The Lanterns at Chester Zoo

Gemma Gibb, Associate Editor
Chester Zoo

The Lanterns at Chester Zoo, Chester, 12 November–23 December 2021, from £5 - Book now

We can’t be more excited about this winter’s return of The Lanterns at Chester Zoo. This year, the most popular tourist attraction outside London will be transformed after dark with nine new magical, illuminated worlds to explore.

Once again, prepare for a fairy-tale-like adventure produced by purveyors of outdoor arts and festivals of the highest order, Wild Rumpus.

There’s something pretty special (not to mention mischievous) about being in such an incredible place after normal opening hours. Collect a lantern and explore a special route filled with awe-inspiring life-sized, hand-crafted animal illuminations, splendiferous set design, twinkly costumed characters and the big man Father Christmas himself.

“The emperor of all family festive experiences.”


When we are entering through a ‘Garden of Delight’, filled with 10-feet high illuminated flowers and giant friendly snails, we know this is set to be pretty special.

First up is Moonlit Meadow, home to some large-scale favourite animal lanterns from years gone by, together with specially created new sun bears, cheetahs and mandrills. Shangri La is all about the giraffes and Cloud Cuckoo Land promises colourful bird lanterns and costumed characters, including a stunning Southern cassowary and gorgeous great hornbill.


Rest awhile and take a pit stop at Northern Lights to enjoy Christmas trees, markets and Father Christmas, before the snow-filled Enchanted Woodland which places much-loved British wildlife up in lights.

Other worlds include a colourful Wonderland where things are curiously topsy-turvy, Rain Forest Aglow complete with fantastical neon vines and glowing sloths and, finally a new Ice Kingdom where the focus is penguin pals.



Chester Zoo is a leading global conservation and education charity which supports projects all over the world and helps to save highly threatened species from extinction. Ticket sales from The Lanterns help to fund this work.

With Wild Rumpus’s signature goosebump moments of wonder, The Lanterns at Chester Zoo will be a Christmas trip to the theatre, art gallery and an illuminated outdoor wonderland in one – the emperor (penguin) of all family festive experiences.

With tickets going fast, we recommend booking ahead to guarantee entry.

The Lanterns at Chester Zoo, Chester

12 November–23 December 2021
From £5

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