Skip to main content

Bay of Lights – Illumination Trail, Torquay

8 November 2023

This year, the English Riviera will see a return of The Bay of Lights! Taking place throughout Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, the whole Bay will come alive with a flurry of illuminated events.

From lantern parades, to a steam train covered in lights, to carols by candlelight, the English Riviera will have a truly magical feel this winter, so it’s worth indulging in a few nights away from home to take it all in.

And don’t forget the star of the show: the illuminated trail along Torquay seafront! From Friday 1st December until Tuesday 2nd January 2024 you can enjoy a 1.5-mile route along Torquay seafront with glittering and unexpected surprises along the way. FIND OUT MORE


FREE EVENT – Wander through a light tunnel along the seafront that blinks in time with the festoon lighting. Can you find the 12-metre-high Christmas Tree? It will surprise you with a spectacular digital sound and light show.

Along the route, additional lighting will add some glittering Christmas magic to the town and around the harbourside, as well as in the trees and sunken gardens – even the pond in Abbey Park. There will also be lighting on the curly bridge at Abbey Sands. Discover several unexpected light installations along the trail, as well as entertainment walkabouts and other surprises on selected nights. A free map can be downloaded here


TICKET CHARGE APPLIES – Most famously of all, is the Train of Lights! The vintage Steam Train carriages await you – decorated with thousands of lights, both inside and out! Once you’re on board, the journey begins as the steam whistle blows and you are surrounded by thousands of twinkly lights. You’ll continue on through the Greenway tunnel and onto the enchanted forest, filled with magical illuminated beasts. The stunning show ends as you leave the forest only to be greeted by the twinkling lights of Dartmouth reflected on the river Dart. This multi-award-winning event sells out each year, so we advise getting your tickets early for a train journey you’ll remember forever.


FREE EVENT – Every year, Brixham comes alight with Lanterns, Lights and ‘Lluminations! Lanterns, Lights & ‘Luminations was first launched in 2007 and has grown in popularity in recent years. The event includes a magical lantern parade, an incredible firework display held in the Harbour Bowl, live music, street entertainment, and a street market. It has a real community feel, with many locals venturing out to take part in the magical festivities. It’s definitely not one to miss, and is sure to get you feeling festive as the picturesque fishing town lights up with twinkly Christmas lights.


ADMISSION FEE APPLIES – Paignton Zoo will be ending its centenary year in style with its biggest-ever festive event. This after-dark immersive light experience will feature a stunning array of interactive light installations, entertainers, and a silent disco.

The journey will begin with a giant illuminated storybook inviting you to step into another magical world…from there you will adventure around the zoo and be amazed by a variety of bright, colourful and interactive lighting.

GloWild will run on selected dates from 17 November to 2 January, with entry starting at 5pm. Booking is essential, so get your tickets before they sell out!


ADMISSION FEE APPLIES – For a true family-friendly illuminated event where you can also meet Santa, visit Kents Cavern. The popular “Santa in the Caves” returns with a new story and even more illuminations. An interactive pantomime guided by festive-themed actors, you’ll go on a quest through the caves to discover the ‘true meaning of Christmas’.

At the beginning of the journey, the children will be given a light wand which magically switches on Christmas lights throughout the grotto. The adventure finishes with meeting Santa where each child will receive a wrapped gift, and adults can enjoy mulled wine and festive treats. As an added bonus, adults will also receive a complimentary return ticket to see the caves in January 2024.


ADMISSION FEE APPLIES – Inspired by the coastline in winter, gather loved ones and wrap up warm to explore the ground floor of the house as it’s dressed for ‘Winter Tide and Time’.

With the sparkle of lights, interactive elements and seasonal selfie stations, there are moments of magic everywhere you look. For rosy cheeks and cheerful soles, winter walks around the coastal garden provide show-stopping sea views and a great way to stretch the legs.


ADMISSION FEE APPLIES – The Babbacombe Model Village Christmas Illuminations is the perfect family day out this Winter. Enjoy some delightful miniature seasonal scenes as the little folk celebrate Christmas. A Christmas character spotter sheet will add some extra fun during daylight.

Latest posts

Things to Do in Torquay – Occombe Farm

Occombe Farm is a mix of visitor attraction with indoor and outdoor play, animal encounters barn and animal paddocks trail; a farm shop and a farm cafe.
Read more

Art on the English Riviera – Artizan Gallery

Artizan Gallery is an independent fine art gallery dedicated to championing the work of local artists in the South West.
Read more


Reflexology is a technique that applies gentle pressure to your feet or hands. It aims to bring about a state of relaxation and help the body's own healing process.
Read more