Lights, lanterns and locals parade the streets of Tunbridge Wells

LIGHT FANTASTIC: The annual Lantern Parade took place in Tunbridge Wells town centre last Saturday. Pic: Shilling Snaps

DESPITE the drizzly weather, the streets of Tunbridge Wells were aglow last Saturday (February 10) with the vibrant lights of the much-anticipated Winter Lantern Parade, an event that has become a staple in the local calendar for more than 10 years. Around a thousand people attended this year’s event which brings some much-needed light into the town during the darker winter months.

This year’s theme of ‘Dream Destinations’ meant that spectators were treated to the spectacular sight of imaginative handmade lanterns with designs ranging from impressive planes and trains to hot air balloons and mountains.

The parade set off from Calverley Road with marching bands Bloco Foco and TS Brilliant, setting an upbeat tempo for the parade and providing samba rhythms all the way to the parade’s conclusion at Grosvenor and Hilbert Recreation Ground. Here, attendees had the opportunity to admire the lanterns up close, indulge in refreshments, and enjoy the festivities for a little longer.

This year’s parade was organised once again by the local community arts group CREATE, with further support coming from Royal Tunbridge Wells Together, Royal Victoria Place, Friends of Grosvenor and Hilbert Park, the Round Table, The Rotary Club, Southborough Lions, Tunbridge Wells Freemasons, The Church of Christ, F Smith & Son Removals, and an array of dedicated volunteers.

CREATE group member, Nell Price told the Times: “This event is about bringing the community together, and boy did the community show up. Even in the rain. With the marching bands calling out with their tribal rhythms, we brought a lot of light to this dark time of year. Especially down Camden Road where so many businesses stayed open, took part and supported us.

“A huge thank you to every person who volunteers to make this event happen, with only five members in the organising group, we really can’t do it without everyone else’s support.”

In the lead-up to the event, the community arts group ran several lantern-making workshops, which invited people of all ages to tap into their creative potential and contribute to the parade’s luminous display.

This year’s Winter Lantern Parade successfully raised £203.24 through a bucket collection on the day. This money will go towards funding next year’s workshops and ensuring the magical community parade can grace the streets of Tunbridge Wells once again in 2025.

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter