I went to Truro City of Lights on the 31st January with my friend Sophie. For anyone who goes to Penryn or Truro Campus, this is quite a good idea for a weekday evening out (trains don’t run back to Falmouth after 10.30pm). We caught the train at Penryn Station at around 6pm before walking down to the main street in search of a bite to eat before the parade started.

We started our evening at the café above Waterstone’s, which is a lovely place to relax and has, if you’re lucky enough to grab one, window seats. We had their handmade sandwiches and smoothies, but they also sell desserts and hot drinks. Their special advantage is that they offer books to read while you eat.

At around 7 we heard drums banging in the distance, so we quickly finished our meal and rushed down to the barriers. By this time there were no front-row spots left, so we ended up taking pictures from behind families and other onlookers. Still, the show was no less impressive. We couldn’t tell whether there was a specific theme, but we saw a giant robot, big houses and cities, hot air balloons and many animals including a stag and gorilla.

I’m a foreigner so I’m not always up to date on everything that goes along with festivals and street parties in the UK, but Sophie tells me that every good one is rounded off with some hot sugary doughnuts and a nice cup of tea (I could have guessed the second one, to be fair). So we found an adorable little food truck and bought some treats before the parade turned back around for their second round of drumming, dancing and showcasing all the lovely elaborate paper lanterns made by schools, charities and companies around Cornwall.

This is a really family-focused event, but it would be a fantastic way to end a day out and about in Truro if you fancy a bit of shopping and eating. Though we went exclusively for the festival, I recommend coming out a bit earlier to enjoy the shops and eateries before they close – there are some wonderful little places to have food even on a budget!

We walked back up to the train station to catch our return trip. With a railcard, it cost us £4.90 for a day return – excellent value, but if you want to go to Truro regularly, it may be worth paying for a Mussel card, which costs about £1.23 a day and allows you to grab any First bus in Cornwall.

Look out for next year’s festival which will be advertised on their Facebook page – and keep in mind that though it was postponed to January this year, most years it takes place in December!