Two of York’s bridges will be lit up this winter as the city stages its brightest ever Christmas.

Building on the huge success of the illumination of York’s four historic bars last winter, both Lendal and Ouse Bridges will sparkle this year too.

Just like Micklegate, Bootham, Monkbar and Walmgate Bars, the bridges will be covered in white and warm white lights. Elsewhere, trees, buildings and lamp columns will be decorated by the lights.

Altogether more than 160,000 LED lights will be twinkling across the city centre. The white lights on the bars and bridges will last all winter, running right through till February.

In addition one hundred 4ft Christmas trees – and 25 real trees – will be illuminated up till twelfth night.

Must-see display

The atmospheric scene at Bootham Bar last winter. Photograph: Make It York

York Business Improvement District (BID) and Make It York, the city’s destination management organisation, have joined forces on the lights.

“The winter months are a vital time of year for local businesses and the tourism industry,” said York BID director Andrew Lowson.

“York’s winter lights and new Christmas Lights are part of our commitment to enhancing the inviting atmosphere and will be a must see for residents and visitors alike.”

Gala Lights are in charge of the new illuminations. MD Christopher Stille said:

We designed York’s new lights to complement the important and historic nature of the city, whilst extending the display to areas previously unlit.

The display will illuminate many of York’s bridges, trees and buildings, as well as include decorations across streets and on lamp columns.

Countdown to Christmas

Flashback to last year’s festive switch on. Left to right: then Lord Mayor Cllr Dave Taylor, Lady Mayoress Susan Ridley, BBC Radio York breakfast show presenter Georgey Spanswick, and York Theatre Royal panto stars Hermione Lynch and AJ Powell

The traditional Christmas tree switch-on in St Helen’s Square will take place on Festive First Night, Thursday, November 16. The city’s winter lighting will be turned on at the same time.

York light facts

15km of lights

160,000 individual LED lights

llumination of bridges, lamp columns and buildings

100+ 4ft Christmas trees with lights

25+ real trees with lights

The Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Barbara Boyce, will be joined in St Helen’s Square by stars from Theatre Royal panto Jack and the Beanstalk, Berwick Kaler and Martin Barrass.

Together with BBC presenter Clare Frisby, they will lead the traditional countdown to illuminating the St Leonard’s Hospice ‘Light up a Life’ Christmas Tree and Christmas lights around the square, accompanied by the Lucy Mclean Choir.

Special atmosphere

The popular Thor’s Tipi will be part of St Nicholas Fair again. Photograph: YorkMix

Head of Visit York Sally Greenaway said: “York’s new lighting will create a really special atmosphere in the city.

“It will be wonderful to see York lit by thousands of tiny white lights.”

MD of Make It York Steve Brown said: Steve Brown, Managing Director, Make It York, said: “This is a really good example of Make It York and the BID joining together and pooling resources to create a much better Christmas experience for the city.”

Festive First night will mark the start of late night Christmas shopping as well as the ever popular York St Nicholas Fair, which will be open every day until 6pm – and until 8pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday – up until December 22.