It’s November now which means we can all start to get in the Christmas spirit! To mark the beginning of the festive season, we have put together this guide to the most spectacular Christmas light switch-on events across the East Midlands. Each one of these events promise something special for all the family, with stunning displays, funfairs, festive music and even the chance to meet Santa!

Saturday 18th November, 3:30 pm - Derby Christmas Lights Switch-On

Hosted by Derby LIVE, this free light switch-on event takes place at Derby Market Place in the city centre. The event will officially kick-off at 3:30 pm, with a fun parade starting at The Spot at 4:30 pm. Join in and enjoy the festive entertainment on offer in the Market Place, in the lead-up to the big lights switch-on at 6 pm. The official radio station for Derby’s Christmas lights switch on, Gem 106 will be hosting the stage show.

Friday 17th November, 5:30 pm – Nottingham Winter Wonderland

Nottingham is offering more than just Christmas lights at their switch-on evening. As well as watching the city light up at 5:30 pm, Nottingham’s Old Market Square will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland with an ice-rink and Christmas market selling plenty of winter gifts and treats – a great place to start your Christmas shopping! The winter bars and food hall along with the market stalls will open daily 10 am till late, and the Ice bars will open from 3 pm until 10 pm. And the ice-rink at 11 am.

Saturday 2nd December, 5 pm – West Bridgford Christmas Lights Switch On

If you’re looking for a more local Christmas lights switch-on event in Nottingham, come down to West Bridgford for a day of festive family fun. Gordon Road Christmas Fayre will combine with the lights switch-on at Central Avenue to bring you a winter extravaganza. On the day you can also expect street theatre performances, children’s fairground rides, Santa’s grotto and a free mini ice rink.

You can also buy gifts, crafting items, novelties and food from the market on the Croquet Lawn.

The West Bridgford lights will come on at 5 pm on Central Avenue, with the extra festivities continuing into the evening. It is being led by Gem at breakfast’s Jo and Sparkey and the Mayor of Rushcliffe. The day will finish with a fantastic fireworks display.

Times and locations  

Central Avenue

·         Christmas market 9am-6pm

·         Children's fairground 11am-6pm

·         Music and shows 12pm-5pm

Gordon Square

·         Santa's grotto 1pm-7pm

·         Mini ice rink 1pm-7pm

·         Mr Balloony's Christmas Roadshow 1pm-7pm

Saturday 25th November, 4:30 pm – Stapleford Christmas Lights Switch On

Another Christmas lights switch-on over the weekend takes place in Stapleford town centre, Nottingham. Great if you prefer a smaller-scale event with plenty of festive excitement. Adding to the wow-factor on the day there will be spectacular fireworks to enhance the Stapleford lights, starting at 6:30 pm. The whole event opens at 10:30 am, where you will have the chance to visit Santa’s Grotto and get a big surprise. You can explore the Christmas stalls and craft activities lining the streets of the town and children can have lots of fun on the various rides, all brought to you by people from the local area.  The lights switch on at 5:30 by the Christmas tree in the Walter Parker VC memorial square.


Tuesday 23rd November, 5:00 pm – Christmas in Leicester

This year there’s loads going on in Leicester to get you in the mood for Christmas. The grand switch-on of the lights will start at 4:30 pm on the Humberstone Gate West main stage, shortly followed by amazing Light the Night games in the Cultural Quarter until 8 pm.

Before the switch-on though, there will be a full schedule of festive fun and activities in the daytime. From 12 noon-5pm you can hop onto the Wheel of Light to see amazing views of Leicester city. From 5 pm – 6 pm you will be able to meet the stars of the De Montfort Hall’s Beauty and the Beast. As you explore Leicester’s full-day Christmas extravaganza, there will be winter food and drinks, music and festive displays to keep the whole family entertained. The lights are scheduled to be officially switched on by the Lord Mayor, accompanied by Santa Clause and the cast of Curve show, George’s Marvellous Medicine at 6:30.

Make sure you stick around in Leicester as on the 9th December as a increadble ice rink will be open.


Tuesday 28th November, 5 pm – Eastwood Christmas Lights Switch On

This local Christmas lights switch-on is being celebrated in Eastwood Town Square, Nottingham with a packed programme of free events. As well as the official light switch-on at 6 pm there will be a chance to meet Santa at his Grotto and receive a present. You can also expect live performances by street performers and buskers.  a fairground and land train for the kids. If you stay until 8 pm you will get to witness a fantastic fireworks display.


Sunday 26th November - Christmas in Loughborough

Loughborough will be illuminating its streets with Christmas lights and decorations at the end of November in the town centre marketplace between 1 pm – 5 pm. There will be festive goodies, food and arts and craft market stalls. Amazing music and competitions from Capital Radio. To give everyone easy access to enjoy the displays, there will be free parking in the town centre for the lights switch-on event and all four Sundays leading up to Christmas, so come down for a wonderfully festive Sunday evening. It will be hosted by Capital Breakfast’s Dino, Pete and Tyles, along with Capital Drive Time’s Tom and Claire.

 Friday 1th December, 6:45 pm - Victorian Switch-On Event & Market - Melton Mowbray

This year Melton Mowbray are hosting a Victorian-themed Christmas lights switch-on in the town centre. At 4 pm you will be able to see Santa parade the streets with Trumpton before he goes to his magical Grotto, waiting to meet you. Enjoy a more traditional evening to ring in the start of the festive season, alongside live performances throughout the day from schools, choirs, bands and local Leicestershire artists. If you want to start looking for gifts and Christmas inspiration, there will be numerous stalls in the market area to have a nose around. The day-long festivities begin at 10 am and finish at 8 pm. The lights get switched on at 6:45 pm followed by an outstanding fireworks display.

We hope that wherever you choose to go that you have a fantastic time.

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