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A gorgeous lantern festival is coming to Bermondsey

Inventive paper creations will light up the neighbourhood’s streets – and there’ll be free pizza

Sarah Cohen
Written by
Sarah Cohen

Around Christmastime, London’s outdoor venues, from Kew Gardens and Kenwood to the South Bank and Greenwich Peninsula, filled with dazzling light trails, installations and festivals. But as the nights began to get shorter, these cheering spectacles came to the end of their runs. The season hasn’t quite finished, though: on Friday March 4, Illuminate Rotherhithe and Bermondsey’s free lantern festival will be taking up the baton.

Locals are encouraged to gather at either Rotherhithe’s Mayflower Hall or St James’s Church in Bermondsey from 4pm, from where, as night falls (5.30pm), processions of glowing lanterns will make their way through the neighbourhoods, accompanied by music from a choir and samba band, arriving at Southwark Park’s bandstand at 6pm. 

By then, participants and onlookers will undoubtedly have worked up a hunger, so after the parade has done a circuit of the park, there’ll be free pizza, cinnamon buns and biscuits for all, plus musical entertainment, a barn dance and appearances from ‘much-loved surprise guests’. Mysterious.

Want to get involved? Head to one of Illuminate’s free lantern-making workshops which are popping up in the area this weekend (February 26 and 27), and learn how to craft your own paper-and-willow creation. This year’s theme is ‘trees and everything in nature you find in or on them’, so you may need a lot of green tissue paper.

Southwark Park, Gomm Rd, SE16 2TX. Fri Mar 4. Free.

Find other things to do in Bermondsey with our area guide.

And there’s plenty to discover in Rotherhithe too.

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