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Where To Watch The UK’s Best Festive Light Switch On Shows

Matt Crisp November 4, 2019

As we roll into November, you might think that it’s still too early to be talking about Christmas, but with many of the country’s major cities hosting their festive light switch ons in the coming weeks, you need to start planning now if you want to see the illuminations turned on.

We’ve rounded up some of the top events happening around the UK, but it’s always worth checking what’s going on in your local area.

Don’t forget that getting into and out of major cities when there are big events happening can be a challenge. If you’ve got a big family, or are part of a group who want to go together (and enjoy a mug or two of mulled wine), it’s well worth arranging luxury minibus hire to make the journey a bit easier and less stressful.

Let’s start by looking at what’s happening in London. As you might imagine, the light displays here are spectacular and there are many of them.


Oxford Street, London – 21 November 2019

The one that everyone is familiar with is Oxford Street, which this year promises a new lighting scheme in the form of 27 LED light curtains hanging above the famous shopping destination. The switch on will happen on 21 November, with a range of the UK’s top hip hop, grime and R&B artists set to perform.

There will also be a one-night shopping extravaganza to mark the occasion, with many of the stores on the street offering exclusive discounts and offers.


Covent Garden, London – 12 November 2019

This is a picture-perfect spot at any time of the year but looks particularly pretty around Christmas. See the mistletoe chandeliers and the lights adorning the impressive (and London’s largest) hand-picked Christmas tree get turned on and enjoy the atmosphere of the market by night.


Regent Street, London – 14 November 2019

Not long after, Regent Street will also be turning on it’s festive lights display. This year, it’s set to be extra special with the display marking the 200th anniversary of Regent Street’s creation. The Spirit of Christmas display will be stunning, and being there to see it switched on is the perfect way to kick off the festive season.

Regent Street also boasts the largest light installation in London at this time of year, and is known for having big names perform at its switch on events. Although it hasn’t released the lineup for 2019 yet, you can expect it to be a good one.

Away from the capital, there are plenty of excellent Christmas light switch on events taking place too.


Manchester – 14 November 2019

This year, the Manchester Christmas light switch on show will move from its usual home in Albert Square to the end of Deansgate near the cathedral. As with the London events, there will be a range of musical acts on stage to get the crowds in the mood.

Becky Hill is already confirmed on the bill, along with HRVY and X-Factor girl group Four of Diamonds. Performers from the city’s Christmas pantos and other stage shows will also be around, so keep your eyes peeled for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, as well as the mischievous Grinch.


Norwich – 14 November 2019

Norwich is also planning to host its festive light switch on extravaganza on 14 November. This is when its famous Tunnel of Light will be turned on, along with the other Christmas illuminations in the city centre.

The countdown ends at 7pm, when fireworks are also released from the roof of Jarrolds independent department store, so it’s quite a show.


Edinburgh – 17 November 2019

Light Night in Edinburgh promises to be spectacular, with performances from local choirs and youth groups in the afternoon ahead of the lights being switched on. Santa is also set to fly over the Royal Mile during the festivities.

The lights will be turned on following an incredible pyrotechnic display, so it’s quite a sight to behold. It’s worth spending the afternoon here to enjoy all the musical performances and really get into the Christmas spirit before the main event.

Don’t worry if you can’t get close to the epicentre of the action, as there will be two giant screens located at key spots on the Royal Mile to ensure you don’t miss any of the show, even if you’re not at the heart of the action.


Winchester – 14 November 2019

Winchester is a beautiful city to visit during the festive period, with its Christmas market next to its iconic cathedral. This year, the light switch on event will be marked by a series of performances from local musical acts, as well as a giant inflatable snow globe that’s making a special appearance at the switch on.

Once the lights are on, you can enjoy the ambience in this pretty city as you wander among the independent market stalls on the Lower High Street all the way up to The Broadway, where the main stage will be located.


Birmingham – 15 November 2019

Birmingham also likes to make a fuss when its festive lights are turned on. This year, visitors will be treated to performances by the Voice of the Town Choir and the Bombshell Belles, as well as a stunning fireworks display to mark the start of the celebrations.

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham will officially flick the switch to illuminate the city centre in time for the Christmas season.


Cardiff – 14 November 2019

Cardiff doesn’t technically have an official light switch on event, but the city’s festive illuminations are turned on the day that the Christmas market opens at The Hayes. This year, over 200 individual businesses will have stalls here, giving you plenty of options for your Christmas shopping.

If you head here for the start of the Christmas market, you’ll also be able to take in the Winter Wonderland, where you can go ice skating, jump on any number of fairground rides or just soak up the party atmosphere.


Leeds – 7 November 2019

Leeds is hosting one of the earliest Christmas light switch on events in the country, with its illuminations starting on 7 November. This year, the city is paying homage to its football club, which is celebrating its centenary. Players from the Leeds United first team, as well as members of the ladies team and club legends will all be on stage.

Rak-Su, the former X Factor winners, have been confirmed as the musical act headlining on the stage on the night too. Local acts will also be performing, including singer-songwriter Sophie Littlejohns, the 17 year old winner of Breeze Has Talent this year.


Plymouth – 14 November 2019

The seaside city of Plymouth is also planning a big event for its Christmas light switch on. Local school groups, theatre groups and the Party Princesses are set to entertain the crowds from 4pm on the evening.

Local indie rock and pop band The Sound will headline and perform a range of well-known songs to keep the party going once the lights are turned on.


Liverpool ONE, Liverpool – 16 November 2019

Liverpool ONE has a special evening planned to mark the start of its illuminations. Running from 4pm on 16 November, there will be a huge festive party designed to get you in the mood for the forthcoming Christmas celebrations. Expect pop-up panto previews and even Santa playing the piano.

The illuminations themselves are the big attraction. This year artist Marc Robinson has created an installation called Polaris: Dare to Dream. It features 96 colour-changing cubes and is sure to make a splash. The centre will also be home to what’s thought to be the country’s largest Christmas tree, a special sight to behold.