Derby’s Christmas Lights Switch On will usher in the festive season

Thu 23 Nov 2023

Join us in Derby on Sat 2 Dec, as the city is lit up for the festive season. The official launch of Festive Derby will bring a fun-packed programme of events to the city centre.

From 4pm you can enjoy free live music from local acts and family entertainment ahead of the Christmas Lights Switch On, which takes place at 5:30pm, in partnership with Smooth Radio.

But you don’t have to wait until then – from 11am you can be one of the first to hit the ice on the Cathedral Quarter Ice Rink 2023 (booking required, as spaces are limited on this date) and catch the cheeky elves, grumpy Grinch, Gingerbread Men, and the Ice King and Queen on their walkabouts across St Peter's Quarter and the Cathedral Quarter. And don't forget to step into the giant snow globes for a festive photo with your friends. There will be lots of tasty treats to indulge in, including German sausage, donuts and crepes, plus fairground rides for the children.

An exciting stage show, presented by Smooth Radio’s breakfast show presenter Gareth Evans and Emma Caldwell, kicks off at 4pm. Situated in Corporation Street, outside the Council House, the unmissable action starts with a performance by the talented students of Sinfin-based Tiptoe School of Performing Arts.

Singer songwriter Karolina, in partnership with Derby CAN, and local party band Cassette Roulette will be providing the music, while the dragons and dancers from Surtal Arts will also take to the stage following Derby Lantern Parade.  And don’t miss Santa, who will be making an appearance to help with the big moment!

The Lantern Parade, which is the climax of Surtal Arts’ Season of Light, will start from St Peter’s Church at 4pm. The dazzling spectacle will see families, children and young people from schools and the community unite to light up the night with vibrant lanterns as they parade through the city streets.

They will be joined in the parade by Chinese dragon performers, Bollywood dancers as well as the mighty Dhol drumming sounds of Dhol Frequency and rhythms of African drummers by Montserrat Masqueraders who will weave their way to the Lights Switch On.

Councillor Nadine Peatfield, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for City Centre, Regeneration, Culture and Tourism, said:

There’s so much going on in Derby this December and we can’t wait to welcome everyone into the city to enjoy the festive magic. 

The Christmas Lights Switch on and Community Lantern Parade promises to be a fantastic free event for all ages, so come along and join the fun!

The programme of events can be found on the Derby LIVE website. The stage show will also be attended by a BSL interpreter. Don’t forget to let us know you’re coming on the Facebook event page where we will also be posting updates.

This year Festive Derby is bigger than ever and features events and attractions brought to you by Derby City Council, The Cathedral Quarter BID, St Peter’s Quarter BID and a range of other city partners.

The Cathedral Quarter Ice Rink returns, alongside three new Festive Tipis on the Market Place, featuring a cosy Nordic Bar and roaring fire pit and entertainment. Keep little ones entertained with Family Festivities at Markeaton Park, the Christmas Elf Trail, snow globes and the free Nordic Express,.

Plus there will be a host of other shows, events and entertainment for all ages, including Naughty Meg and the Christmas Elves at Derby Museum and Art Gallery on the Wardwick and the spectacular panto Mother Goose at Derby Arena. You can also make sure your letter gets to Santa as the UK’s largest post box arrives in Derby! Find it at The Spot.

Add on fantastic festive shopping and a wealth of places to eat and drink and you’ve got the recipe for the perfect Christmas experience. Find out everything that the city has to offer on the Festive Derby website.

Please note: The Cathedral Quarter Ice Rink will be closed to the general public from 4pm until 7pm on 2 Dec.