Northumberland Lights Festival Comes To Cragside And Hadrian's Wall

By Caroline Lewis | 23 October 2007
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photo of a half ruined wall at night illuminated by coloured flood lights

© Northumberland Lights/John Williamson

Historic sites in rural Northumberland will be bathed in a whole new light during special events this winter. The Northumberland Lights Festival is returning in 2007 to make some dramatic locations even more dramatic, from Blyth to the Borders.

It kicks off in Blyth, on November 4, with a day-long family event including theatrical entertainments around Ridley Park. After sundown, a lantern parade will head through the old town and down to the Quayside where a pyrotechnics show will provide the grand finale.

From November 16 to 18, visitors to Cragside estate will be in for an illuminating treat. The Victorian house was the first home to be lit by electricity, and is filled with gadgets, so is an appropriate place for a lights event.

“Cragside was one of Lord Armstrong’s greatest achievements and the illumination of his spectacular landscape will highlight what was described in its Victorian heyday as ‘the palace of a modern magician’,” commented John O’Brien, Property Manager of Cragside (National Trust).

The Electric Forest at Cragside will take visitors alongside the Debdon burn, revealing the stunning aspects of the Valley Garden and a dramatic lit up landscape, as well as sculptures in the conifer forest. The night-time tour is a ticketed event – see www.northumberlandlights.com for booking details.

photo of a woman sat in from of a rocky waterfall with a large manor house in the background

Cragside, once the home of pioneering Victorian engineer Lord Armstrong, will host a special night-time tour during Northumberland Lights. Photo: Simon Hobson

Continuing the atmospheric discovery of Northumberland by night, Warkworth Voices (November 23-25) will bring together storytelling, haunting choral performances and textured light displays against the twilit backdrop of Warkworth Castle’s great tower and bailey.

“Set in the beautiful historic village of Warkworth, the castle dominates the skyline as it stands on a hill high above the River Coquet,” said Rob Flower, English Heritage’s Head of Visitor Operations in Northumberland.

“This event will highlight the beauty and intricate late medieval architecture of the Castle. The exterior of the castle will be visible from the surrounding houses, roads and countryside, helping visitors and residents to enjoy Warkworth in a totally different context.”

On December 1, Walltown on Hadrian’s Wall will host Stone, a spectacular son-et-lumière event. A mesmerising experience is promised at this former quarry site, responding to its geology and archaeology, with rock surfaces subtly lit, accompanied by pyrotechnic bursts and a soundscape bringing the historic site alive.

Surprise shows will turn up at various locations throughout the county in December as well, and the public are invited to nominate buildings or sites they would like to see lit up. Nominate a site by emailing info@northumberlandlights.com.

To find more details of events and tickets, visit www.northumberlandlights.com. All visitors are advised to wrap up warm with appropriate outdoor clothing. Refreshments will be available at each event.

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