Let there be Christmas lights

It’ll begin to look a lot like Christmas in some of our towns and cities soon, with several Christmas lights switch-on events happening in the next couple of weeks. The switch-on events have become a spectacle in themselves in recent years, with musical performances, fireworks and a former soap star all on the bill at events across the county.

We’ve scoured the web and put together a round-up of some of the switch-on events that are coming up in November and December as well as links to where you can find more information about each of them.

Merry Christmas one and all! Too soon? Yep, too soon…

Holt – Wednesday 21 November (from 5.30pm)

Olympic torchbearer and First Responder Harry Heathfield will be switching on the lights at 6.45pm and will also lead the Christmas Procession with stilt walker Gentleman Jim, leaving the Community Centre at 5.30pm.

The event is being hosted by North Norfolk Radio and will feature performances from the Holt barber shop choir and the Bauble Trail, a hunt for 13 baubles around Holt for the chance to win a prize (for the chance to enter the Bauble Trail, and get a few clues, look here).

Norwich – Thursday 22 November (6.15-7.15pm)

Paralympic archery silver medallist Mel Clarke, from Taverham, will be switching on the city’s Christmas lights at 7pm at City Hall.

The Christmas lights in Jarrold Store in Norwich are always striking. Credit: Gerry Balding.

David Webster from BBC Radio Norfolk will compere the evening’s entertainment from 6.15-7.15pm and will be joined by the Chermond Gymnastics Club, Norwich Ukulele Society, Demi Semitone and Swank’s Frolicking Fairies. Activities include a giant snowball throw, carols and a Christmas blessing from Reverend Janet Wyer.

Hellesdon and Sprowston Brass Band will be performing at a bandstand in Chapelfield Gardens and there will be a snow machine and a lantern procession taking place around Norwich. There’ll also be some road closures in place around the city centre between 4 and 8pm.

Gorleston – Sunday 25 November (1-4.30pm)

Gorleston’s Christmas Extravaganza concludes with Toni Warne from BBC talent show The Voice flicking the switch at 4.30pm next to the Feathers pub on the High Street.

Activities start at 1pm and include live music and children performing from the DPA Performing Arts Academy, The Dragon School of Arts and Fay Bedford Stage School.

Great Yarmouth – Wednesday 28 November (6.30-8.30pm)

Great Yarmouth Market Place plays host to the Christmas light switch-on and rooftop firework display at 7pm, with the Mayor of Great Yarmouth and special guests in attendance.

The event will be hosted on the Heart FM soundstage by breakfast show presenters Rob and Chrissie with live music from 6.30pm and shops staying open until the later time of 8.30pm.

King’s Lynn – Thursday 29 November (5-9pm)

KLFM breakfast show host Adam Newstead presents at the Tuesday Market Place, with former Eastenders star Todd Carty and other cast members of this year’s Aladdin pantomime performance at the Corn Exchange in attendance.

Lights will be turned on between 7.30-7.45pm with the event also signalling the start of late-night Christmas shopping in King’s Lynn, up until 9pm on the day. Funfair rides will provide entertainment between 6.30 and 8.30pm. The Duke’s Head and Prezzo sides of the Tuesday Market Place in the town will be closed between 4 and 9pm.

Thetford – Friday 30 November (4.30-8pm)

The ceremony starts at King’s House on King’s Street and coincides with the town’s annual Christmas Night Market which runs from 4-8:30pm and will feature food (including beef from the Royal Estate at Sandringham no less!), stalls, arts and crafts, street entertainment and local music. Illuminations will be turned on at 6pm.

Cromer – Friday 30 November (1-6.45pm)

Church Street in Cromer lit up last year. Credit: John Digby

Cromer’s big switch-on will be done by local schoolgirl and Olympic torchbearer Natasha Smith and four poster design winners from local schools. Accompanying the appearance of the illuminations will be a Salvation Army band, gospel choir and market stalls and entertainment, beginning at 1pm and running throughout the afternoon and evening.

Those interested in donating money towards the switch-on can enter the raffle or visit the Morrisons in Cromer on Saturday 24 November where volunteers are collecting.

Diss – Saturday 1 December (4-7pm)

Those used to the Diss lights switch-on usually being on a week night ought to note that this year’s takes place on a Saturday, after the organisers listened to feedback from parents who didn’t want their children to stay up late on a school night.

Hosted by Park Radio, it’s all happening on Mere Street, with two live bands and a procession from Santa through Mere Street all the way to his Grotto in the Market Place. Stalls will be offering food and a celebrity will be along to turn on the lights at 6pm, but their identity is remaining a tightly kept secret for now.

For information on more Norfolk switch-ons and similar Christmas events that are coming up, check out the EDP’s interactive map. If there are any switch-on events that we’ve missed off, it’s not deliberate – please put any information or links in the comments section below.


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