The best Christmas light switch ons

There’s nothing quite like the switching on of sparkling lights and decorations to mark the start of the Christmas period.

Light up your festive season with our guide to some of the best Christmas light displays across the country.


The capital never does things by half-measures and its Christmas lights are no exception. Head to Central London for some of the most magical displays. Carnaby Street starts to twinkle on the 9th November, the Oxford Street Lights Switch On happens on the 7th November and usually features some famous faces and lastly, The Regent Street Light Switch On takes place on the 16th November.The sparkly lights transform these shopping stretches and, if you don’t make it down for Christmas, don’t worry the lights are up until early January.
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The Dreaming Spires is beautiful all year round, but at Christmas, the lights bring a Narnia-like quality to the City. The Christmas light festival takes place from the 17th-19th November with fun events, food stalls and a festival market. Highlights include the lantern procession that winds itself through Oxford streets and involves hundreds of people.
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Get your Christmas on in Birmingham. The Christmas lights, Ice rink, Big Wheel and German market all open on the 16th November 2017. Diarise the date. Venues TBC.
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To celebrate the start of the Christmas festivities on the coast, there will be a special switch on event on 17th November at The Triangle. Perfect for the whole family, with live entertainment, fireworks and a large illuminated teddy bear being the focal point.
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Visit the beautiful walled City of Chester and enjoy the Chester Christmas Light Switch On, happening on the 16th November. The ’12 days of Christmas’ parade is also worth watching. See if you can spot Santa as he travels the streets starting from the Town Hall.
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Durham’s annual free Christmas Light Switch On event takes place on the 22nd November at the Market Place. There are performances from the Durham Constabulary Brass Band and the Durham University Palatinate Orchestra from 2.30pm and a family-friendly line-up and countdown to the Christmas Light Switch On will start at 4 pm. Arrive early to avoid disappointment and make sure you wrap up warm!
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The festive season officially arrives in the capital on Thursday 9th November. Watch the parade, visit Santa in his Grotto or enjoy some late night shopping. The 9th November is also the opening of Cardiff’s Christmas Market where you can start your Christmas shopping early and fill your stockings with festive foods, hand-crafted gifts or treat yourself to some delicious street food like traditional bratwurst and mulled wine.
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Visit this vibrant Scottish city and enjoy Stirling’s free Christmas Lights Switch On which takes place on the 19th November from 2 pm – 5 pm. This afternoon of free family fun kicks off in Stirling at 2 pm with the Santa Parade from the Albert Halls down to The Thistles, followed by a radio roadshow at the foot of King Street and the light switch on at 5 pm.
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Experience the magic of Dublin with Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies happening across the city. They start with Dublin’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street on the 19th November and then different streets get their turn. And if you like a bit of panto, ‘Rapunzel’ and ‘Polly and The Beanstalk’ are both on in theatres from November.
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