Manchester’s ‘sky park’ Castlefield Viaduct to become sparkling grotto as night falls
Castlefield Viaduct in Manchester, the lush National Trust site built up on a disused railway viaduct, has announced plans of night time activity this winter.
The beautiful parkin the sky will be inviting visitors to see the urban green space by nightfall.
There’ll be a free Lantern Lates series where the park will transform into a ‘magical, sparkling grotto’.
Visitors can climb up to Castlefield Viaduct, the huge industrial landmark that has views right across Manchester city centre, and savour the winter wonderland created for the coming season.
It’s before the National Trust project closes for a few weeks in the new year for work to refresh the gardens for spring and summer.
The viaduct itself has been abandoned since 1969, until the charity revealed plans to turn it into a sky park similar to New York’s High Line.
The temporary urban garden has attracted thousands of visitors and the National Trust is now fundraising to secure a permanent future for the project, which is currently closing in September 2024.
Along with the Lantern Lates series, Castlefield Viaduct’s other night time events will include a Winter Garden Tour, where guides will explain the stories behind winter plants like holly, ivy and mistletoe.
And at the end of it all there’ll be a Cosy Corner, a relaxing spot with books, boardgames and crafts.
The Cosy Corner will be built at the far end of the Castlefield Viaduct park, where huge windows look across the overgrown and untouched section of the old railway bridge.
Castlefield Viaduct is the ideal spot to escape all the madness of the silly season and non-stop parties going on in the city below.
It’s open all the way through winter until Saturday 2 January (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day), with free entry. You can book morning tours on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, or take a wander after 12.30pm on those days or any time on Wednesdays, weekends and bank holidays.
Lantern Lates at Castlefield Viaduct
17 November 2023 – 1 January 2024, 3.30pm – 5pm | Free – Drop-in
As the nights draw in Castlefield Viaduct transforms into a magical, sparkling grotto.
From 3.30pm to 5pm every day, drop in to wander along the light trail and visit the garden in the sky in a different way. It’s the perfect time for a moment of rest above the busy city, take in Greater Manchester’s 21st century skyline and maybe even spot a bat or two.
Get out of the busy city streets and join Castlefield Viaduct for a tour around some festive flora.
Nature has long associations with this time of the year from holly and ivy to mistletoe and chestnuts. Your guide will tell you the stories behind some of the winter plants on the viaduct and introduce the beauty of winter in the garden.
11 December 2023 – 1 January 2024, daily | Free – Drop-in
Warm up and chill out… After a walk through the winter garden take some time out in the Castlefield Viaduct Cosy Corner.
This December the visitor building will be transformed into a relaxing spot with books, board games and easy crafts plus the spectacular views of the wild viaduct and Castlefield below. Take a break from the rush, settle in with a good read or simply watch nature go by.
The viaduct is a temporary project from the National Trust and due to permanently close after summer 2024. To help secure a future for the project and help the garden grow, you can make a donation or give one as a gift? Click here to give direct to Castlefield Viaduct.
Featured image: David Bewick/National Trust
The incredible new lantern trail around a northern theme park with Yorkshire pudding wraps, boozy hot chocolates, and more
Yorkshire pudding wraps and boozy hot chocolates are just some of the festive treats on offer at an incredible new lantern trail.
In case you haven’t heard, Land of Lights has now opened at Gulliver’s World in Warrington, and it’s transformed the much-loved North West theme park into an immersive winter wonderland for the Christmas season – with 12 “vivid dreamworlds” full of dozens of gigantic lanterns inspired by animals, mega monuments, and wonders of the natural world to marvel at.
As the sun goes down and the nights draw in, visitors are now able to explore an amazing array of light installations as they walk all around the park.
More than 7,000 individual lanterns and hundreds of thousands of LED lights create the spectacle.
Having been already enchanting families since it opened at few weeks back now, Land of Lights is a first-of-its-kind attraction for the area, and it’s arrived in Warrington after it was held for the first time ever at Gulliver’s Land down in Milton Keynes last year, and proved to be a smash-hit success that was visited by thousands.
The award-winning work of the Zigong Lantern Group – with more than 100 people involved in the production process, and it taking six months to design, manufacture, and artistically finish – Land of Lights seems to already be garnering rave reviews.
But those aren’t just down to all the show-stopping lanterns and light installations.
That’s because visitors also have the chance to tuck into a feast of festive-themed street food and drinks all throughout the festival too.
As you make your way around the illuminated park, you can grab everything from freshly-made and generously-filled Yorkshire pudding wraps, and an impressive selection of handmade churros, to authentic German sausages and bratwursts, and a winter-warming lineup of tipples and soft drinks like mulled wine, beer, and boozy hot chocolates.
Not only that, but there’s also Lagado’s Restaurant & Grill located on site too, which offers up a wide range of sit-down meal options inside its warm restaurant on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays of the festival.
As we mentioned, the event looks to have been proving pretty popular in the short time since it’s opened, with positive reviews coming in thick and fast.
One glowing review reads: “We visited Land of Lights at Gulliver’s world, I have to say it’s breathtaking, much more than what I imagined, well worth the money, definitely recommended.
“Like stepping into a fairy tale, it’s an amazing experience. You have hot food and drink, different gadget shops during the trail, it’s an instant stress relief after a bad day. Parking is free.”