Gunwharf Quays Light Show Spectacular 15-23 November 2019

Well, well, well Gunwharf Quays is pulling it out of the bag this winter and we’re only in November.

Last night I caught the first public showing of the new Light Show Spectacular at the outlet shopping centre in Portsmouth and I’m so glad I did!

Pull on a cosy coat, grab family and friends and go and see this great free show that’s going to spark the start of those festive feelings.

Here’s a slice of the magic to give you a sneak peek…

When are the shows?

The Light Show Spectacular runs from 15th – 23rd November 2019.

Sunday to Thursday the show runs on the hour, starting at 5pm with the last show at 8pm. On Fridays and Saturdays the shows run on the hour, starting at 6pm with the last show at 9pm.

Each show I think lasts for about 10 to 15 minutes – I didn’t really note the time as I was enjoying the show too much!

Who’s it suitable for?

It’s a great all round show that will appeal to all ages.

It’s kid friendly, but it’s worth being aware that younger children could find it quite loud. But, it’s definitely not just focused at kids, and I found it very enjoyable. In fact, the majority of people at the show I attended were adults, I’m sure this will vary per showing.

As it’s a light show you might want to take care if you suffer from epilepsy or autism as the lights are very bright and could be a little overwhelming.

Where is the light show?

Once you’re at Gunwharf Quays you need to head towards Brasserie Blanc where the canal is.

You’ll also spot Las Iguanas and Costa in the same area but you can’t miss the big lighting rig in the square – it’s where the food festivals and beach bars are in the summer.

If you’re still not sure head to the visitor information kiosk at the top of the car park escalators, the team are always ready to help – I had to ask as I didn’t know where it was.


Five minutes from the start the whole square lights up and a countdown appears on the screen with some magical sounds to let everyone know things are about to start.

It wasn’t long until a little crowd had formed and there was plenty of hustle, bustle and chitter chatter as the sense of anticipation grew. Us Brits love a countdown and you bet that with only 10 seconds remaining everyone started to actually count out loud.

I’ll give you a little heads up that my photos are as focussed as I could get them as the images moved so fast that it wasn’t the sort of thing you could focus on very well. But, my pictures give you an idea of what to expect.


Three, two, one…let the lights begin!

The square screen in the centre started playing a magical sequence of beautiful imagery, sounds and video that takes you on a seasonal journey. At first the music is slow and so is the imagery but it gathers pace with the changing of the seasons.

I didn’t managed to capture the squirrel but, caught the corn kernels!

It starts in late summer and transitions through the seasons – hazy summer days transition into squirrels nibbling nuts, pumpkins, Halloween and then fireworks night.

I wasn’t sure what to expect at first but it’s quite magical and has been down very well. There’s not really any people in the light show just beautiful seasonal scenes, atmospheric music and plenty of bright lights that rise up from the square and project onto the surrounding buildings and night sky.

The lights also change colour all the way down the canal and on the Spinnaker Tower, I’m going to go back again so I can see it from a different perspective.

Falling leaves show as the video journey transitions from autumn to winter.

Scenes of rain and thunderstorms turn to snow as the story descends into Winter.

Oh, and did I mention there’s FIRE? 🔥🔥🔥

It builds a seasonal story that ends with Christmas and a message from the team at Gunwharf. And, I have to say there was a big cheer at the end – safe to say it went down very well!

I love a light show, there’s so much you can do with animation, clever lighting and dramatic music to bring a bit of joy into seasonal celebrations.

This is a wonderful way to kick start the festive season and will definitely try and catch it a few more times before it ends!

Let me know if you head over to catch the show – it’s definitely worth stopping by if you’re headed out for dinner one night.

P.S. Don’t forget that there’s plenty of gorgeous lights and decorations to see around Gunwharf too!

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