2022 | A Fire & Light Experience

This is a past event

As the world opens up around us explore an elemental experience through the Valley Gardens. Step onto a trail of discovery and reimagine the natural world around us. A magical feast for the senses that will transform the centre of Harrogate.

Harrogate as a destination famed for its water will bring all the elements of nature alive; earth, air, water and fire in a spectacle of brilliance and blaze.

Lose yourself in the magic of nature as each twist and turn reveals a new picture of tranquility and wonder.

General Information

A magical fire and light trail through the Valley Gardens of Harrogate.

The Experience is for all ages – to be enjoyed by everyone.

Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th March 2022

6.00pm to 10.30pm. Times slots must be booked. Times subject to changes

Should I arrive in advance of my visit time?

We would advise arriving at the start of the trail 5 minutes before you are due to begin the trail.


If I am delayed and miss my slot, can I join a later slot?

We will try and accommodate you on the next available slot within the trail operational hours on the day.

Valley Gardens, Valley Drive, Harrogate HG1 2SZ

Entrance will be via the main access to the gardens, located by the Royal Pump Room Museum.

Where can I park?

There are lots of parking options around the park including pay and display and public car parks. Royal Baths & Jubilee Car Parks are the nearest car parks – please check the closing times of these car parks before entrance.


Where can I buy tickets for the Elemental Experience from?

You can book your tickets online: www.harrogateinternationalfestivals.com or by phone 01423 562303.


We recommend pre-booking your tickets in advance.


Do I have to book in advance / can I book on the day?

We recommend that you book early. Each timed entry has a limited capacity and the early evening slots are likely to sell out fast.

Under 16’s must be accompanied by a parent/guardian (18+). Entry may be refused without valid proof of age.

Infants and carers go free of charge, but must be booked in advance.

All orders are subject to a single transaction charge; £1.75

Cancellation, Exchanges and Refunds

Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.


What will happen if the weather is bad? Will the trail be cancelled?

If we need to cancel, the decision will be taken as early as possible on the day once the team have been able to fully assess the situation.


I have lost my ticket, what can I do?

Please contact the Harrogate International Festivals.

Only guide dogs and registered assistance dogs are allowed on the trail.
Is the Trail dark or covered?

In some areas the lighting will be low level as this is part of the experience. We do encourage visitors to bring along a torch in case of an emergency – this should not be used unless it is necessary.

The trail is not covered and all visitors are reminded that this is an outdoor Trail and the weather may be inclement. Please wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear.


What should I wear?

As the Trail takes place outdoors please ensure you have sufficient warm and waterproof clothing. Visitors are strongly advised to wear sturdy shoes as the trail takes place on natural paths covering areas of uneven ground and variable terrain.

Can I take photographs?

We encourage you to take photographs and to share these on social media using the hashtag #HIFfireandlight. Please note that the use of tripods is not allowed where the pathways are narrow.


Can I bring my drone?

Drones are not permitted.

The Trail is presented in the Valley Gardens. Whilst every effort is made to make the trail fully accessible, by its very nature it will on occasion cover some difficult terrain with a number of varying gradients. These areas can be particularly challenging during inclement weather. In these circumstances there will be additional steward support available for assistance.

It should be noted that on many of our trails the path network is not tarmac, and although there are stewards along the route to assist you, the trail will follow the natural contours of the landscape and paths can be steep at times.

There is no food and drink available on site as we’d love people to go and experience the great food and drink offer available across Harrogate. Ask us for our favourites when you book tickets!
Light Pollution

The trail will be architecturally lit by experienced lighting designers who have developed sensitive ways of working in heritage and landscape settings.

Responding to the natural darkness of sites is key to the success of the trail. The best visual work is sensitive to light “competition” and the brightness of one light source relative to another. We therefore take advantage of the environmental darkness to reduce the overall brightness of our lighting interventions, and allow ample space within our audience experiences for people’s eyes to attune to the darkness, then to allow them to appreciate the sights and sounds of the natural environment as a contrast to, and context, for our artistic efforts. We try to avoid continuous lighting of trails and paths, and will only use audience area lighting where it is absolutely necessary for reasons of public safety.

