Specialty light festivals brighten up November

In our opinion, it’s a bit early for Christmas lights. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get into the spirit!

Start off the festivities early by hopping on a train toward these non-traditional light festivals this November.

Dazzling Diwali

The ‘Golden Mile’ of Leicester, Belgrave Road, lights up again this year for Diwali, the ancient Hindu festival of lights. As one of the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India, this Festival of Light sees around 35,000 people.


The Diwali Festival of Light celebration in Leicester.

On 1 November, the Lights Switch On began the light festival which includes Diwali Day on 11 November. Celebrate with the Wheel of Light, a 110-foot Ferris wheel, shopping offers and speciality foods along the Golden Mile, dancing lessons, a parade, and much more.

One of the first cities to be served by a railway, Leicester boasts the only hand-wound station clock in the UK and is now a diesel-train only railway station.

Get the full Leicester festival guide here.

Chinese Christmas culture

Find Europe’s largest display of Chinese lanterns at the unique winter wonderland in Longleat. This light show features hundreds of lanterns themed around traditional Chinese myths and legends. See dragons, the Great Wall, and iconic Chinese scenes, all hand constructed from silk.

Running from 13 November to 3 January, the Festival of Light is set at the Longleat House, and includes an authentic Chinese market with traditional handmade crafts. Bring your children along for the magical Santa Express train ride, visits from fairy-tale characters, views of the dazzling giant tree and ice skating.

Hop off the train at the nearby Warminster railway station and explore Longleat. Well known for its Safari Park, this is an ideal holiday destination. Fill your day with a winter safari, a visit to the Longleat house and a relaxing walk through the countryside.

Plan your visit to Longleat’s Festival of Light here.

Enlightening art

Explore the historic city of Durham in the North east of England at the United Kingdom’s largest light festival, Lumiere. This not-to-be-missed four-day event celebrates its fourth year illuminating the night.

With a distinct mission to demonstrate how light can transform urban environments, the programme is supported by international artists. Displays are meant to surprise and amaze viewers, including a fantastical animal emerging from the River Wear and a virtual, reactive ceiling of light.


The Durham Cathedral lit for the 2009 Lumiere Festival.

Take a weekend off during the festival’s opening days 12-15 November. Arrive into the gorgeous Durham at the city’s train station, which greeted over 2.4 million passengers last year, and explore the Cathedral and local shops during the day.

Preview all of the fantastical light displays at Lumiere here.

NationalRail.com offers ticket sales to and from all major UK rail destinations. Book your 2015 light festival travel now.