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Free Winter Lights Festival Returns this Month

January - the longest, darkest month, when we’re watching our livers, waistlines and wallets.

So two thumbs up and five gold stars to Canary Wharf’s Winter Lights Festival, for turning the fun lights back on, with 22 stunning light installations that won’t cost your Christmas-battered wallet a penny.

This year’s festival runs from 18 - 28 January and includes Luke Jerram’s famous Floating Earth, which sits on the water in Middle Dock; Fisheye’s Permafrost – Sleeping Giants, a family of life-sized mammoths; a fibre optic light tunnel and Tom Lambert’s Out of the Dark, a multi-sensory, audio-visual installation designed for self-reflection.

It’s suitable for all ages and has street food and drink trucks along the trail and a free map available via the Canary Wharf app or from onsite stewards

Returning after a two-year hiatus, the award-winning festival invites visitors to walk the trail, which includes nine pieces never previously displayed in the UK, while reflecting on this year’s themes of togetherness, climate-change and the transfer of data in the modern world.

Key works include Floating Earth, a magical globe by artist Luke Jerram, which will float in the water of Middle Dock. Further along the trail, in Wood Wharf, you can step inside Anima by ELISAVA - it's an immersive tunnel of fibre-optic lights, which represents our data-driven world. Tom Lambert presents Out of the Dark, a multi-sensory, audio-visual installation, which provides space for self-reflection, while artist Fisheye displays Permafrost – Sleeping Giants, a riverside resurrection of three, life-sized mammoths, animated with light.

Winter Lights is part of Canary Wharf Group’s arts and events programme, which makes art accessible to all and encompasses London’s largest free to visit public art collection, which boasts more than 100 art pieces across the Estate.

And you can make a day of it, by heading to the Ice Rink in Canada Square Park, which remains open until 25th February, with a roof to ensure all-weather skating. Installations are open from 5pm–10pm and they advise visitors to wrap up warm and visit outside peak times (6-8pm) on weekends and evenings, if possible.

Head here for more inspiration for The Best Free Things to do in London.

Winter Lights Festival. 18- 28 January. The trail starts at Chancellor's Passage by Middle Dock. FREE.

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