BBC Radio 2 DJ and presenter Scott Mills will get Leicester’s Christmas party started next week as he turns on our famous festive lights.

Scott will be joined on the Haymarket balcony by the Lord Mayor and BBC Radio Leicester’s very own Ady Dayman to count down to the big switch-on from 6pm on Wednesday 22 November.

This change to a Wednesday means that the switch on coincides with late-night shopping, with many stores open until 8pm, so you can start your Christmas shop early.

Leicester fan Scott, who’ll be appearing in De Montfort Hall’s panto this Christmas, said:

"Leicester is fast becoming my second home so when I was asked to switch the lights on how could I decline! I’ll be playing all the festive favourites from the balcony near the Clock Tower so do come and say hello as we light up Leicester for Christmas."

What's on during the event

Before the lights go on at 6.30pm, there’ll be plenty of family fun to enjoy.

From 5pm, Town Hall Square will be filled with the traditional sound of Christmas, with music from the No Bars Orchestra, EAGA Gospel Choir, the Ratby Crescendo Band and the Syston Band. Visitors will also discover the story of Christmas, with the figures of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus taking their place in the square’s nativity scene. Kids can also look out for Santa in Town Hall Square as he checks the progress on his grotto, due to open on 2 December.

Bringing some festive fun to the city centre will be some cheeky costumed characters, including Horace and Boris, the Bouncy Elves, an 8ft-tall penguin called Blizzard, and an illuminated stilt walker. Look out for them between Town Hall Square and Gallowtree Gate.

On Humberstone Gate, there’ll be festive rides with the Billy Bates Funfair, while the 110ft Wheel of Light on Jubilee Square will be offering a bird’s eye view over Leicester.

There’ll also be plenty of fun at the Haymarket Shopping Centre from 4.45pm, with live entertainment hosted by EavaFM that culminates at 6.45pm with the switch-on of the shopping centre’s Christmas lights.

At 6.30pm, Leicester’s 50ft Christmas tree at the Clock Tower will sparkle with thousands of white lights, while the city centre’s streets will be bathed in colour as 16,000 LED lamps light up.

Leicester City Council is grateful to Octopus Energy for their generous sponsorship of the Christmas Lights Switch-On.

More shopping and travel choices

Those wishing to start their Christmas shopping will find that Marks & Spencer is open until 7pm on Wednesday 22 November, with stores at Highcross and the Haymarket trading until 8pm that night. To avoid disappointment, shoppers should check opening times with individual stores, as hours may vary.

Park & Ride services will be extended for the big switch-on, with the last buses for Meynell’s Gorse and Birstall leaving the city centre at 9pm, while the last bus to the Enderby site will depart at 8.55pm on 22 November. In addition, HOP! – the city’s free circular bus service – will continue running until 9pm to encourage people to explore all the city centre has to offer.

Follow the light-up trail

A spectacular troupe of illuminated drummers will then lead the way to the upper floor of Highcross, where people can enjoy Bright Christmas – a free immersive light experience that’s set to a festive soundtrack and features 6,000 LED lamps.

Just a short walk from Highcross, the bars and restaurants of St Martin’s Square will be welcoming visitors for the switch-on of their festive lights at 7.45pm. The illuminated drummers will lead you there!

So much for for Christmas in Leicester

The switch-on of the Christmas lights signals the start of a busy festive season in Leicester.

From Saturday 2 December until Saturday 23 December, Santa will be welcoming children to his snow-topped grotto in Town Hall Square with a small gift. As in previous years, visits to Santa will be free of charge so that all children can enjoy a magical Christmas experience.

Other highlights include the return of the city’s Real Ice Rink on Thursday 7 December, which will join the spectacular Wheel of Light in Jubilee Square for the festive season. Both attractions will be open until Sunday 7 January.

Full details of how to book ice tickets and all the events taking place in Leicester this Christmas are available at




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