A DAZZLING display of colour is lighting up Heaton Park this winter.

Lightopia ­— Europe’s largest light and lantern festival ­— opened to the public on Thursday.

It gives visitors the chance to explore the park after dark, as it is transformed into a wonderland of giant, glowing lanterns.

There are photo and selfie opportunities galore among the 47 groups of installations, 2,000 individual lanterns and over a million light bulbs.

On Wednesday evening, a special launch event was held paying homage to both the festival's local and international influences.

Lightopia Creative Director, Ian Xiang, flicked the switch and a stunning lightshow beamed out across the park's boating lake.

He said: “We are so thrilled to finally announce the launch of Lightopia for the UK public throughout the festive season.

"Our launch night saw dignitaries from both China and Manchester come together to celebrate our light show and bring the true meaning of Lightopia to life.

"The festival signifies community, brightness and personal power and the launch of Lightopia was a true celebration of this.”

The installations have been designed for Lightopia by artist Ava Moradi.

The launch also offered 2,000 tickets to members of the public at a discounted price of £10.

The proceeds of sales from tickets has been split between We Love MCR Charity and The Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity.

Lightopia is open until New Year's Eve.

The event is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, except during school holidays. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are closed. Opening times are between 5pm to 10pm. Last entry is 8.30pm daily.

Advance adult tickets cost £18. Adult tickets on the day cost £20.

Advance child tickets (aged between 3-16) cost £11. Child tickets on the day cost £13. Advance family tickets (2 adults and 2 children) cost £54. Family tickets on the day cost £62. Children under three go free.