

The Christmas Light Trail at Dunham Massey takes place from Friday 18 November until Monday 2 January. Adult tickets cost £22.50, Children’s tickets cost £14.50 and family tickets are available. There is also free entry for carers and children aged 2 & under. Parking costs £8 per car or is free for National Trust members when booked in advance. Book now. 

The Lanterns at Chester Zoo 

Go wild this Christmas. The Lanterns at Chester Zoo is back for another enchanting year. This unique light trail will transport you to fantastical worlds and give you chance to celebrate the wonders of the animal kingdom. Explore a Norwegian fairy-tale land, a Japanese garden and the plains of Africa as you come face to face with your favourite animals in the most magical way. It’s a chance to see the zoo in a whole new light and let your imagination run wild. You’ll discover incredible species, meet costumed characters and of course, indulge in some spectacular Christmas scenes for an unforgettable evening. 

The Lanterns at Chester Zoo runs from Friday 11 November - Friday 23 December. Adult tickets start from £15 and children start from £12. Sessions run from 4 pm to 8.15 pm. The last entry for The Lanterns is 8.30 pm and the zoo will close at 9.30 pm. Book now. 

Chester Zoo

Walton Gardens Winter Light Trail 

Walton Gardens near Warrington is hosting an enchanting illuminated trail, Luminate Cheshire, this Christmas ready to delight your senses. The stunning grounds of Walton Gardens will be transformed with sparking lights, projections and elements that will take your breath away. This is a timeless event that the whole family can enjoy. 

Luminate Cheshire at Walton Gardens will run nightly from Thursday 24th November 2022 until Friday 24th December 2022. Tickets must be pre-booked online in advance. Tickets cost £19 per adult and £14 per child but family tickets are available. Book now. 

Christmas at Delamere Forest 

Just over an hour from the centre of Manchester is an enchanting and truly magical forest. Christmas at Delamere Forest provides a special way to celebrate the festive season and make memories that last a lifetime in this unmissable outdoor activity. Delamere Forest’s illuminations will transport you to a winter wonderland with fire gardens, glowing trees, illuminated displays, fairground rides and even a guest appearance from Father Christmas himself. The trail is suitable for all ages and independent street food vendors will be on hand for when you need a winter warmer or tasty treat. 

Christmas at Delamere Forest runs from Friday 25 November to Saturday 31 December with trails running every 15 minutes from 4:30 pm to 10 pm. The last entry is 8 pm. Tickets cost £21 per adult and £14 per child, family tickets are available. Book now. 

Magical Woodland at Christmas 

Cheshire Outdoors Blakemere Village just under an hour away from Manchester City Centre is creating a magical outdoor experience this Christmas. In the heart of the Cheshire woodland, you’ll find dazzling lighting and stunning sounds. This 15-acre magical Cheshire wood will be transformed into an enchanting forest full of festive cheer. Let your imagination run wild under canopies of fairy lights, interactive light features, laser tunnels, floating umbrellas and flying lanterns. You may even spot Mr and Mrs Claus if you visit before their work begins on Christmas Eve. Take the time to warm up around the firepits with tasty snacks and make memories that will last a lifetime. Book now.

Enchanted at Knowsley Safari Park 

Enchanted, Knowsley Safari Park’s magical Christmas lights experience returns this winter. As the sun sets, the fun begins and the on-foot safari is given a new lease of life with an enchanting animal trail and forest lights. There is also festive food on offer and rides will be open for the thrill-seekers, plus, this year there will be a Christmas Carnival. See the safari in a whole new light and experience the magic of Christmas. 

Enchanted at Knowsley Safari Park runs from 19 November to 30 December with tickets costing £11 for non-members and under 3s or carers attending for free. 

Magical Woodland at Christmas begins on Friday 25 November and ends on Sunday 1 January. Daily experiences run from 4 pm to 10 pm with the last entry at 8:30 pm. Tickets cost £19.95 for an adult, £15.50 for a child between 2 and 15 years old and under 2s go free. Family, carer and group discounts are available. Book now. 

So, if you’re looking for a way to brighten up your festive period, why not try one of these stunning light trails and experience the magic of the holiday season in a truly sparkly way? 

To find out about more Christmas events across the city region visit our Christmas page or, for general fun visit our What’s On page.