Northern Lights come to Norwich

Norwich will hold a seven-week festival of light this winter, with the UK’s first ‘tunnel of light’ as the centrepiece of the city’s celebrations.

The festival launches on November 17, as the Christmas lights switch-on takes place.

Inspiration for the tunnel comes from Nagashia Resort’s theme park Nabana no Sato in Japan.

Made from 50,000 pulsating LEDs, the display will be 45 metres long, four metres high and six metres wide.

The sequenced lights will reflect the patterns and colours of the Northern Lights as visitors to experience a display of dancing beams.

In addition, three commissioned original film projections, each with a distinct Christmas story set to music, will be broadcast nightly between 5pm and 9pm.

The projections will appear on the Art Deco-style City Hall and Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

There will also be two Christmas markets during November: a pop-up artisan Norwegian Handcrafters Christmas market (November 19-24); and The Enterprise Market (November 26-29), for young entrepreneurs to sell creative products, designs and innovations.

Traditional Christmas activities also taking place include ice-skating in Castle Gardens under the shadow of Norwich Castle; a pantomime featuring Wayne Sleep in Jack in the Beanstalk; and Hansel and Gretel at Norwich Puppet Theatre.

Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) has invested £250,000 in the upgraded Christmas entertainment.

Stefan Gurney, executive director, said: “Experience the amazing Christmas offer in Norwich this year with the best ever shopping, lights and spectacular projections.”

Nick Bond, head of tourism at VisitNorwich, added: “With the launch of all these fantastic new attractions in Norwich over the Christmas period, coupled with the already great shopping, events, food and drink and seasonal performance, we hope even more people will travel to Norwich this year.”

• Norwich will also be the location for the Association of Group Travel Organisers (AGTO) Silver Anniversary Showcase Weekend (October 28-30).

There will be a welcome session from Visit East Anglia, a marketing seminar, AGTO branch and annual general meetings and an anniversary dinner.

The fam trip programme includes visits to Norwich, Bury St Edmunds and the north Norfolk coast.