Dragons, pandas and giant ladybirds have taken over Leeds after the UK’s biggest Chinese lantern festival officially opened in Yorkshire for the first time.
40,000 light bulbs have illuminated 40 giant lantern groups featuring a colossal 30m dragon, breath-taking 25m long Love Bridge and 20m long horse and carriage at the famous Roundhay Park.
Designed and manufactured in China by expert lantern makers, they are made mostly of silk attached to specially designed frames with lights interwoven to create stunning, large scale illuminated sculptures.
The Magical Lantern Festival Yorkshire runs until January 2, covering around 10 acres of the park including several of the show gardens.
Celebrating both Chinese culture and Christmas in the UK, the event is also supporting the much-loved Jane Tomlinson Appeal to help raise money for the charity.
Ian Xiang, the festival’s Creative Director, said: “It is amazing to see these lanterns in place and illuminated after months of work. Lantern festivals are over 2,000 years old and are celebrated by over half of the world’s population, but not many people in the UK have ever experienced one.
“That’s why I wanted to help bring one to the UK. Historically, it is about celebrating and getting together as a family, so we hope people here will do the same. Christmas is a great time to do that and the festival is the perfect place for it.
“It’s our ambition to run the festival here for up to 10 years as we want it to be part of Christmas in Yorkshire and a reason for families to get together and do something different.”
A separate entertainment area and food village, which is free to enter, plus paid-for Santa’s Grotto and other activities are now also open.
The festival – run by Weli Creative – launched in London last winter, attracting more than 110,000 people in six weeks and was shortlisted for a host of top national awards.
Mike Tomlinson, husband of the late Jane Tomlinson CBE, added: “The support we’ve had so far already has been brilliant, with thousands of pounds raised. The organisers gave us tickets to sell on behalf of the charity for the launch night and with the money we hope to raise during the festival, it will significantly help our charity. It’s not every day you get to fundraise with the help of a Chinese lantern festival.”
Tickets online are priced at £12.50 adults, £10.50 concessions, £8.50 children and £38 for a family ticket plus standard booking fees. For more information about the festival, FAQs and to book tickets, visit
www.magicallantern.uk Grotto prices are available on the website too.

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