York Christmas lights switch on 2016 – what’s happening where

The tree lit up in St Helen's Square. Photograph © visityork.org
8 Nov 2016 @ 6.59 pm
| Entertainment

With Halloween and Bonfire Night behind us, there’s no stopping the rush towards Christmas.

And that means our nights being lit up by twinkly lights in different parts of the city.

Here’s where and when the big switch-ons are taking place. If we’ve missed any, drop us a line or put the details in the comments below.

You can read a full low-down on York’s plans for Christmas 2016 here.

Coppergate Centre

The Coppergate tree from Christmas 2015
The Coppergate tree from Christmas 2015

Fri Nov 11 @ 6pm-7pm

More details

The star-studded cast of Aladdin will perform the first festive switch-on of the season.

Paul Sinha, Debbie McGee, Carl Tracey and Stuart Wade from the Grand Opera House panto will assemble in Parliament Street at 5.50pm before parading into the Coppergate Centre with Chinese Dragons, a baby Elephant and much more.

Hosted by BBC Radio York’s Adam Wallace and Adam Tomlinson, the evening will also see prizes up for grabs, including a night at the York Marriott Hotel and Tesco Christmas hampers. There will be nibbles and soft drinks available for all and free samples from The Whisky Shop, Patisserie Valerie, Bagel Nash and more.

The Christmas Lights will be switched on at 6.20pm, followed by festive music from the Dynamics Community Band until 7pm.

St Helen’s Square

The tree lit up in St Helen's Square in 2015
The tree lit up in St Helen’s Square in 2015

Thurs Nov 17 @ 6pm-6.30pm

More details

Christmas comes to the heart of York as the St Helen’s Square tree is lit up for all.

The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress are joined by characters from Cinderella, this year’s York Theatre Royal panto, to do the switch-on.

They will together lead the traditional countdown to illuminating the St Leonard’s Hospice ‘Light up a Life’ Christmas Tree and Christmas lights around the square.

Music is provided by the Shepherd Group’s brass band and local choirs. Here’s the official timetable:

  • From 6pm: The Shepherd Group Brass Band will play Christmas carols and favourite Christmas music in St Helen’s Square
  • 6.10pm: The Lord Mayor and pantomime characters will be briefly interviewed by BBC Radio York’s Breakfast presenter, Georgey Spanswick, and will start the public countdown
  • 6.15pm/6.20pm: The St Leonard’s Hospice Christmas tree lights will be officially switched on. The Brass Band continues playing and local choirs will sing.

This is now the official ‘Festive First Night’ as it sees the opening of St Nicholas Fair and the York Christmas Festival which runs right through till December 23.

Bishopthorpe Road

Bishy Road at Christmas 2015. Photograph: Bishy Road on Facebook / Tim Moore
Bishy Road at Christmas 2015. Photograph: Bishy Road on Facebook / Tim Moore

Fri Nov 18 @ 4.30pm

More details

They like a party at Great Britain’s high street of the year. And this year the Christmas knees-up starts on November 18 when the lights go on.

Judging by previous years, expect Santa to drop in, live music and street food. And this is part of Bishy Road’s three-day Festive Trail, fun for all ages.