• Lightopia Christmas Fantasy returns to Heaton Park with new Dining Domes

Lightopia Christmas Fantasy returns to Heaton Park with new Dining Domes

25 October 2021 by Deanna Thomas

The award-winning Lightopia will return with its flagship event in Manchester this November, with a brand-new enchanting light and lantern festival, presenting a Christmas Fantasy. And this year, for the first time, the never-before-seen illuminated trail, will feature a brand-new dining experience, Dine in the Light.

Nestled in the park’s woodland and surrounded by lanterns, Lightopia’s ten illuminated Dining Domes will make a unique and atmospheric dining experience for families, friends and couples. 

Expect an imaginative three-course menu of classic seasonal dishes with a whimsical touch from former head chef of the Alderley Edge Hotel Chris Holland and The Life Cafés & Resorts Culinary Team. Best known for his traditional British cuisine with a molecular and experimental edge, the three-rosette chef will incorporate some unexpected additions including smoke, sparklers and much more. This will be accompanied by a drinks menu including mulled wine, a selection of festival cocktails, wine, craft ales and lager.

Winter-warming starters include roast pumpkin soup with a Parmesan and sage crumble, Swiss cheese and Riesling fondue, vegan buffalo cauliflower wings and Sriracha hot dip and a confit duck terrine with zingy orange and cranberry salad.

Hanging kebabs - either harissa marinated lamb with toasted flatbread and dips, or smoky barbecued mushroom and celeriac served with flatbread and preserved lemon are on the main menu along with other dishes such as sticky glazed short rib of beef with pureed potato and grilled Tenderstem broccoli, and slow-cooked free-range chicken pilaf rice topped with crispy onion. 

To finish, there’ll be Manchester trifle with layers of Vimto jelly, vanilla sponge and mulled blackberries, or a Heaton mess meringue loaded with fresh cream, baked peaches and raspberries. There’s also a vegan dark chocolate and orange mousse made with silken tofu and cacao, topped with orange zest. Diners can also choose the Lancashire Cheeseboard with biscuits and a local chutney. 

The Pirate Banquet is available for little ones. Served in their very own pirate ship that docks in the Lightopia Dining Dome, they can choose from a selection of pizzas by the slice, or fish goujons, both served with sweet potato fries, cheese bites, watermelon and cucumber. Sip on orange or apple juice, shiver-me-timbers strawberry lemonade or to warm up, Captain’s hot cocoa. There’ll be an ice cream dessert, which they can top with their own very treasure toppings.

The private dining domes sit up to six or twelve guests for up to 90 minutes, and can be pre-booked for 5pm, 6:30pm or 8pm - before or after heading off to discover the enchanting Lightopia light trail. The three-course menu and a drink come to £38 per person, a children’s menu is also available, served with a sprinkling of magic. 

For a more casual dining experience there’s The Stables Courtyard Bar and Dining - also new for Lightopia Manchester 2021. Reserve your table under the beautiful, heated canopy where there’ll be a variety of food and drink outlets - from gourmet soft shell tacos to delicious stone-baked pizza al taglio and traditional roasted chestnuts – each occupying converted vintage horseboxes. Festive beverages and theatrical cocktails will also be on offer. Walk-in on the evening or, to guarantee your spot, reserve a seat for £5 per person, which is fully redeemable against food and drink on the night. 

Lightopia will be open to the public from Thursday 18th November until Monday 3rd January. The event is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, except during school holidays. Christmas Day is closed. Opening times are between 5pm to 10pm, and last entry is 8.30pm daily. 

Bookings for the Dine in the Light experience are now available here.

Advance tickets are priced at £20.00 for adults (or £22.00 on the day), £13.00 for children (or £15.00 on the day), and £60.00 for families of two adults and two children (£68.00 on the day). Children under three can go free. Essential carers of disabled visitors can attend for free, the disabled visitor pays the normal admission fee.

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