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Plan your travel into Leicester for the big switch-on

Published on Wednesday, November 22, 2017

THE COUNTDOWN to Christmas begins tomorrow (Thursday 23 November) with the switch-on of Leicester’s glittering Christmas lights – and there are some great travel offers for those heading to the city centre to enjoy the event.

Extra Park & Ride services will be running from Meynell's Gorse, Enderby and Birstall for the big switch-on – and those parking their cars after 4pm will pay a special half-price fare of just £2 for return travel for a group of up to five people.

The service will be specially extended on switch-on night, with the last buses leaving the city centre at 9pm – giving people more time to enjoy the festive atmosphere before heading for home.

Those travelling to the switch-on by bus can make the most of some great offers on local bus services.

Families heading for the city centre on Arriva buses can benefit from the company’s ‘Kids Go Free’ promotion. The Arriva offer is valid for bus journeys within the ZoneOne area after 4.30pm tomorrow (Thursday 23 November) only.

First will also be making it easier for families or groups of friends to join the celebrations. Any group of five people travelling together – regardless of age – can do so for £5 on First buses after 4.30pm tomorrow (Thursday 23 November) only. The '5 for £5' fare is also valid for return journeys from the city centre.

Anyone driving into the city centre can park for free at the city council’s two multi-storey car parks after 6pm. Both Newarke Street and Haymarket car parks are waiving evening charges until 29 December to encourage people to enjoy the city centre’s festive atmosphere and late-night shopping opportunities.

More information about travelling into Leicester is available at

Full details of Christmas in Leicester can be found at and in a free Christmas guide that is widely available from city centre shops, bars and the Visit Leicester centre on Gallowtree Gate.



Christmas Market, new Market Square: 40 Alpine-style chalets selling gifts, crafts and food. Hot drinks and licensed bar.
Daily from 11am from Thursday 23 November until 23 December

Panto cast walkabout, Visit Leicester, Gallowtree Gate: 5pm-6pm.
Meet members of the Beauty & The Beast cast for autographs and selfies. Dick and Dom’s Richard McCourt, Heartbeat’s David Lonsdale and Radio Leicester’s Martin Ballard will be in full costume for the event.

• Christmas gift ideas at Visit Leicester: Book your tickets for Leicester’s real ice rink (in Jubilee Square from 9 December) or buy them as a Christmas gift. Choose from a wide range of Leicester-themed gifts, including gorgeous hand-painted baubles and Christmas cards. Open till 8pm on Thursday 23 November.

Christmas lights switch-on ceremony, Humberstone Gate West stage:
5pm-8pm (Lights switch-on at 6.30pm)

Please note: all timings are approximate and subject to change.

5pm-5.05pm            Welcome from BBC Radio Leicester’s Jo & Jonathan

5.05pm–5.25pm      Studio 79 dancers

5.30pm-5.50pm       Ska Amanga

5.55pm-6.15pm       Bullfrog Arts: Fostering Voices Choir and Taiko drums

6.20pm-6.25pm       Cast members from Beauty and the Beast

6.30pm-6.40pm       The Lord Mayor of Leicester, Cllr Rashmikant Joshi, switches on the Christmas lights

6.40pm-7.05pm       Nikki Pope

7.05pm-7.15pm       Jo & Jonathan

7.15pm-8pm            Paradimes

• Traditional Christmas in Town Hall Square:
Enjoy a family-friendly atmosphere in Town Hall Square, with a traditional nativity scene and a tableau scene featuring the Chronicles of Narnia.
5.30pm: Oh Happy Days – Children’s Choir

6.30pm: Wigston Enterprise Band

• Frostival, St Peter’s Square, Highcross: 5pm-9pm
A magical celebration of snow, ice and light, featuring Swan Lake ballerinas, a stilt-walking Ice Prince, winged ice dancers and a friendly Snow Lion

Wheel of Light, Jubilee Square: Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Christmas lights from the 110-ft ferris wheel

• Street entertainers, city centre locations: 4pm-8pm
Look out for the Snow Queen in her chariot, the stilt-walking Icicle Queens, Elsa from Frozen, and a 7ft tall Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia.

Rudolph and Father Christmas: say hello to Rudolph and his friends from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue.