Where else could you find a statue of the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry on his horse turned into a giant snowglobe? Well Durham Lumiere of course! Between 17-20th November 2011, Durham turned into a magical place when Lumiere arrived for the second time since it first began in 2009. It is a biennial event and I’m already looking forward to it returning in 2013. We missed it in 2009 as I was 41 weeks pregnant with MissB so this year I was determined to go, despite the cold and damp weather and having a 9 month old and 23 month old with us!
Now I’d love to fill this post with loads of beautiful photos that I took but to be honest it was really misty and so although we saw lots of the installations, my photos are all full of “orbs” from the mist (well either that or the spirits of hundreds of ghosts were showing themselves )
In total there were 35 installations this year, we didn’t get to see them all but we managed to see most of the ones I really wanted to. A couple were rather disappointing and some where amazing. The crowds were insane and although they advise you to leave buggys at home, with 2 under 2 we didn’t really have an option to and so we braved the crowds with the Twin Techno. The lights come on at 6pm and so headed into town at 5:30pm after dressing the terrors in warm clothes and ensuring they had full stomachs. With their usual bedtime being at 7pm we knew we were risking it but it was an opportunity not to be missed!
I shall start with my favourite installation which was Les Voyageurs, as we walked around South Bailey you couldn’t help but notice the glowing figures soaring overhead or sitting on the rooves or in gardens. There was something really magical about it, almost Peter Pan like. MissB loved them.
Moving on from South Bailey, we came to Rainbow Bridge, which to be honest looked nothing like the website led us to believe it would and was hugely disappointing. It did however look better from down the river which I think was helped by the mist. I didn’t even bother getting the camera out for this installation.
The Cathedral looked amazing with The Crown of Light projected onto it, definitely one of the highlights. It was absolutely stunning. My camera let me down here but I’ve found a video clip on you tube which will give you an idea of how amazing it was:
by rather poor comparison my photo looked like this
Some people apparently thought the giant snowglobe was a monstrosity, I however loved it. Anyone in Durham is familiar with the man on a horse statue that stands proudly in Market Square (he’s the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry apparently!) but to see him encased in a giant snowglobe was just as surreal as it gets! You can’t help but stand and stare.
As we were fast approaching meltdown from a cold and tired MissB we didn’t get to visit too many of the installations and I’m sad that I missed some of the ones I really wanted to see but next time round we will have a 4yo and a 2yo so navigating the crowds and the cold will hopefully be a whole lot easier
Unfortunately by the time you read this, Lumiere will be over for 2011 and you will have to wait until 2013 for it to return but if you do come to visit, here are a few tips!
1) Plan ahead to decide which installations you want to see. The website has details and maps so you can research before you arrive in Durham
2) Parking is crazy so leave plenty of time and pack some patience
3) Wrap up warm, VERY warm!
4) Expect to queue for food, expect crowds, lots of crowds.
5) If possible leave the pushchairs at home, it is bloody hard work getting them through the crowds but if you have to take one you will manage