HISTORIC Harwich was lit up as a festival of light kickstarted a year of celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage to America.

The Illuminate Festival presented a lantern parade, Tunnel of Light and projections along the old town seafront.

About 6,000 people visited Harwich across the two days of celebrations to enjoy the stunning projections along buildings on the quay and on to the house of Christopher Jones, captain of the Mayflower which sailed with the Pilgrim Fathers to America in 1620.

The Spark! Drummers led the lantern parade and about 90 people performed in the Harwich Sings Tendring Voices choir, which was projected live on to the Pier Hotel.

On Saturday, there was a night flight display by Fireflies and the festival had a real carnival feel with stilt walkers, jugglers, face painting and puppets.

Similar festivals have been held at destinations across the UK, Netherlands and USA at places which have links to The Mayflower and its Pilgrim voyage to the new world. Harwich’s Illuminate festival was the start of a year of celebrations to mark the anniversary.