Festive Derby’s packed Christmas programme is bigger and better than ever

Thu 10 Nov 2022

The countdown to the festive season has begun and Derby has everything you need to make it a Christmas to remember. From ice skating and live entertainment to tasty treats and seasonal shopping, Festive Derby has something for all the family.

Nothing says Christmas like a spin around an ice rink followed by a warming hot chocolate or mulled wine. Derby Market Place will this year see the return of the Cathedral Quarter Ice Rink - a great option for family festive fun, a get-together with friends or a work Christmas party with a difference. Get your groove on to tunes from the 80s, 90s and 00s or join in with our toddler, superhero or fancy dress sessions. The rink will also host Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve parties.

Brought to you by Derby City Council supported by Derby’s Cathedral Quarter BID, the ice rink will be open between Monday 5 and Saturday 31 December. Tickets are priced from £7 to £8.50, with concessions from £5 to £6.50. Discounts are available for group bookings.

Derby Market Place will also host a magical festive performance venue with shows for all the family. The Babbling Vagabonds are back and playing detective in The Christmas Toy Shop Mystery, a seasonal adventure filled with magic and cheer.

When her baby brother's beloved toy bear disappears into the mysterious Christmas Toy Shop, Lucy has no choice but to dust off her deerstalker hat, grab her mini magnifying glass and follow it. However, on the other side of the door is a wild turkey chase of epic proportions.

Join Lucy as she tries to unravel the mysteries, fish out the red herrings and find the clues so she can retrieve her bothersome brother's beloved bear. The family show is on from Friday 9 to Friday 30 December. Tickets are £14 or £11 for concessions.

Also back by popular demand are The Lost Boys, who bring a helping of heart-warming joy and a chunk of cheeky charm to their version of the classic tale A Christmas Carol. It’s Christmas Eve and Ebenezer Scrooge is relentlessly miserly, not even his exuberant Nephew Fred can brighten his mood. Perhaps a visit from several eccentric ghosts and a magical journey through time can alleviate his cold demeanour and maybe, just maybe, change his life forever.

Expect the trademark Lost Boys madcap sensibilities in a show jam-packed with gags, gaffs, deference, and irreverence. The show, which is suitable for children aged 7 and up, will be in the Market Place on Wednesday 21 December and Thursday 22 December. Tickets are £14 or £8 for concessions.

Derby Market Place will also host free entertainment on December weekends while our Festive Cabins, selling Christmas gifts along with a hot and cold drinks and tasty festive treats, will be open on Friday 9 to Sunday 11, Friday 16 to Sunday 18 and Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 December.

Smooth Radio are once supporting the Festive Derby offer and Derby Arena pantomime as our media partner.

Cllr Jonathan Smale, Derby City Council cabinet member for Finance, Digital and Culture, said:

"This year’s Festive Derby programme is bigger and better than ever and we can’t wait for everyone to enjoy what our vibrant city has to offer. From our Cathedral Quarter Ice Rink and exciting theatrical performances at Derby Market Place to free outdoor entertainment and festive food, drink and shopping, there is so much to get you in the Christmas spirit. With even more wonderful events and activities from our city partners, there really is something for everyone in Derby this festive season.”

Over at Derby Arena there will be more festive fun as this year’s pantomime spectacular Aladdin delights audiences from Friday 9 to Saturday 31 December. Over at Markeaton Park, the free Family Festivities event takes place on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December. It will feature live music, walkabout acts, stalls and festive food. Children will love the free Elf Trail around the park, with the chance to win a family ticket to Aladdin in our prize draw.

There will also be a huge range of activities and entertainment on offer courtesy of our city partners. The Cathedral Quarter BID’s free Santa’s Grotto will welcome children on Saturdays 3, 10 and 17 December, plus there will be free festive entertainment at The Waterfall and a giant Snow Globe in Market Place.

Other fantastic events include concerts and events at Derby Cathedral and St Werburgh’s Church, activities at Derby Museums, crafts with ArtCore and productions from Déda and Derby Theatre, plus much more!

While you’re out and about in Derby, don’t forget to look up and enjoy the Christmas lights in the city centre and Market Place, including our Christmas tree. Working in partnership, QUAD, Cathedral Quarter BID and Derby City Council will bring the city centre to life with festive light projections in Sadler Gate, Friar Gate, Market Place and Derby Cathedral to name a few.

Alongside all that, the city offers a wide choice of shopping and dining experiences, with independent stores, cafés and restaurants alongside national brands in the Cathedral Quarter, St Peter’s Quarter and Derbion.

For more information on Christmas in Derby visit the festive derby website.