Traffic and travel for Lumiere: Best places to park for Durham's light festival

Visitors making their way to Durham for the UK’s largest light festival are being urged to plan their journey in advance.

Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 2:02 pm
Updated Monday, 11th November 2019, 1:11 pm
Illumaphonium was a piece put in place in the Walkergate area of Durham at the last Lumiere and invited people to make sounds with the artwork.

Lumiere, which is staged every two years, returns to Durham from Thursday, November 14, to Sunday, November 17.

To mark its 10th anniversary, visitors are promised the return of a number of festival favourites alongside new commissions.

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Access to Durham's Market Place will be restricted until after 7.30pm during Lumiere as those with tickets are given a first look at the artworks within the peninsular of the city centre.

With estimates that this year could be the biggest Lumiere yet, visitors are advised to use the city’s park and ride service, which will offer an extended service during the festival.

Lumiere is open each night between 4.30pm and 11pm.

The festival is free to attend and 26 of the 37 installations are accessible without a ticket at all times.

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Park and ride driver Gary Rouell and Dave Wafer, Durham County Council’s strategic traffic manager.

Dave Wafer, the council’s strategic traffic manager, said: “We are expecting large numbers of visitors to the city during Lumiere so it is important that festival-goers plan their travel arrangements in advance in order to make the most of the event.

“We would also advise anyone travelling through the city takes into account how the increased traffic may affect their journey.”

Here’s what you need to know about getting in and out of the city centre for the event.

Park and ride ready to welcome guests

Up to 6,000 parking spaces will be available across sites at the normal Belmont, Howlands and Sniperley sites and three additional facilities at New College Durham, Merryoaks and Annand House at Meadowfield.

Regular services will run from to and from each site into the city centre, with extra stops to allow people to explore the event from a variety of start and finish locations.

Services will run until 11.30pm each night, while car parks will remain open round-the-clock.

Return tickets are £2 per person or free for concessionary pass holders and under-16s who are accompanied by an adult.

Local bus operators will also be providing additional services.

The normal Park and Ride service will operate as normal up until 2pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

From 2pm on these days, the link between Belmont and Sniperly will end, the Lumiere services will start and, as a result of road closures, some of the bus stops and routes will change during the afternoon.

What about walking in to the centre of Durham?

Fancy to the idea of a park and stride?

Visitors can park at County Hall carpark and walk down to the festival, which will take around 10 to 15 minutes.

The council has said people shout take note that car park will have limited space on the Thursday and Friday night until its staff start to leave at 5pm.

Tickets required between 4.30pm and 7.30pm

As in previous years, anyone wishing to enter the market place or peninsula area of the city between 4.30pm and 7.30pm will require a ticket, but there will be lots to see beyond the restricted section before everyone is allowed to reach all of the installations.

A one-way system will also be in place in some areas around the Market Place and cathedral in order to help manage the flow of people in these more historic, confined parts of the city.

Access to the peninsula and some other areas of the city will also be limited in the run-up to the festival due to a number of road and footpath closures.

How to find out more?

For live travel updates during the festival period, follow @DurhamCouncil Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #LumiereDurham to help direct people to information.

This year, for the first time, the festival also has its own free app which can be downloaded in advance from the Apple Store or Google Play.

A full list of park and ride sites, road and footpath closures, changes to parking bays and other information is available at