Art Adventure – Illuminating York 2016

Last Thursday (27th October 2016) we went on an adventure to York to see Illuminating York, Weds 26th -Sat 29th 6pm-10pm.

“The festival invites you to explore and discover the city through the imagination of artists, using the medium of light in all its forms.

This year the festival will open up some of York’s most famous, most interesting and intriguing buildings by night, to experience them in a completely new way. Outdoors, buildings, spaces and places will also host installations using light and projection. Travel between these sites and spot our bunny lights in York’s shop windows along the way.”

We started at Cliffords Tower to see Lumenpulse then walked over to The National Railway Museum for Travelling Light by Heinrich and Palmer and the work by Leeds City College students  (once we found where to get in, as the main entrance wasn’t open and it wasn’t well signposted either). Next we made our way to York St John University for Lumen by David Ogle plus the work by students there too, stopping off at Exhibition Square on the way for NoHL: Pockets of Light Shades of Light by Society of Light and Lighting (SLL) working with York Schools to light part of the walls in Exhibition Square. Last we walked over to the Minster, spotting some of the bunnies on the bunnie trail on the way.


I’d been to Light Night Leeds at the beginning of the month (you can read about it in my blog post here) which I had really enjoyed, so my expectations were high. Sadly I was disappointed with Illuminating York (we both were, and he didn’t even get to go to Leeds). It says on the website that it’s “York’s biggest Night-Time Festival” but to me it didn’t feel like a festival like it did in Leeds. More like a few events that happened to be going on at the same time. In Leeds it felt like everything was tied together and part of one big city wide event. This was helped by the maps telling you where things were which were given out at the events themselves, plus in specific places that were easy to see and by helpful people handing them out there too. If there were maps being given out in York I didn’t see them, just the one on the website, which made it harder to find the things that were going on so there were a few more things that we didn’t get to see. Even so it still seemed that there were a lot more things going on at the Leeds Light Night and unfortunatley the Illuminating York website didn’t seem to be as professional looking and helpful as the one for Leeds either.

It didn’t seem to be as busy as the event in Leeds either, which could have been because this one was over 4 days rather than 2, but even so it still seemed quiet in comparison.

I didn’t intend for this blog post to be a comparison of the two events but as they were similar I suppose it was inevitable. It’s a shame that I found York to be lacking with it’s event. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I was going to so it was a bit disappointing. It was fun to visit the National Railway Museum at night and see the trains lit up dramatically, and I really liked the light trees of Lumen at York St John University. It was even nice to see Cliffords Tower lit up and spot the bunnies on the trail but still it felt like there should have been more and better.

Hopefully they might take more inspiration from Light Night Leeds for next years event and make it a bit more worth the trip.

If you went what did you think to it?

Comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Till next time.

Take care,

Purple Faye x