Disclosure: We were provided with free of charge entry to the festival & grotto for the purpose of this post.
Recently we visited the Magical Lantern Festival at Kings Heath Park in Birmingham, to check out the huge lantern displays and visit Santa in his grotto.
The park is filled with loads of lantern displays, with colourful lanterns of all shapes and sizes. Some of my favourites were the mermaid on the pond, a family of reindeer, a phoenix rising from flames, and a pair of swans.
The girls loved the giant fairytale castle, and enjoyed going on a ride each. We all enjoyed waffles with cream and banana (though it was all a bit expensive!) in the entertainment area halfway around where you can get food, drinks, and visit Santa in his grotto.
The Santa tickets cost an additional £10 per child, which doesn’t include a photo (that is an additional £4), and each child gets to choose a toy from a selection after visiting Santa. The queue was a bit slow moving and very cold but the girls enjoyed seeing the big guy in red – even if Lydia did most of the talking while Georgie hid behind my leg! Their camera wasn’t working – I spotted that the camera battery was on charge, but I’m amazed they weren’t organised enough to have two batteries; one to charge while one was in use. There were a fair few disappointed parents about the lack of photos.
One let down to this year’s festival is that the large Birmingham Library lantern that they promise on the website is not be found, and instead they have a slightly underwhelming rope light style Birmingham skyline installation instead. It’s not nearly as impressive as last year’s Bullring bull, and indeed although some of the lanterns are bigger than last year they are less incorporated into the environment the way they were at the botanical gardens – there are mostly just dotted around the large flat area of the park.
I do think that it is very expensive, and although it is beautiful it didn’t have the same wow factor as last year’s festival. A lot of the temporary pathways were poorly lit and very slippy, and you could easily spend a lot of money while there, after paying quite a bit to get in to begin with.
The festival is on until 1st Jan 2018, and it’s open from 5pm to 10pm with last entry at 9pm. Tickets start from £8.00 per child and £12 per adult, with a family and group tickets available, and paying on the day and both weekends being more expensive. There is a nearby car park available for £3 per car, but we were able to park on a street opposite the entrance for free.