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Plymouth Puts Sparkle into the Holiday Season

Plymouth is preparing to put the sparkle into the Holiday Season with a spectacular programme of Christmas treats for all the family. 

Kicking off the festive fun later this month (November) are the traditional Christmas Lights switch-on ceremonies. The city centre will be illuminated first on Thursday November 17, with the Christmas cheer spreading to the Barbican, Sutton Harbour and Waterfront two days later when they light up on Saturday November 19. 

Both events will bring the magical spirit of Christmas to Britain’s Ocean City with free, family-friendly entertainment and activities – and spell the start of the festive shopping rush. 

Steve Hughes, Chief Executive of Plymouth City Centre Company, said: “Our Christmas lights are always amazing and a real joy for everyone coming into the city centre.  We know this is a tough time for everyone in the country but we want to encourage people to shop locally, whatever their spending power, and to really enjoy all that Plymouth has to offer this festive season. 

“We hope they’ll come into the city centre, enjoy the lights and the whole festive experience, browse round our fantastic shops and maybe pop in for drinks or something to eat at one of our many fantastic cafes, bars and restaurants. Every pound spent locally makes a big difference, helping to put money back into the local economy.”  

The excitement starts from 4pm on Thursday November 17 in The Piazza with live music, Christmas carols and popular festive songs from local groups and choirs. Then the lights, supported by Morgan Sindall Construction, bring shimmer and shine to the city centre in the big switch-on between 6pm and 6.30pm. 

The Barbican Christmas Lights switch-on event, sponsored by PL1 Events, will feature free activities and entertainment from 12pm to 6pm on Saturday November 19. Children can visit Santa in his grotto and give him a wave as he travels across the water on the RNLI boat. Local choirs and dance groups will bring festive joy as they perform on The Parade and Southside Street. There will be Christmas-themed street performers entertaining the crowds, plus storytelling, rides to have a go on and stalls selling delicious Christmas treats and gifts. 

Revellers should also look out for festive bus on Southside Street, which will host the special guests switching on the Christmas lights at approximately 5.30pm. They will include the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor Sue Dann and Plymouth’s local unsung Community Hero for 2022, someone who has gone above and beyond to support the community.  

Jon Walton, Chief Executive of Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, said: “The Barbican and waterfront offer a unique environment for a wonderful, atmospheric and completely unique Christmas experience. 

“We have added to the entertainment programme for this year’s event, sponsored by PL1 Events, and provided some market stalls to add yet even more choice. We are partnering with the RNLI, who will be taking Santa on a full waterfront trip on their lifeboat and finishing on the Barbican. This will provide all customers with a real maritime-themed and exciting Christmas lights switch-on event. Santa will also be going on a  tour in his bus from 6pm, so please give him a wave as he passes through our wonderful waterfront from the Hoe to Bretonside via West Hoe and Royal William Yard! 

“We believe our huge mix of traders offer something completely different and complement those of the city centre, so why go anywhere else than Plymouth? A very happy Christmas to all of our customers, we all hope you have a fabulous time.” 

From Thursday December 1 to Sunday December 18, Plymouth’s shopping experience is boosted event further by a Christmas Market including over 50 log cabins – a real favourite for locals and visitors alike – in Armada Way selling a range of alternative gift ideas. A giant illuminated bauble arch and the ‘wave arch’ stand at each of the Market entrances for festive family selfie opportunities. The Market is open from 10am until 6pm Monday to Saturday and until 5pm on Sunday. Throughout the city many of the shops and outlets open their doors until 9pm on Thursdays too to let shoppers browse late.  

And to add to the free family fun, from Saturday November 19 to Tuesday January 3 the mischievous Christmas Ocean Elves will make their way into twelve cafes and shops across Britain’s Ocean City’s waterfront…Try and spot them hiding amongst the beautiful festive window displays or inside, causing chaos! Track them down with the help of the list of locations which can be found on the dedicated VisitPlymouth website page and enjoy a Christmas adventure in Plymouth. 

Plymouth is once again proving to be  a delightful place to enjoy all the fun Christmas brings, a city of culture, light and entertainment, offering traditional pantos and new shows, street food and an array of bars and restaurants to choose from! 

For more information about Christmas events in Plymouth visit https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/christmas-in-plymouth 


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