Lightwaves Festival celebrates 10 years on Salford Quays with huge Christmas events plans

The waterside illuminations are back

By Natalie Rees | 28 November 2023

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The festive season is well and truly here, which means the return of some of our favourite events of the year across Greater Manchester.

This includes the ever-popular Lightwaves Festival, which returns this December to celebrate a decade of transforming MediaCity and Salford Quays with incredible illuminations.

This year, the free event includes a trail of 15 illuminated works from both established and emerging artists, all bringing together a variety of thought-provoking and playful pieces.

Visitors can also expect three brand-new commissions at Lightwaves, including CETUS, a luminescent artwork by Berlin-based artists Loomaland, taking the form of a six-metre whale shark.

There’s also Pulse, an immersive mirror installation and Fire Garden from award-winning outdoor art pioneers Walk The Plank, which blends moving sculpture with fire and light.

Launching on Thursday 7 December, the festival by Quays Culture is part of Winterfest, a wider Christmas schedule of events by the water. Elsewhere, there’s plenty of festive happenings to enjoy.

New Quayside foodie destination Central Bay will be the place to go for a bite to eat after enjoying the light show.

Brand-new bar 11 Central will also be serving local craft beers and artisanal gin from Salford-based Seven Bro7hers and Sis4ers Distillery and next door, new addition Kargo MKT hosts street food legends Rottu Kadai Dosa, Rio-Mex, Nila’s, Baity and many more, all serving festive favourites from across the globe.

Wayne Hemingway’s Charity Super.Mkt vintage clothing store will be selling pre-loved, vintage gems until 13 December, while the festive Makers Markets will also return with hundreds of independent traders to The Lowry Plaza every weekend until 17 December.

Over the water, Botanist are joining in on the action with bauble decorating workshops and a bingo lunch, while The Lowry theatre welcomes brand-new seasonal shows including Life of Pi, Edward Scissorhands and We’re Going On A Bear Hunt.

For the Winterfest full line-up, click here.