As excitement builds for the UK’s leading light festival, visitors are being encouraged to plan their journeys in advance.
Lumiere is set to illuminate Durham City from Thursday 18 November to Sunday 21 November and, this year, it will be spreading its magic even further by lighting up six landmarks across County Durham.
This approach reflects Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025, which aims to secure the prestigious title for both the county and city of Durham.
Lumiere is commissioned by Durham County Council and produced by Artichoke, with support from Arts Council England, Durham University and a host of other sponsors.
And, with the festival now just a week away, the organisers are urging people to consider their travel arrangements in advance. They are also reminding visitors that access to the city centre installations is ticketed throughout the event.
Visitors are advised to use Durham City’s Park and Ride services, which will be extended throughout the festival. As well as running from existing sites at Belmont, Howlands and Sniperley, two additional services will be introduced. These will be located at New College Durham, just outside of Durham City, and Annand House in Meadowfield and will provide almost 3,000 extra spaces.
Regular services will run to and from the Park and Ride sites into the city centre until 11.30pm each night, while car parks will remain open around the clock. Return tickets cost £2 per person or are free for concessionary pass holders and under-16s who are accompanied by an adult. Passengers are encouraged to wear face coverings on buses unless they are exempt.
Visitors can also travel to the festival by public transport but are advised to check with bus operators in advance, as some routes may change and bus stops on Claypath will not be accessible after 2pm.
In a change from previous years, the controlled city centre area will be ticketed for the entirety of the festival. This means visitors will need a timed ticket to visit the Market Place, Saddler Street, Silver Street, Palace Green, North and South Baileys, Prebends Bridge and Riverside at any time between 4.30pm and 11pm. Tickets are free but should be booked in advance at www.lumiere-festival.com. Those without access to a mobile phone, tablet or computer can book tickets at Durham County Council libraries. Many time slots have now sold out. However, 29 of the 39 installations are outside of the controlled zone and are accessible without a ticket.
Two main entrances will be in place for Lumiere 2021 at Claypath and Framwellgate Bridge. One-way systems may be introduced in local areas to manage audience flow if required for safety reasons.
There will also be no vehicular access to the peninsula from 1pm each day and a number of road closures will be in place from 2pm. Full details can be found at www.durham.gov.uk/lumiere
For the first time, installations will also be located outside of the city and will be illuminated between 4.30pm and 10pm. These will be located at Ushaw Historic House, Chapel and Gardens, near Ushaw Moor; Raby Castle near Staindrop; the Apollo Pavilion in Peterlee, Finchale Priory, near Framwellgate Moor; Seaham Marina; and Penshaw Monument in Sunderland.
Public transport links and parking are available at all sites apart from Finchale Priory, which can only be accessed via a dedicated shuttle bus service running from New College Durham. Buses will leave the college regularly between 4.10pm and 9.20pm. The last bus leaves Finchale Priory at 10:00pm.
Bus tickets are free and it is strongly recommended that you book in advance at www.lumiere-festival.com/solitude-tickets/. Road closures will also be in place, with no pedestrian or vehicle access to the priory from either the Brasside or Cocken Road sides of the river. For more information, visit www.durham.gov.uk/lumiere
Dave Wafer, Durham County Council’s head of transport and contract services, said: “We are expecting large numbers of visitors in Durham City and at the six other installation sites during Lumiere. That is why we are encouraging festival-goers to plan their travel arrangements in advance to allow them to make the most of the event and help avoid congestion.
“We would also advise anyone travelling through the city to take into account how the increased traffic may affect their journey.”
For live travel updates during the festival, follow @DurhamCouncil on Facebook or Twitter or use the hashtag #LumiereDurham.
A full list of Park and Ride sites, road and footpath closures, changes to parking bays and other information is available at www.durham.gov.uk/lumiere.
To view the full Lumiere programme, visit www.lumiere-festival.com. The festival also has its own free app which can be downloaded in advance from the Apple Store or Google Play.
Durham County Council, Culture Durham and Durham University are leading County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025. To find out more about the Durham 2025 campaign, visit www.durham2025.co.uk or follow Durham2025 on Facebook, Durham_2025 on Twitter and Durham2025 on Instagram.
A short video featuring an interview with Dave Wafer is available at https://youtu.be/x8RQYGpXPtU