Where to see Christmas lights switch-ons in 2019, around Suffolk and north Essex
- Credit: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY
Light up your life this festive season! Here are some of the places where Christmas light switch-ons will be taking place in 2019.
Ipswich Christmas lights switch-on, Thursday, November 21, 4.30-7pm
This year's big switch-on will take place at the Cornhill, with an evening of entertainment and panto antics. Singer Jade Mayjean of The Voice fame will perform on stage, with a mix of original tracks from her album and classic fun Christmas tunes, and cast members will give a sneak preview of The Regent's Christmas pantomime, Cinderella.
Hudson Group will be giving away bags of reindeer food and collecting for charity, and children will be able to have selfies taken in front of Santa's sleigh. The event will also mark the start of the town's late-night shopping on Thursdays until Christmas. Organisers say there is limited capacity and gates will be shut when the limit is reached, so it is advisable to get there early. A special area in front of the Town Hall steps will be set aside for wheelchair users and people with mobility needs.
Bury St Edmunds Christmas lights switch-on, Thursday, November 14, 3-8pm
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The official switch-on is at 7pm, but there is lots of entertainment before that, with more than 40 charity stalls, fairground rides, hot food and drinks stalls. The event is being held in the Buttermarket/Cornhill. Schools will be performing on stage from 3.15pm, and the Suffolk Male Voice Choir will also be taking part, with a magician and balloon modeller and the Snow Queen adding to the fun. Entry is free and there will be free parking after 4pm.
Braintree lights switch-on, Saturday, November 16, 12 noon to 6pm
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Visitors will find DJs from Radio Essex and special guests hosting this switch-on, which includes festive family fun entertainment and performances from local upcoming singers, school choirs and a dance group.
There will also be the first Christmas street market of the year, with more than 100 stalls across the whole town centre selling festive food and drink as well as crafts and homeware.
Free face painting will also be available for children and a 1920s-themed pop-up bar
Chelmsford lights switch on, Sunday, November 17, 12 noon to 6pm
Instead of a celebrity, the lights are being switched on this year by four inspiring local residents who won the honour in a local awards scheme. There will be a main stage outside Shire Hall, and many other events around the city, including live music, winter cocktails and a visit by Santa and his sleigh. The lights switch-on will take place at 5pm, followed by a firework display which will be visible across the city centre.
Felixstowe Christmas craft market and lighting-up day, Saturday, November 30, 10am-6pm
The switching-on celebrations will last all day in Felixstowe, with a traditional craft market running from 10am in Hamilton Road, and Lions Club food and charity stalls at the Triangle, along with Santa's grotto. There will also be carol singing and live entertainment during the afternoon. A children's candlelight parade will start from the Orwell Hotel at 4.30pm, and the mayor will switch on the lights at 5pm.
Stowmarket Christmas lights switch-on, Friday, November 22, 3-8pm
The town's traditional switch-on will take place on the same day as the annual Christmas market, with festive decorations, merchandise, food and gifts on sale. There will also be live entertainment and events happening across the town centre.
Festive Long Melford event, Saturday, November 23, 11-4.30pm
The village is organising a special afternoon with performances by the Long Melford and Boxted Silver Bands, the Green Dragon Morris, Pop Chorus singers and more. Visitors will can also see vintage steam engines, and there will be Punch and Judy shows and Santa in his grotto. The Christmas tree light witch-on will be at 4.30pm on the Little Green.
Southwold Christmas lights, Saturday, November 30
The Southwold switch-on is always a magical occasion, with around 7,000 people gathering each year, and has just been chosen by a national newspaper as one of the top 15 Christmas lights events in the UK. This year's event will include Christmas market stalls, mulled wine and community carols, led by councillors from the balcony at the Swan Hotel.
Sudbury Christmas fair and light switch-on, Friday, November 29, 5-9pm
An evening of festive entertainment in Sudbury will include performers, live music, funfair rides and games, food and craft stalls. Mulled wine and mince pies will be available, and youngsters will be able to visit Santa's Grotto. The official switch-on will take place at 6.30pm. The event will also include the switching-on of the Sudbury Memory Tree, in the Old Market Place, at 6pm. This is a special tree put up by Sudbury Town Council and St Nicholas Hospice Care, offering a chance to display decorations in memory of someone you have lost.
Beccles Christmas light switch on, Friday, November 29, 5.30-9pm
This always popular event will include acts on stage and a range of stalls and entertainment around the town. There will also be a Christmas tree trail, where people follow a map around the town finding letters on trees to spell out a mystery phrase.
Clare lights switch-on, Saturday, November 30, 6pm
The village of Clare is holding its Christmas fair on both Friday and Saturday, with the lights switch-on taking place at 6pm on Saturday, on Market Hill. The fair will be open from 5-8pm on Friday, November 29, and 10am-7pm on Saturday, with many stalls and family entertainment, including visits by Father Christmas. Festivities will be taking place at St Peter and St Paul's Church, the community centre and the Cock Inn, which is putting on a beer festival and barbecue.
Colchester Christmas light switch-on, Sunday, December 1, 2.30-5.30pm
There will be festive entertainment in the High Street from 2.30pm onwards, with bands, choirs and street performances all contributing to a carnival atmosphere. Santa will join the mayor on a stage in front of the town hall for the big switch-on. From 11am onwards, there will also be festival performances in Culver Square, including Colchester Citadel Salvation Army, Colchester Military Wives, and the Rock Choir. Frozen fans have a treat in store, as special guests Elsa and Anna will be in the centre to meet shoppers, before they switch on the lights and fill the square with snow at 5pm.
Aldeburgh Christmas lights, Saturday, December 7
After there was no community event to launch the town's Christmas lights last year, the event is returning this year. Organisers are promising a day of Dickensian festivities and Victorian-themed family events around the town.