DURHAM is gearing up to welcome thousands of people as they head to see the UK's largest light festival.

Durham Lumiere is set to start on Thursday, November 16, and is expected to attract in the region of 200,000 people over the four-day festival.

Artists from across the UK and further afield have been planning their installations for months, with a total of 28 pieces going up around the city.

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This year more installations will be located outside the central peninsula area in a bid to tackle congestion.

Among the highlights around the city will be a "fire tornado" at the partially cleared demolition site at Milburngate House, an exploration of the origins of the universe, which will be projected onto the side of the new Durham University physics building in South Road and a collection of recreations of the North-East's most iconic buildings, which will be located at Durham railway station.

For the first time the miners’ hall at Redhills is to be used, which will be the canvas for a 3D video projection involving public sector workers, including cameos from firefighters, bin collectors and police officers.

This year will also see a return to the Botanical Garden, in South Road, in a bid to spread the display more widely. A collective of artists have used light and sound to produce 20 different birds which will be spread around the garden.

All of the installations outside of the peninsula will be open to visitors throughout the festival.

Meanwhile, in central area, which is limited to ticket holders between 4.30pm and 7.30pm, there are a further 11 installations.

Our Moon, which will be projected on side of Durham Castle, will change each night and will represent the faces of about 80 people from the city who took part in a community project during the summer.

One of the centrepieces will be a sound and light installation at Durham Cathedral, which has been inspired by bell ringing.

Also at the cathedral will be a tribute to fields of wheat that shimmer in the wind. Thousands of illuminated flowers will transform the cloisters thanks to a project with Chester-le-Street community group.

While most of the pieces will be in the city for just four days, an illuminated heron, which will fly along the River Wear around Framwellgate Waterside, is set to remain in the city as a permanent art feature.

  • Lumiere Durham is on from Thursday, November 16 to Sunday, November 19. For more details click here

The Northern Echo: The cloisters at Durham Cathedral will be filled with thousands of indivually created flowers, made with projects working in Chester-le-Street

Plan your visit to Lumiere in advance, organisers warn

PEOPLE are being urged to plan their trips to Lumiere in advance, with tens of thousands of visitors expected in the city.

Organisers have warned that there is likely to be significant disruption for motorists, with road closures planned to accommodate the festival, which takes place from November 16 to 19.

As in previous years, the central peninsula area will be open to ticket holders only between 4.30pm and 7.30pm.

The event is now sold-out but anyone without a ticket can see the central areas after 7.30pm.

Tickets are not needed for installations in the rest of the city.

Barriers will be in place on Milburngate Bridge, which carries the A690 through road over the River Wear, to ease pedestrian access.

That will lead to the closure of one lane on the eastbound carriageway, between Milburngate and Leazes Bowl roundabouts for the duration of the event, with signed diversions in place.

Meanwhile, more than 3,000 spaces will be available in Durham County Council’s park and ride sites on the outskirts of the city.

As well as the usual sites at Belmont, Howlands and Sniperley, additional parking will be available at New College Durham, Merryoaks, and Annand House, at Meadowfield.

Regular shuttle bus services will run to and from the city centre, with extra stops during the festival, to allow people to explore the lighting installations across the city from different start and finish locations.

Services will be extended to run until 11.30pm each night and the car parks will remain open all night,

The usual £2 charge applies, but it is free to under 16s.

There will also be a number of road and footpath closures leading up to and during the festival which will limit access to Durham’s peninsula, plus other parts of the city centre.

Guide dogs are welcome at the event, but people are being warned that crowds mean it will be unsuitable for other pets.

People are also being advised not to bring push chairs if possible and to wear a baby carrier or sling if they can.

Police will be handing out wristbands to people with small children or for those accompanying vulnerable adults which they can write contact details on in case they get separated.

There will also be bag checks and body searches as people enter the peninsula area and people are asked not to bring large rucksacks.

A full list of park and ride sites, road and footpath closures, parking bay suspensions and other useful information for event-goers is available at the festival website, durham.gov.uk/Lumiere

People are being encouraged to follow #LumiereDurham on Twitter to help direct them to available parking spaces.

Maps of the festival are included in the programme, which will be on sale throughout the festival for £2.