The Saltaire Living Advent Calendar has been a staple of the village since 2006, with community buildings and houses lighting up their windows with intricate illuminations.
A World Heritage Site, Saltaire is a Victorian model village originally built to house textile factory workers. The quaint cottages, with their stained glass windows, arched doorways and pristine gardens, are artworks in their own right.
A new window display is turned on each day from 1st December, bringing to life the excitement of peeling open the doors of an advent calendar. In 2020 a record 55 windows were “opened” in the lead up to Christmas, businesses, schools and families coming together to light up the town. The displays remain “open” until the 1st of January, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the full collection.
There’s a vast array of designs each year, from traditional scenes of Santa with his reindeer to pop culture pieces referencing favourite Christmas films. People use art forms from painting to paper cutting, as well as adding fairy lights and animatronics to liven up the advent calendar. Some even have musical accompaniments playing from hidden speakers.
Make sure you download the Saltaire Living Advent Calendar map before visiting so you don’t miss any of the windows on the trail. What makes Saltaire’s light festival unique is that you can view the illuminations by car or on foot, so there’s no need to get caught out in Yorkshire’s blustery winter weather.
If it does turn chilly, Saltaire has plenty of bars and cafes to pop in for a warming hot chocolate or mulled wine. You’ll also find the incredible Salts Mill nearby, a former textile mill turned arts centre offering shops, restaurants and galleries, perfect for whiling away an afternoon.
Attracting visitors from near and far, the festival showcases this tight-knit community at its best.