At the beginning of the year, I had visions of woodland stomps and exploratory outings to neighbouring towns and nearby countryside. Sadly, outings of this nature have been limited thanks to COVID-19, and my reluctance to use public transport unless strictly necessary. Without these trips, I found myself longing for days out that would simulate my twins, so when I realised that the Manchester Lightopia festival would be going ahead, socially distanced, I booked tickets. Being an evening event, I didn’t have to rely on public transport and my husband could drive us all there after work.
We arrived for our allocated time slot and joined the short queue to get into the car park. Once our car park pass had been scanned, we were able to find a parking spot quickly and find our way to the entrance. After a fairly lengthy walk to the start of the festival, we were admitted without a queue, and straight into the festival!
Although supposedly socially distanced, the event felt quite crowded. We wore masks and tried our best to stay out if other people’s way, but parts of the festival trail were along quite narrow paths and it was hard to keep distance from others. This was particularly tricky for us as we had our double buggy with us.
The lights themselves were lovely, and the babies were enraptured by them. At the more spacious points along the trail, we got them out to have a closer look, and they were clearly interested. There were a couple of displays that I particularly enjoyed as well; the moon, and a series of star sign doors that flashed in an impressive light show.
At the end of the show, a short film was projected onto the fountain that spray across Heaton Park lake – a really nice touch.
In essence, it was really good to get out of the house and do something relatively festive as a family. The babies had a great time, and it was a nice change of pace for me. Sadly, I felt the whole experience was tainted by the questionable Covid measures. A few days after the event, I started to feel under the weather. A Covid test proved that I was all clear of the virus, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I had caught a bug from someone else there!
If anyone is thinking of visiting, I would recommend exercising extreme caution, trying to arrive before the crowds, and making sure you’ve got masks on!