Noise Pollution

Sound installations are created to provide atmosphere and a sense of place for an installation. All sounds are targeted and specific to a part of the route and are therefore contained within defined .


Fuel Usage

Fuel for power generation is kept to a minimum by efficient use of power loadings and low wattage lighting units where appropriate


Is this trail sustainable?

Consideration for the trails sustainability has been built into the planning process for the delivery of this experience.

The trail designers, Culture Creative, have been appointed on the strength of their experience of working in environmentally sensitive ways in heritage and landscape settings.

Specific attention is given to power, and where possible we use mains power. Where generators are needed, these are carefully specified and operated to ensure the most efficient fuel usage. Low wattage lighting units are used where appropriate on the trail.

Culture Creative’s design ethos is to take advantage of the environmental darkness to reduce the overall brightness of their lighting interventions, whilst maximising the effects of their artistic plans.

Continuous lighting of trails and paths will be avoided, and we will only use audience area lighting where it is absolutely necessary for reasons of public safety.

Care is also taken to ensure that we are considerate of our neighbours who live in the roads adjacent to the venue.



The trail will be open for a limited period and its impact will be considered both from the standpoint of the venue itself and in relation to surrounding sites.


In order to assess the likely impact of the trail, the route proposed is walked and checked on a regular basis with horticultural staff from the venue, this is an ongoing process and will be constantly checked as the design of the trail progresses.

General comments

The trail is planned and installed, by Culture Creative Limited. Culture Creative specialises in trails of this kind which are often in sensitive venues with high biodiversity and important historical heritage. Its’ staff have valuable experience in minimising any negative impacts which might be anticipated, and work with venue staff to meet and resolve any concerns which arise.


The duration of the trail is over 3 days and for c five hours only each night when the trail is open. These restrictions on the open nights and times, will reduce any impacts upon wildlife, particularly as outdoor events take place at the venue regularly and resident wildlife has adapted to the existing level of disturbance.


Lighting Trail

Generators used on the route are positioned where they won’t be heard. The power will be carried using cabling which has been used previously with wildlife habitation with no adverse effects. Much of the lighting will be floor based to highlight trees and fire. The trees form part of the cultivated collections at each venue and their welfare is paramount as part of the planning of the illuminated trail.



Where possible routes will be on hard surfaces i.e paths. They pass through areas which are well-walked by visitors daily and will not take in any sections of grass with sensitive wild floras.

The material used for the fire displays is soya wax and charcoal respectively.




The illuminated trails are small, tightly contained, and open for limited hours. It is perceived that we do not foresee any adverse effect on wildlife.



Current plans in place for the comfort and reassurance of our visitors include:

Planning the trail route to manage visitor flow
Reducing the number of tickets available at each time slot

LIVE UPDATE: Saturday 26th March 2022

  • Our main box office, located on Cheltenham Parade, will close at 4.00pm on Friday 25th March 2022. All uncollected tickets will be available to collect from the on site box office, located at the main entrance of Valley Gardens (across the road from the Royal Pump Room Museum) from 6.00pm.
  • We are currently fully booked between 6.30pm and 8.15pm, therefore no tickets will be on sale for these entry times at the door.
  • We still have limited tickets available between 8.30pm and 10.00pm. Online sales will close at 4.00pm on Saturday, however tickets will be available to purchase from the on-site box office, located at the main entrance of Valley Gardens (across the road from the Royal Pump Room Museum). These will be sold on a first come, first served basis and can be booked from 6.00pm.
  • Tickets are £12.00 per adult, £6.00 per child aged 5-16, and free for children under 5. Please note that a £1.75 will apply when purchasing your tickets.

Harrogate Borough Council • Harrogate BID • Visit Harrogate • Harrogate International Festival Future 50 Fund

Subject to license