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Peterborough’s about to kick off the festive season in style as the Christmas lights are switched on in both the city centre and Queensgate shopping centre.

Both switch-ons happen this Saturday November 18 and will mark the start of the big build up to all the festivities.


The big city centre switch-on will take place at 5pm with Father Christmas, the Mayor, and the Leader of the Council, Councillor John Holdich, pressing the button, followed by more fun in the shopping centre with the Queensgate lights going at 6pm.

There’s a packed programme of entertainment for all the family with the city council’s celebrations starting at 1pm at the historic Guild Hall on Cathedral Square.

The schedule looks like this (times and acts are subject to change)…

1pm: Welcome and start.

1.10pm – 2pm: Josh Lovatt Heart FM DJ set.

2pm – 2.20pm: JC Salsa Christmas salsa performances.

2.25pm – 3.05pm: Tom Korni .The “One Boyband” performs well known songs all on his own, playing his own instruments and drums himself.

3.15pm – 3.40pm: Idolising Nova group from Peterborough performing Christmas covers.

3.50pm – 4.10pm: Peterborough Voices Women’s choir performing Christmas songs.

4.10pm – 4.25pm: The Key Theatre and Broadway Theatre promoting Sleeping Beauty and singing songs from the play.

4:30pm – 4.50pm: TickinBoxes. Six-piece band from Peterborough, performing original rock and rock covers and Christmas songs.

4.50pm – 4.55pm: Santa Stroll. Santa and his friends on stage to promote the Santa Stroll.

4.55pm – 5pm – Final switch-on countdown.

5pm – Lights on!

5.05pm – 6pm: Josh Lovatt DJ Christmas set.

6pm – Event closes.

Proceedings will then move to Queensgate for the centre’s own switch-on. Starting at 5.30pm, crowds can expect plenty of entertainment including the official opening of Father Christmas’ grotto in North Square at 6pm.


Straight after the lights go on, head over into Queensgate for more lots more fun and entertainment with Heart FM and Santa plus the chance to win a dream trip to Lapland!

Thanks to Thomas Cook, one person will win a family trip to Lapland to visit Santa and his helpers on Friday December 15 this year. This magical daytrip for four people includes, flights to the North Pole (Finland), meet Santa Claus (each child aged 2-12yrs receives a gift), meet Rudolph and friends and ride in their sleighs, husky sled ride, join the mystical Shaman for the Ceremony of Crossing the Arctic Circle, explore the enchanting Santa’s Village, playtime in the snow, and lunch with drinks.

If you like the sound of this and you’re free to travel on Friday December 15, get yourself to Queensgate’s North Square, outside John Lewis, from 5.15pm for your chance to enter. Someone MUST win plus there are more prizes up for grabs too.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without the big man himself. On this day, Santa’s grotto opens in Queensgate’s Central Square and he begins making his list from all the good boys and girls.

The grotto opening times are:

Saturday 18th November – Sunday 3rd December

Mon- Fri 11am- 5pm

Saturday 10am- 6pm

Sunday 10.30am- 4.30pm

From Monday 4th December- 24th December

Mon- Fri 10am-6pm

Saturday 10am-6pm

Sunday 10.30am-4.30pm

(Santa will be away from his grotto daily from 1pm-1.30pm to feed his reindeer, please note this time may vary slightly from day to day depending on queues).

Photos: Emma Bothamley and Chris Brudenell for ESP Magazine


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