It’s the big Christmas switch-on tonight! Here’s what’s happening when

14 Nov 2019 @ 8.16 am
| Entertainment

No more sleeps till the switch on!

York’s Christmas lights will be turned on this evening (Thursday, 14 November) – with special guests joining the fun in a new location.

Here’s what you need to know in a nutshell.

There are no upcoming events at this time.


This year the switch on has moved, from St Helen’s Square to Duncombe Place – the magnificent backdrop of York Minster’s West Front will be lit up for the event


The fun starts on stage at 6pm. The lights go on at 7pm

Special guests

Special guests this year include England footballer Lucy Staniforth, the stars of the York Theatre Royal panto Sleeping Beauty including Martin Barrass and Susie Cooper, plus of course Father Christmas, courtesy of Castle Howard.


The fun will be hosted by town crier Ben Fry and Laura Castle from Minster FM, and BBC Radio York’s Georgey Spanswick.


Before the switch-on Lucy’s Pop Choir will perform, with the Shepherd Group Junior Band ready to play an array of festive tunes.

Lights, shops, drinks

Flashback to the switch-on 2018. Photograph: YorkMix
Lights and projections will adorn the Minster tonight, with plans to use the lights periodically in the run-up to Christmas when there are not services or events taking place inside.

Tonight also marks the start of St Nicholas Fair – with decorated chalets spread across Parliament Street and down into the Coppergate Centre.

Yorkshire Yuletide Village will open in Shambles Market and the festive merry-go-round is in King’s Square – running until 22nd December.

And Thor’s Tipi in Parliament Street has already opened. The Viking inspired pop-up bar be open from 10am to 11pm daily from 13 November 2019 through to 1st January 2020, excluding Christmas Day.

The switch-on is jointly organised by Make It York and York BID (Business Improvement District).

York BID, which organises York’s annual display of Christmas lights throughout the city centre has commissioned even more lights for Duncombe Place, including sympathetic lighting that will highlight well known landmarks such as the Boer War Memorial, St Michael Le Belfry and the Minster.