NOTHING starts the Christmas season quite like the spectacular Salisbury Cathedral Advent Procession 'From Darkness to Light’ boasting the enchanting visual display both inside and out.

Held over Advent weekend, the service now takes place over three evenings, with the final service being held on Advent Sunday. The service is a magical experience, a feast for the senses and has become a highlight of the liturgical year and attracts more than 1,700 worshippers to the special service which plunges the cathedral into darkness until each of the 1,300 candles are lit.

And this year the illuminations from four art works included glowing tree forms, a gigantic light filled globe and a wave of singing lights commissioned on behalf of Salisbury Cathedral's visual arts adviser by Jacquiline Creswell to support the city and extend the message of optimism. The installations will remain at Salisbury Cathedral until February 3, 2019.

The artworks include Light Wave by Squid Soup, minimalist neon work entitled I Will Turn The Darkness into Light, Lumen by David Ogle RBS and The Light by Richard McLester were switched on as the first of the three Advent Processions came to a close and the congregation departed and will stay in place until February 3.

Each service commences in total darkness until a single advent candle is lit. Over the course of the hour, two processions wend their way through the cathedral, lighting 1,300 candles. The service reaches a crescendo with Fantasia and Fuge in G minor by J S Bach.

Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury said: “Advent is the pivotal moment in the Church’s calendar, when we set out with joyful hope towards Christmas and the celebration of Christ’s birth.  Advent and Christmas are particularly special this year because they reflect the journey made by the city and community in 2018 which has tested our resolve and our resilience.  I hope this Advent – my first as Dean - will be a time of healing and renewed hope for Salisbury and a time to make a difference for God, and to worship in our beautiful Cathedral.”

Jacquiline Creswell, Visual Arts Advisor and curator, said: “The pleasure of working with Salisbury Cathedral is its willingness to embrace modern art as part of its message. In this case the blend of modern technology and creativity, drawing upon the age-old symbolism of Light and Dark is a powerful and immediate message, a gesture of hope and forward thinking.”

Jane Morgan Director of Development and Communications said: “It has been a long and exhausting year for many people in Salisbury, so we were determined to make Advent and Christmas extra special this year. The Twilight Tower Tours, which come with a delicious cream tea, are always full to bursting so we took the decision to make more available starting in November. With the light installations in the Close and views of the Christmas lights across the city, as well as the ice rink in the Guildhall Square, the unfolding panorama from the tower balconies will be amazing.”