Autumn After Dark – a UK entertainment guide

New Year's Eve Fireworks
London lights up in November
As the nights begin to draw in, and a distinctive British chill returns to the air, it’s easy to lament the passing of those long, hazy days spent outdoors in shorts or summer dresses. It often feels like there’s nothing left to do until next year but hibernate, coming out only to celebrate those precious fun filled weeks over Christmas.But fear not! Your summer clothes may be packed away, but the UK is chock full of activities, locations and adventures up and down the country that will help you to enjoy the evenings that are closing in.
Enchanted Forest – Faskally Wood, Pitlochry
3rd – 26th OctoberWhat better way to take advantage of the early darkness than enjoying one of the UK’s most spectacular sound and light shows! Put one every year as autumn unfolds, each event has a different theme that is then explored through choreographed sound and light effects, which unfold as you work your way through the forest. This year’s theme is Elemental, and is all about getting back to nature through the enjoyment of the elements. While the weather is usually an uncontrollable aspect of the show, this year you can expect to be wowed by elemental effects.

The natural backdrop of the forest will be set off by amazing visuals and beautiful design, accompanied by an original music score written specially for the event. You can also expect to be delighted by aerial performance artists defying gravity in the tree tops, and an enchanted story telling yurt. The outdoor catering team also ensures you won’t go hungry, and you can enjoy a hot chocolate or a mulled wine to keep you cosy as you wonder around on a frosty evening.

It’s recommended that you allow between 60 – 90 minuets to fully appreciate the event, and you may want to go around more than once to make sure you catch everything! The show is fantastic for children, although you may struggle to get around the forest path with large buggies.

Illuminating York – York city centre
29th October – 1st November

On a similar theme, you can also brighten up your autumn nights with a visit to York’s annual light festival, Illuminating York. Named as one of the Guardian’s top ten European light festivals, it’s one of the city’s biggest annual events and is not to be missed. Having begun nine years ago, York have been wowing visitors with stunning illuminated art for nearly a decade. With specially commissioned digital art being projected onto various historic buildings, you get to appreciate York’s beautiful architecture as well as seeing some great works of art. Using the latest technology available, 12 pieces of illuminating artwork will be displayed across the city centre.

The main attraction is to be Hidden Worlds, which is being projected onto the York Crown Court Building. Using 3D projection-mapped animation, the art work explores the microscopic and the unconscious. There are also various supporting events and other local attractions that can be taken advantage of while visiting the city, including several tours and trails, so you can enjoy the event over several evenings. Also new for this year is the opportunity to travel further afield to witness the Castle Howard bathed in light.

Lewes Bonfire Night Celebrations – Lewes, East Sussex
5th November

The biggest and best known bonfire night celebrations in the UK have been taking place in Lewes for hundreds of years. Almost always a riotous affair, the event sees six local bonfire societies joining forces with visiting groups. Marching bands also travel to take part in revelries, and the occasion is always marked by costumes and parades, along with a tradition of carrying 17 burning crosses through town. The evening peaks with huge bonfires on the surrounding hills, and spectacular firework displays. As the carnival-like evening can be pretty boisterous, it’s not recommended that you take young children.

Lord Mayor’s Show – London
8th November

While occurring very close to bonfire night, this event comes from a completely different tradition – since the year 1215, the city mayor was expected to travel upriver to Westminster, in order to swear loyalty to the king. What started out as a duty became a major celebration, and now the event sees a flotilla sailing up the Thames, followed by a street procession and a massive firework display. The show takes up a whole day, with the flotilla beginning as early as 8.30 am the procession following at 11 am, and the fireworks taking place at 5.30 pm. It’s a fun and exciting day out for all the family.

So there you have it – you don’t have to stay at home forlornly just because it’s getting dark! Instead, take advantage of the early evenings and experience some of the great night-time events that are happening up and down the country.


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