The Greatest Light Shows From Around the World

Image by WhatiMom

There’s something special about lights, let’s face it. Fireworks cheer up any event, as anyone watching the recent Jubilee for the Queen would have agreed, as four minutes of sparkling, exploding light hovered over the roof of Buckingham Palace.

One of my most vivid travelling experiences was at the Temple of Karnak in Egypt, at the night time sound and light show. The Temple is already an amazingly atmospheric place during the day, but seeing it come to life with light projections, casting shadows over the River Nile and accompanied by local music was incredible, followed by the narrated story of the great pharaohs who built this ancient city.

There are lots of places to travel to see magical light shows of all kinds, both natural and man-made, and as they are at night you can leave your Carrera sunglasses at home!

The light show – by nature

One of the greatest light shows of course, is presented by Mother Nature herself, either high up in the northern hemisphere, where the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) can be seen from Sweden, Canada, Finland and Iceland, or the Aurora Australis, the southern hemisphere equivalent seen from New Zealand and Australia.

I’m not going to go into the science bit too much, but you’ve basically got your excited atoms creating a geomagnetic storm, and that’s what creates the amazing waves of coloured light that fill the sky with startling hues of red, green and purple, which look so out of place in the dark sky.

Water works

Another famous light show that should be on everyone’s list of places to visit once in their lifetime, is the one at Niagara Falls.

This show was specifically devised for the visit of Prince Charles (Prince Regent) in 1860, when they used lights that were traditionally used to help sailors out at sea. It was the beginning of an idea that has grown over the years, as electricity and then coloured bulbs were invented.

Now the thunderous waters at Niagara are lit up on a nightly basis (with extra fireworks thrown in on a Friday) by an amazing illumination of white, purple, amber and green across the whole area.

Britain’s got Lights!

For something more close to home, I went to visit the famous lights at a most unlikely location last Christmas. Unbelievably, a tiny close in Wells in Somerset is home to arguably the biggest, most ambitious light show in the whole country – although some of the neighbours were trying to get in on the act.

Featuring cascades of cotton wool “snow”, a fountain and river of purple lights, with seals, swans, penguins and snowmen enjoying it, not forgetting the prancing reindeer  – the sight is quite surreal, as you come into view. The attention to detail and the overall effect is quite incredible, from this tiny suburban bungalow, with its own radio station playing carols on a loop as well!

Of course, Father Christmas (not the real one!) is standing at the window, waving to the crowds, and there were at least 60 people there when we went, on a windy Wednesday evening. If you want to check it out, look here: http://www.paultoole.org/2011-documentary-clip.html

If you know of any fabulous light shows any traveller should go and see in their lifetime, please share them here – spread the word!

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Susannah Perez is a passionate fashion and beauty writer, living a fast paced life and enjoying every moment. She is a self confessed lingerie addict with a passion for burlesque, makeup and vintage style. She loves travelling, but when at home she cooks, and hangs out with her arty friends, when she’s not blogging away for Valley Optics.

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