Incredible light displays will transform Durham landmarks as Lumiere festival returns today.
Visitors to the city can expect to be amazed by the stunning light installations that come alive at night. The event starts on Thursday, November 18, and will run for four nights until Sunday, November 21.
Festival producers Artichoke have this year brought 37 international artworks to the city, which include a “video-mapped journey from reflection to celebration” projected onto Durham Cathedral. The colourful display, called ‘In Our Hearts Blind Hope’ by Richard Hammarton, is set against a backdrop of orchestral music.
Words will also be shown on Durham Castle, as part of a collaboration between Durham University, New Writing North and leading international poets.
For the first time since the festival launched in Durham in 2009, installations will be show at a further six landmark locations across the wider county. Finchale Priory, Penshaw Monument, Raby Castle, Ushar Historic House and Gardens, Peterlee, and Seaham Marina will all host Lumiere installations.
The festival will be open each night from 4.30pm to 11pm in Durham city and 4.30pm to 10pm for the events elsewhere in County Durham. It is free to attend, but tickets are required for the city centre area of Lumiere.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK DURING LUMIERE
Old Toms Gins Bar, Riverwalk Development
The quirky bar which is filled full of curiosities has more than 300 different gins from regional producers as well as worldwide.
Staff here are experts in their field and perfectly pair gins with specialty tonics, depending on the botanicals in the gin, and garnishes. Expect floral, herbaceous and spicy flavours.
There’s a good selection of rums and craft drinks too, and cheese and charcuterie boards feature some of the UK’s leading cheese and meat producers.
A special Lumiere Cocktail has been crafted by the team and is on offer throughout Lumiere for £7.95.
The Curious Mr Fox, Riverwalk Development
If you walk past Mr Fox you might just think it’s a small bar, but step inside and you’ll discover a number of themed rooms.
Each are individually decorated with plush furnishings and there’s even an Instagram wall to pose in front of.
Expect specialist cocktails – with a Lumiere Bramble on offer, two for £10 – as well as delicious dishes.
A great place to enjoys pre-show food or to sit and sip tasty drinks once you’ve seen the spectacular installations.
Tapas Factory, Elvet Bridge
Cousins Eduardo and Rodrigo are co-owners of Tapas Factory – after moving to the city from their native Canary Islands.
The pair came to England 15 years ago with a vision to open a traditional Tapas restaurant – and lucky for Durham, they set up camp in the city.
Everything here is authentic; from the food to the wine and the tapas menu is a substantial one.
From crispy squid to gambas pil pil, croquettes with cheese and Iberico ham, meatballs and mini beef and chorizo burgers, this is true taste of Spanish tapas.
El Pincho, Riverwalk Development
El Pincho Mediterranean Bar is the new kid on the block having not long opened after covid. Situated towards the end of the Riverwalk, near the Odeon Lux Cinema, this pretty-as-a-picture venues offer stylish décor and a blend of Greek, Moroccan and tapas dishes.
As well as grazing platters and Mediterranean pizzas and burgers which promise a taste of Barcelona, Greece and Italy, you can enjoy smaller plates and pinchos (Spain’s version of a small snack).
Discovering Durham, Prince Bishops Shopping Centre
Although not a bar or restaurant, Discovering Durham is a fantastic shop if you want to experience what the local producers have to offer.
Set up by entrepreneur Liza Johnson – who also founded Tea Enthusiasts which sells specialist loose leaf tea – Discovering Durham features everything from chili sauces and piccalillis to beers and coffee; all made by people from across the county.
You’ll also find a selection of art and books from local artists and authors.
The shop shuts at 5.30pm, so if you’re heading to Lumiere, get there a little earlier so you can enjoy a browse.