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Lumiere traffic and transport

Published November 13, 2023 10.33am

Visitors to the UK's largest light festival are being urged to plan their journeys in advance.

Lumiere 2023

Lumiere 2023

Lumiere is set to illuminate Durham City and Bishop Auckland from Thursday 16 November to Sunday 19 November, with tens of thousands of people expected to attend the spectacular four-day event.

The festival, commissioned by Durham County Council and produced by Artichoke, with support from Arts Council England, Durham University, County Durham Community Foundation and a host of other sponsors, will feature more than 40 installations that will illuminate the city.

For the first time, this year the programme also includes a satellite programme in Bishop Auckland, allowing more people to experience the Lumiere spectacle with four works that will interact with a façade, building or public space, transforming the heart of the town.

In the fourteen years since its debut in Durham, Lumiere has welcomed more than one million visitors. The global event, which features artists from 15 different countries exhibiting their artwork completely free for the public, forms part of Durham County Council's commitment to culture-led regeneration and cements Durham's position as the 'culture county'.

Extra Park and Ride spaces

Visitors are advised to use Durham City's Park and Ride services, which will be extended throughout the festival. As well as running from existing sites at Belmont, Howlands and Sniperley, two additional services will be introduced. These will be located at New College Durham, just outside of Durham City, and Annand House in Meadowfield, providing almost 3,000 extra spaces.

Regular services will run to and from each site into the city centre until 11.30pm each night, while the park and ride car parks will remain open around the clock. Return tickets cost £2 per person or are free for concessionary pass holders and under-16s who are accompanied by an adult.

A full list of Park and Ride sites, road and footpath closures, changes to parking bays and other information on travelling to Lumiere is available.

Free peak time tickets

Lumiere in Durham City runs from 4.30pm to 11.00pm each night and is free to attend. As in previous years, anyone wishing to enter the marketplace or peninsula area of the city between 4.30pm and 7.30pm will require a ticket. Everyone can enjoy Lumiere across the city without a ticket after this time. Tickets are not required to visit the installations in Bishop Auckland, which will be on show between 5.00pm and 10.00pm each night.

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

Bus services and offers

Visitors are encouraged to leave the car at home and get the bus, with new saver tickets available.

Adult day tickets, offering unlimited bus travel in County Durham, can be purchased for £4. People aged 21 and under can purchase a day ticket for £3 or a single journey for just £1.

A new regionwide day saver ticket has also been launched. For £6.80, the ticket entitles holders to use unlimited bus travel across Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Northumberland and can be used on the Metro and Shields Ferry too.

Visitors travelling to the festival by public transport are advised to check with bus operators in advance, as some services and routes may change. The northbound bus stop on Church Street, immediately north of the New Inn traffic signals, will be suspended.

Temporary bus stops will be in place on the A690 across the (closed) junction with Walkergate, on the A177 South Road southbound opposite Bow School, and on the A177 South Road northbound, north of the access to Teaching and Learning Centre.


An additional taxi rank will be in operation in Durham City on the concourse of the new bus station, which is currently under construction.

Check the effect of closures

Cllr John Shuttleworth, the council's Cabinet member for Rural Communities and Highways, said: "It is important that festival-goers plan their travel arrangements in advance as we are expecting large numbers of visitors during Lumiere.

"We would also advise anyone travelling through Durham City to view the scheduled road closures and travel changes, and consider how these, alongside increased traffic, may affect their journey."

Stay up-to-date

For live travel updates during the festival, follow @DurhamCouncil on Facebook or Twitter or use the hashtag #LumiereDurham.

View the full Lumiere Festival programme online. The festival also has its own free app which can be downloaded in advance from the Apple Store or Google Play.

Related information