Here’s everything you need to know about York’s biggest ever Christmas lights switch-on

St Helen's Square ready to gleam again. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
15 Nov 2017 @ 8.10 pm
| Entertainment

More than nine miles of lights, 160,000 bulbs… This looks set to be York’s sparkliest Christmas ever.

And our first chance to see the city lit up like never before is on Thursday evening (November 16). That’s when the switch will be flicked and the illuminations will spark into life.

So what’s happening and when? We’re glad you asked…

The timings

Singing up a storm in front of the Parliament Street tree last year

As always, the main show for York’s festive first night is in St Helen’s Square.

BBC Look North presenter Clare Frisby will join the Lord Mayor of York Cllr Barbara Boyce, and panto stars Berwick Kaler and Martin Barrass, on stage for the countdown.

Approximate timings are…

    5.45pm On stage, Minster FM breakfast presenters Ben and Ellie welcome everyone and get the party started with some games
    6.00pm Lucy’s Pop Choir sing Christmas songs
    6.20pm Brass Band plays
    6.40pm Ben and Ellie build up to special guests
    6.45pm BBC Look North Presenter Clare Frisby and panto guests take to the stage
    6.55pm Practice countdown x 2, then actual countdown to lights switch on

What else to look out for

York’s Parliament Street tree with Shambles Market behind

There are lots of extra lights to discover this year. Head over to Lendal and Ouse bridges to see them lit up for the first time.

New attraction Christmas In Museum Gardens opens at 4.45pm. The park “will be transformed into a magical after-dark experience filled with colour, music and the biggest display of lighting and special effects York has ever seen”

They advise visitors to book in advance. Tickets are £14.95 for adults and £8.95 for children. The attraction runs until January 1.

And of course the St Nicholas Fair will be open, selling all kinds of gifts and goodies. And that means Thor’s Tipi is ready to serve up some refreshments for festive shoppers.

It will be open every day until 6pm and until 8pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday up until December 22.

And the food court in Shambles Market will also be opening late on these nights, offering delicious street food and drink.