Winter needn’t be dark and dull, thanks to London’s proliferation of Christmas lights displays and light trails that illuminate the night. But with the Christmas decorations coming down (if not already gone), the nights ahead look long and dark. And frankly, we’re desperate for any relief. Enter our saviour: the Canary Wharf Winter Lights.
The display of gorgeously lit-up art installations will once again take over the estate this January. Featuring installations from artists from all around the world, they’re back tonight (January 17) and will light up the night until January 27. Based on past years, it’s sure to be a stunning showcase of neon, LED, and all things illuminated, showing what an unbridled imagination (and state-of-the-art light technology) can do.
Completely free to visit, the light festival will run between 5-10PM each day. You know, when it’s dark and you can appreciate the lights at their best… There’s no point turning them on when the sun is out!
At the Canary Wharf Winter Lights
2024 will mark the eighth year of the Canary Wharf Winter Lights, with 12 temporary installations joining the existing permanent light artworks. This year’s lineup “shines a light on the intersection and juxtaposition of nature and technology: allowing for moments of stimulation and pause, of beauty and technicality.”
The pieces aren’t centralised in one area, either. Instead, they’re scattered all around the estate. You’ll find works at Wren Landing, in Crossrail Place Roof Garden, over at Montgomery Square, and at Union Square.
Visitors to previous Winter Lights will remember the illuminated droplets that make up Julius Popp’s ‘Bit.fall‘, and Martin Richman’s colour-changing installation ‘We Could Meet‘. Another now permanent favourite is ‘The Clew‘ by a Portuguese team of artists and builders, Ottotto, which frames the Cubitt Steps bridge with 100 circles of red light. The circles become a quasi-tunnel for pedestrians, and the reflection in the water evokes that of a sunset.
But we’re particularly excited for this year’s new additions. This year will feature five new commissions and five pieces that are new to the UK. Among them will be the mind-bending optical illusions of ‘Kinetic Perspectives‘ by Juan Fuentes, and Gertjan Adema’s giant, calming marble run – ‘Marbles‘. And be sure not to miss the new ‘Sign‘ by Vendel & De Wolf, which illuminates a mass of bamboo with flickering red lights to evoke the “frightening and fascinating sight of fire”.
2024 will also see the return of an extremely popular piece from 2019’s Winter Lights. Squidsoup’s ‘Submergence‘ will return with its thousands of suspended delights that transform the space that you walk through. It’s sure to be hitting Instagram feeds left, right, and centre, as soon as the lights go on display.
More than just a bunch of lights
If you know one thing about the folks over at Canary Wharf – it’s that they’re not content to just put on a great show. They also love to make sure there’s plenty more to enjoy at the same time. While the Winter Lights are on display, there will be pop-up food markets all around, serving up plenty of street food and hot drinks. You can even toast marshmallows at Jubilee Park thanks to the pop-up fire pits.
And let’s not forget about the Canary Wharf ice rink! It’s sticking around until late February, so be sure not to miss it when you head on over to see the Winter Lights.
You can find out more about the Canary Wharf Winter Lights here. Now, the Winter Lights can get very busy on the weekends. So if you can make it on a weekday we highly recommend it! Oh, and be sure to wrap up warm – it’s outdoors after all. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed but it is COLD as of late!
📍 The Canary Wharf Winter Lights will run from January 17-27, between 5 – 10pm each day.
🗺️ Be sure you don’t miss any of the installations by checking the map of the Winter Lights, available through the Canary Wharf app.
Also published on Medium.