Santa Claus is coming to town and Christmas lights switch-on

Ipswich Christmas Lights Switch on from Cornhill Square.Picture:NIGE BROWN

Ipswich Christmas Lights Switch on from Cornhill Square.Picture:NIGE BROWN - Credit: Archant

With Guy Fawkes night just a fading memory, Christmas is now looming closer with lighting switch-ons, the arrival of Santa and Christmas fayres now dominating our social calendars. Miriam Spall from Where To Take Our Children/Suffolk Kids has look at the family events coming up this week

Foxburrow Farm is offering kids and families outdoor fun this autumn. Photo Nick Ilott.

Foxburrow Farm is offering kids and families outdoor fun this autumn. Photo Nick Ilott. - Credit: Archant

What: Ipswich Christmas Lights Switch On 2018

Where: Ipswich Town Hall and Corn Exchange, King Street, Ipswich, IP1 1DH

When: Nov 22 - 4:30pm to 9pm

Cost: Free

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This is the first year the big Ipswich Christmas lights switch-on will take place against the stunning backdrop of the new-look Cornhill.

The Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

There’s a feast of festive fun in store before the countdown at 6.45pm – musical entertainment and seasonal singalongs start at 4.30pm. But our advice is: get there early! The switch-on is always popular and if you want to get the best view of the dazzling display, arrive in good time.

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The lights will be switched on by Mayor Jane Riley and a team of “helpers” from the Regent Theatre panto Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs: expect mayhem, magic and mirth in large quantities!

For safety reasons, temporary gates will be closed once capacity in that part of the town centre has been reached. A special area has been set aside for people in wheelchairs and with mobility needs.

Perhaps park in the new Crown Street multi-storey car park – just a bauble’s throw away from all the festive action, which marks the start of the traditional late night Thursday shopping. Parking at Crown Street that evening is just £2 after 2pm.

Skerryvore who are appearing at The Apex as part of their world tour Photo Rachel Keenan

Skerryvore who are appearing at The Apex as part of their world tour Photo Rachel Keenan - Credit: Archant

What: Family Forest Schools afternoon

Where: Foxburrow Farm, Melton, IP12 1NA

When: Saturday 17 November 2-4pm

Cost: £4/child, £2/accompanying adult, siblings under 3 are free. Booking essential. All children must be accompanied by an adult

Join Suffolk Wildlife Trust for an afternoon of Forest School fun at Foxburrow Farm on Saturday November 17.

Don’t expect a row of desks and a blackboard at a Forest School! Escape to the woods on Saturday November 17 for an afternoon of exploration and adventure where den building and fire lighting will be on the timetable.

This event is suitable for all the family and is a great introduction to the ethos of Forest Schools, where children take the lead and are encouraged to explore the woodland through play. Originating in Scandinavia, Forest Schools run regardless of the weather, so wrap up warm and join the fun. In the new year, these sessions will be monthly.

More information and booking at:

What: Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre

Where: Bury St Edmunds Suffolk, IP33 1LT

When: Nov 22 - Noon to 8pm, Nov 23 & 24 - 9am to 8pm, Nov 25 - 10am to 7pm

Cost: Free

Visit Santa’s grotto in the Abbey Gardens, meet his elves and reindeers, post a letter to him in his special post box to which you will receive a reply in time for Christmas. There’s also a free Christmas magic show and free face painting plus funfairs, games, rides and activities dotted among our 300 plus stalls.

Don’t forget to visit the toy making workshop in Bury’s latest visitor attraction The Guildhall on the Saturday and Sunday.

The fun begins from midday on the Thursday. Opening night includes children leading a penguin puppet parade from The Apex to Angel Hill at 5.30pm and a fireworks display in the Abbey Gardens at 8pm.

There’s lots more activities to keep all ages entertained – see

What: Santa at Home

Where: Museum of East Anglian Life Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 1DL

When: 24 & 25 November, 1 & 2 December, 8 & 9 December, 15 & 16 December, 22 & 23 December- 23 from 10am to 4pm

Cost: Children are £6, you can add an additional child to the same time slot for £4.

Step inside Santa’s living room at the Museum of East Anglian Life this Christmas. Santa is visiting on the last weekend of November and throughout December with his top Elf Pudding, for an unforgettable, personalised experience for your child.

With no queueing, book your times lot in advance and enjoy visiting the museum’s part of the Christmas Tree Festival, write a letter to Santa and hunt for the elves in Abbot’s Hall.

Sessions must be booked in advance. To book tickets visit their website at:

What: SNOW

Where: Dance East Jerwood DanceHouse, Foundry Ln, Ipswich IP4 1DW

When: Nov 24 - 2:30pm

Cost: From £10, £7 concessions, £30 family ticket

Local dance artist Holly Noble comes to DanceEast for the first time with her new production SNOW, which will take you through the familiar tale of Snow White with some not so familiar twists and turns. This ballet retells the classic story of heroes and villains within a Victorian Travelling Circus using modern and classical music, narration, circus and film.

As well as a choreographer, Holly Noble is one of DanceEast’s Centre for Advanced Training ballet tutors and is driven to make the classical dance style easily accessible by all. This performance is interactive and will be sign language interpreted and captioned; she promises you will leave the theatre feeling more connected to these characters than ever before.

Age suitability 4+ years. To book tickets visit their website at

What: Skerryvore (Scottish Celtic Rock For The 21st Century)

Where: Apex, 1 Charter Square St, Bury Saint Edmunds IP33 3FD

When: Monday November 19 at 7.30pm

Cost: £20, contact The Apex Box Office on 01284 758000 or visit

Twice winners of Scotland’s Traditional Music ‘Live Act of the Year’ Award (2016 & 2011), Skerryvore create a unique fusion of folk, trad, rock and Americana, with blazing bagpipes, fiddle and accordions, electrically fused with funky rhythms and soul-gripping songs.

With their outstanding musicianship and the mesmerising voice of singer Alec Dalglish, Skerryvore have been on a meteoric journey that has taken them from the remote Hebridean Isle of Tiree to international tours and performances in New York’s Central Park, The Ryder Cup in Louisville and the Shanghai Expo, China.

From their earlier ‘West Coast Ceilidh’ days, the band have developed world, country and many other influences, however the traditional Celtic roots and composition remain.

Their single ‘Live Forever’ hit No.1 in the iTunes World Music chart and this year sees the release of Skerryvore’s 6th studio album ‘Evo’, accompanied by a world tour that includes The Apex in Bury St Edmunds.

What: Coffee & Cake Open House for Neonatal Unit at West Suffolk

Where: Bowen in Bury St Edmunds 14 Bunbury Avenue, Great Barton, Bury St Edmunds IP312SZ

When: Nov 19 - 9:15am to 3pm

Cost: Free

Bowen in Bury is offering a free Bowen Taster sessions to parents, children and babies to help you discover how they can help improve your whole family’s health and wellness.

In addition, Debbie from Better Birth Baby will also be here to talk with expectant parents about hypnobirthing and having a positive birth experience.

Entry is free to all but any donations gratefully received on behalf of the Neonatal Unit in West Suffolk Hospital in honour of World Prematurity Day on Nov 17th.

For more information or to pre-book your family’s Bowen Taster Session(s) please contact Kim on 07766 952531 or Also find them at

Events compiled by Miriam Spall from Where To Take Our Children/Suffolk Kids Follow her on Facebook: @WhereToTakeOurChildren

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