Gallery: Santa has arrived! Father Christmas’ arrival at Ipswich Waterfront heralds the launch of late-night shopping

Father Christmas arrives by boat at Ipswich Waterfront.

Father Christmas arrives by boat at Ipswich Waterfront. - Credit: Archant

The Christmas season well and truly arrived in Ipswich last night as dozens of excited children welcomed Santa Claus as he sailed into the Waterfront.

Armed with sweets for his adoring public, the popular character’s journey on board the Sailing Barge (SB) Victor also heralded in the first of the town’s late-night shopping events, which will take place every Thursday until Christmas.

The much anticipated visit has now taken place for several years and it continues to be a popular fixture of the town’s festive build-up.

David Stainer, manager of the Ipswich Tourist Information Centre, said: “I think it is a great and unique thing for the town.”

Wes Westwood, skipper of the SB Victor, added: “It went very well. Unfortunately this year we couldn’t put all the lights up but all the kids were excited for it.”

The visit came just a few days after Ipswich’s Christmas lights were switched on and the St Peter’s Market took place.

Starting today, people will also be able to pick up a range of gifts for their loved ones as the Ipswich Christmas Market, which comes to an end on Sunday, begins.

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James Young, events manager with the borough council, believes having different events spread out across the town will give people the chance to enjoy all Ipswich has to offer.

He added: “It (Santa’s visit) was good, it is a bit of a tradition of bringing Santa in by the Waterfront.

“It is something else for people. They can come in and see the Waterfront and then go into the town centre and enjoy the first night of late-night shopping.”

Mr Young also thanked the borough council, SB Victor and Associated British Ports for their co-operation and support in helping last night’s event take place.