When are the Christmas lights being switched on around Suffolk and Essex?

Sudbury Christmas Light switch on

Sudbury Christmas Light switch on - Credit: Archant

The twinkling Christmas tree lights are a true sign that Santa is really on his way and Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds have already turned theirs on, but when will the rest of the county be lit up?

Sudbury Christmas Light switch on

Sudbury Christmas Light switch on - Credit: Archant

Here we bring you a guide to the light switch on events taking place over the next fortnight.



Excitement will build as the Christmas fair gets underway at 5pm, offering craft stalls, mulled wine, character visits and choral singers.

At 6.30pm the winner of the mayor’s Christmas card competition will have the honour of switching the lights on, and the fun will continue until 9pm.

A French market will take place all day Friday and return on Saturday.

Long Melford light switch-on

Long Melford light switch-on - Credit: Gregg Brown

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The Museum of East Anglian Life is holding a craft fayre during the afternoon to coincide with the town’s Christmas tree festival and the light switch on.

The fayre starts at 3pm and goes on until 8.30pm, there will be mulled wine and a hog roast on offer.

More than 400 Christmas trees will be displayed in Abbots Hall at the museum, and also at The Mix and at Stowmarket Parish Church.

Crowds will migrate to the main town centre later in the day for the switch on and entertainment.


Christmas lights will be switched on at Rupert Fison Square, Kesgrave at 6.20pm.

Special guests at the Christmas lights

Special guests at the Christmas lights - Credit: Archant

There will be choirs performing, Santa will be there and the Scout Hut will host a market, giving you a chance to stock up on stocking fillers.



Enjoy all the find of the Christmas fair throughout the day with festive food, craft stalls and carol singing, plus live entertainment. The annual candlelight parade will start at 4.40pm, leading up to the big switch on at 5pm, when the resort will suddenly become alive with twinkling fairy lights.


In a change from the traditional Friday night event, Southwold will be lit up on Saturday night.

Museum of East Anglian Life holds a Christmas event as part of Stowmarkets Christmas Lights switch o

Museum of East Anglian Life holds a Christmas event as part of Stowmarkets Christmas Lights switch on each year - Credit: Lucy taylor

This year’s event will have a nautical theme, to mark the 150th anniversaries of the RNLI in Southwold and The Sailors’ Reading Room.

There will be stalls, carol singing, a Santa’s grotto and some great shopping deals to be had.

The fun begins at 5pm in the Market Place.


Long Melford

The Christmases of yesteryear are set to be revived as the community comes together for a special festive fair.

Melford Olde Christmas will take place in Hall Street from noon with Santa with his sleigh, a snow machine, live reindeer, carol singers and a silver band. Visitors may even bump into the odd historical character as they peruse the stalls.

Santa switches on Christmas Lights on in Aldeburgh

Santa switches on Christmas Lights on in Aldeburgh

The day will conclude at dusk with an elf and fairy-themed lantern parade through the village culminating at Little Green where the Christmas lights will officially be switched on.


A day of entertainment is planned for Colchester town centre before the lights go on as dusk falls.

Don’t miss this exciting day, the perfect precursor to the festive season.


Music, pantomime characters and two markets all feature in a day of Christmas fun in the town.

Ipswich's controversial Christmas tree

Ipswich's controversial Christmas tree - Credit: Archant

Pop-up stalls will appear in the High Street, along with the usual Great Market.

The cast of Dick Whittington will wander through Braintree, and there will be a number of activities including a bouncy disco and face painting. A range of musical acts will also perform.

Activities run from 10am until 6pm in the event, which has been organised by the Town Team.



Kicking off three days of festive fun, the lights will be switched on at around 6pm.

Then there will be late-night shopping, market stalls selling Christmas food, and horse and carriage rides past the castle and the live-sized advent calendar, not forgetting a visit from Father Christmas himself.

Colchester Christmas lights

Colchester Christmas lights - Credit: Su Anderson

A Christmas tree festival will take place on the Saturday and a charity Christmas market on the Sunday.


A Victorian Christmas market takes place between 4pm and 8pm, with the lighting of the tree by the mayor at 5pm.

There will also be live music from Lisa Strong, the Clacton Musical Theatre Society, and the Smooth Groove Dance group will perform as well.

The highlight comes at 7pm when there will be a light parade down the High Street.


Felixstowe Christmas lights bring festive magic to the seaside resort

Felixstowe Christmas lights bring festive magic to the seaside resort - Credit: Archant

Primary school children have been busy practising their carols ready to perform at the Christmas lights event.

Broad Street will be closed for the afternoon to allow the singers to take centre stage, along with other festive entertainers.

The build up starts at 5.30pm and the lights will go on at 6pm.

Late night shopping, street entertainers and music will continue past 8pm.



Market stalls and pop-up shops will set up in the Fromus Square, Saxmundham from 10am, ready for a day of festive fun.

At 3pm, the best dressed Christmas tree will be revealed and carols will be sung at St Johns Church, in Church Street, Saxmundham.

A lantern procession will begin at 3.30pm and will end in Fromus Square at 4pm as the light are switched on.

New lights have been provided by the town council this year as well as three trees.

Carol singing will round off the night - with mulled wine available for revellers.



Christmas for Ewe

The Christmas lights switch-on itself will be on Sunday, December 6, and is named Christmas for Ewe after Hadleigh’s successful Year of the Sheep celebration.

Performing the switch-on will be children’s favourite Shaun the Sheep and there will also be appearances from the cast of Disney’s Frozen to keep the children entertained.

Shops will be open 3pm to 6pm on the day.



The grand plan is for the green by the moot Hall to be transformed into a winter wonderland, with food stalls, mulled wine and cider, Santa’s grotto and children’s entertainment.

Entertainment will run from 1pm, Santa will drop by at 2pm and the lights will go on at 4.30pm.

The night will end on a high with fireworks being set off at 5.30pm.

If we have missed any events, email us details

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