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10 February 2020

Romance and illuminations - excitement grows ahead of City of Lights event

An opportunity to have a Valentine’s message projected across the walls of Carlisle Castle is available this week during the first ever City of Lights event in Carlisle.  

Excitement is growing in the build-up to the Love Carlisle, City of Lights event, commencing this week from Wednesday 12 February.

The project, a partnership between Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council alongside a range of local partners including Story Contracting and the Railway Heritage Trust, will see numerous buildings and local landmarks in the Court Square and Citadels area of the city illuminated with coloured lights and projections. 

Visitors will be guided via a map through Court Square where they will see the Griffin Pub, The Hallmark Hotel, Carlisle Railway Station and the Citadels in a very different light. Walking through the city centre towards the Old Town Hall, visitors will find projected images in the town hall windows brought to life. The Market Cross and public areas of the city will also be illuminated with eye-catching displays.

As the event falls within Valentine’s Week, there is also a unique opportunity to send a special message to a loved one that will be projected across the front of Carlisle Castle on the evening of Friday 14 February. If you would like to see your message projected on to the Castle walls, please email love.carlisle@cumbria.gov.uk - all messages will be projected between 6pm and 9pm on Valentine’s Day.

The centrepiece of the City of Lights programme will be a stunning visual spectacle in Carlisle Cathedral between Wednesday 12 and Friday 14 February. The Cathedral will host ‘The Great Exhibition - SPACE: God, the Universe and Everything,’ inspired by the 1969 Moon landings. Created by the award-winning Luxmuralis artistic collaboration, it will take people on a walking journey through the Cathedral, revealing the universe, galaxies, space, creation, and light through a variety of sound and light installations that will transform the internal space of the Cathedral. The event has previously been staged in Lichfield Cathedral and St Albans Cathedral.

More than 3,000 tickets have been sold so far for the cathedral event. Tickets for all sessions must be bought in advance from Carlisle Tourist Information Centre at the Old Town Hall or from discovercarlisle.co.uk priced at £5 for adults and £4 for children under 16.

Cllr Deborah Earl, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Local Communities, and local member for Harraby South, said:

“I am beyond excited to see our city to life brought to life through the SPACE event at the Cathedral - a first for the city - and the various lighting installations in the city centre. The City of Lights project is a fantastic opportunity to showcase and celebrate our city, and I am looking forward to seeing all the projections at the Castle and the illuminations throughout the city centre. This is an idea that has worked well in other places and I think we have a great opportunity in Carlisle to develop this in to an annual event which the whole community can take part in and enjoy. I’d like to say a special thank you to Cllr Cyril Weber - his vision for this event and the support he has secured from the county council’s Local Committee for Carlisle have made sure the event could be delivered.”

Cllr Stephen Higgs, Carlisle City Council Portfolio holder for Culture, Heritage and Leisure, said:

“The SPACE event at Carlisle Cathedral will be the first time the award-winning Luxmuralis exhibition has been staged in the North and will be a spectacular and unmissable experience. Tickets are nearly gone, so I’d urge residents and visitors to book their place today to avoid disappointment. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the exhibition and all the local landmarks in the city centre that will be illuminated throughout the event.”

Ian Harker, Cumbria County Council’s street lighting manager, said:

“This is a first for Carlisle, and it’s great to be working in partnership with colleagues from the lighting industry, the city council and local businesses to bring Carlisle to life in a new way. I am excited to see the results following a lot of planning and hard work from everyone involved to make the City of Lights a success.”

An opportunity to have a Valentine’s message projected across the walls of Carlisle Castle is available this week during the first ever City of Lights event in Carlisle.