River of Light Trail FAQs

We understand you might have questions about our River of Light trail – in order to help, we’ve shared some of the most popular questions below. If you do have a question that isn’t answered though, please just get in touch with us, you can find out all the different ways you can get in touch on our contact us page.

What is the River of Light trail?

It’s a 14-night outdoor art gallery which will illuminate the waterfront. It showcases the work of local, national and international artists which residents can enjoy and experience in a covid-safe way.

River of Light normally means there are fireworks – will there be fireworks?

Our usual firework display takes place on the Liverpool waterfront on, or near, 5 November. There are no fireworks as part of the River of Light Trail. It is hoped the usual firework display will return later this year if government guidelines allow.

How long is the trail?

The trail is a 2km loop with no designated start or finish. We do recommend people walk the loop anti-clockwise.

Is it free to see the light installations on the trail?

Yes, all installations along the River of Light Trail are free of charge.

Are there any age restrictions for any of the light installations?

No, it is designed to be family friendly and all inclusive but we do advise that small children are accompanied by an adult at all times.

Are all the light installations accessible?

The majority of the installations are fully accessible with the exception of Rainbow Bridge. This installation is a bridge and features steep steps in order to access the installation. It can be viewed from the ground though, without climbing on the installation itself.

Please be aware, some installations are located in areas of the city that feature cobblestone flooring.

I have light / sound / crowd issues that may act as triggers – is there anything I need to be aware of?

All installations are silent with the exception of FUTURES, which has an atmospheric soundscape accompanying the piece.

All installations are illuminated – Rainbow Bridge features some striking lighting effects.

As current covid-19 regulations are still in place, we encourage all visitors to adhere to the current health and safety guidelines. This additional spacing requirement can lead to queues. Private viewing is not available, and if an attraction is particularly popular, we recommend a visit to the other installations with a view to return at a later time.

Why is this happening now and who is it for?

The River of Light Trail is part of Culture Liverpool’s annual programme delivered across Liverpool. Culture Liverpool is the Liverpool City Council team responsible for the city’s arts and cultural programme and this celebratory light trail is designed to take elements of the popular River of Light event to provide hope and light to the residents of the city of Liverpool as a symbol of recovery.

The Culture Liverpool programme, including the River of Light Trail, is part of Liverpool City Council’s pledge to utilise culture for our ongoing recovery and regeneration.

Full health and safety assessments have been undertaken on this outdoor light trail and it is in line with current government guidelines relating to outdoor gatherings and activities.

As this is one of the first trails to return after lockdown, we strongly encourage everyone to follow the rules and regulations. Any flouting of the regulations could result in organisers having to re-evaluate any access to the trail.

Is this trail Covid-19 safe?

Culture Liverpool has been working very closely with Public Health Liverpool and members of the Safety Advisory Group, to ensure it is as covid-safe as possible following rigorous team assessments.  We rely on people playing their part in making this safe and to follow the rules and any visitor must take responsibility for their own actions.

In line with the Government guidelines, from 23-28 March, people are allowed to leave home, for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household (or support bubble if they are eligible for one) or with one other person from outside their household. You must stay in your local area to avoid spread of the virus, staying close to home as much as possible. The government has not defined a distance for what local means, so people are requested to use their judgement as to what and wouldn’t be appropriate.

From Monday 29 March, the rule of six or two households mixing outdoors will apply. Social distancing rules must still be followed. The “stay at home” rule will end. People should continue to “stay local” and minimise travel wherever possible. Many restrictions will remain in place and people should avoid travel at the busiest times.

Those not following social distancing and covid regulations will be challenged.

Is this trail Covid-19 safe? The trail is outside – do I still have to wear a mask?

For your safety and that of our staff and other audience members, we politely request that you wear a mask when attending the trail, unless you are medically exempt.

All security / stewards / artists / crew and staff are all required to wear face masks at all times.

Why are we staging the trail now? Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait until the 29 March?

The 23 March 2021 is the first anniversary of the start of lockdown, and as such, is a pertinent date to mark the challenges of the last year. As a symbolic marking of light and renewal, the River of Light Trail, begins on 23 March. It offers an opportunity for us to mark the next chapter in the city. Eleven major light installations will take over the waterfront in a designated trail. Outdoor, safe and family focused, this will offer a reason for people of the city to return safely to the city. Opening on the 23 March also allows us to manage the number of audiences who are eligible to attend the trail in the opening days, under the current government guidelines, and allows us to test procedures and policies ahead of welcoming a wider audience from across the Liverpool City Region from 29 March onwards.


Key to this will be ‘Rainbow Bridge’ a programmable 30.5m long and 9m high rainbow which we will use as a platform to deliver key reflective messages.

Two community projects are running alongside River of Light Trail: linked to installations Neighborhood and Light a Wish.

River of Light Trail will continue until 6 April, across the Easter holidays.

What time do the installations light up and what time do they switch off?

The installations switch on at 6.00pm and the lights are switched off at 10.30pm each evening.

Is the trail “on” all the time?

The light installations will be switched on and off throughout the start and end time of the programme; they are switched on at 6.00pm and switched off at 10.30pm.

Where can I find out about the different light commissions?

Further information on the different light installations is available at

What is the best way for me to travel to the River of Light Trail?

Walk or cycle wherever possible.  If you need to travel a short distance on public transport, avoid travel at the busiest times, and practice social distancing while you travel.  You must wear a face covering on public transport unless exempt

Avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or social bubble.

Can I bring my dog?

As the trail and installations are outside in areas accessible by the public, dogs are allowed to walk the trail.

Will there be any road restrictions due to the installations?

The waterfront will be closed to vehicles at Brunswick St and Water St and by default this means Canada Boulevard, St Nicholas Place and Mann Island will also be closed to traffic from 23 March – 5 April from 6pm – 10.30pm each evening.  This means there will be no parking on these roads.  Access will remain for residents of Mann Island and emergency services.  The public should also be forewarned of the major road works – details can be found at

Is there anything else happening in the city at the time?

Yes, the Liverpool Biennial – a festival of contemporary art featuring installations across the city centre in public spaces, galleries and historic buildings.

The 11th edition of Liverpool Biennial: The Stomach and the Port will take place from 20 March – 6 June 2021. One of the Liverpool Biennial installations can also be found close to one of the installations on the River of Light Trail. Further information can be found here.

I have additional questions / concerns – who do I speak to?

If you have any additional questions that are not answered here, please feel free to email us at [email protected] and we will help with any enquiries.