As the Christmas season approaches, cities and towns across the UK are preparing to transform their streets into a dazzling display of light and colour with official switching-on of the Christmas lights events.

Many cities choose to turn the annual; event into a whole evening of entertainment, with live performances, fireworks and celebrity appearances all aiming to provide fun for the whole family.

As the countdown to Christmas runs down, the IBTimes UK has collected some of the biggest and best switching-on events around the UK to make sure you will not miss on this much-loved tradition.


The first of the two big Christmas lights switch-on in London can be seen on Regent Street on 9 November. Hosted by Emma Bunton and Jamie Theakston, the lights will be based around 20th century Fox DreamWorks animated film MrPeabody and Sherman and will be switched on by actor Ty Burrell, who voices the part of Mr Peabody, and Lion King director Tim Minkoff.

There will also be performances by Leona Lewis and Eliza Doolittle as part of the live entertainment, beginning at 5pm.

The second star-studded switch-on will take place at Oxford Street on 12 November and promise to reveal a "classic snowstorm display".

Hosted by Capital FM presenters Lisa Snowdon and Dave Berry, there will be live performances by Jessie J, Conor Maynard and X-Factor winner James Arthur outside the famous Selfridges store.

Once she has finished her performance, Jesse J will be the one switching on the £1.5m display at 6:15pm.


Those in the Scottish capital will be lucky enough to see none other than six-time Olympic gold medal champion Sir Chris Hoy switching on the lights at George Street on 24 November.

The cyclist will be joined on stage by local children from the charity Cash for Kids for the switching of the nights, which this year's theme being the Twelve Days of Christmas.

The event will also feature performances from Edinburgh Gorgie Salvation Army Band, Edinburgh University Chamber Choir and musicians from Hordaland and the Edinburgh Rock Choir as well as a spectacular fireworks display.

The first performance is due to take place at 3pm, with the fireworks beginning at 4:50pm.

Sir Chris Hoy will be the star at the switching-on event in Edinburgh (Reuters)
Sir Chris Hoy will be the star at the switching-on event in Edinburgh (Reuters)


Billed as the "biggest Christmas party in the North West", the Manchester lights switch-on on 8 November at Albert Square will also feature a performance by X Factor winner James Arthur as well as The Vamps.

Other acts performing as part of the extravaganza will include former Steps star Faye Tozer, Joey, the life-size puppet horse of hit show War Horse and Ashleigh and Pudsey, the dog-trick duo and winners of Britain's Got Talent.

The switch-on is due to take place at 7pm and will be hosted by Key 103's breakfast show presenters Mike & Chelsea.

Christmas lights


Up to 8,000 people are expected to attend the ceremony at Grey Street in Newcastkle, which will this year seen the lights switched on by Newcastle United hero Steve Harper.

The goalkeeper will top off an emotional year following his departure from the club after 18 years by switching on the lights in the city centre on 21 November. The event wil be hosted by Capital FM's Bodg, Matt and JoJo and the event will kick-off at 5:30pm.


Father Christmas himself will be the one switching on the lights at 5:30 in Birmingham on 9 November in Victoria Square, which will then see the start of the annual Christmas parade through the city centre.

Leading the parade of floats is a traditional nativity scene, closely followed by real camels carrying the three wise men. The parade will also have a fairytale feel to it as Cinderella and her Prince Charming will be riding along in a Golden Coach pulled by animatronic horses.

The parade will begin at 5:30 in Victoria Square before continuing through to Colmore Row, Temple Row West, Temple Row, Bull Street, High Street and New Street, before finishing back in Victoria Square at 6:30pm.

X factor winner James Arthur will be performing at a number of light switching events (ITV)
X factor winner James Arthur will be performing at a number of light switching events (ITV)