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Market square transformed into food village for lights' switch-on

Published on Monday, November 19, 2018

Gravy Train food

LEICESTER’s new market square will be transformed into a food village for the city’s Christmas lights’ switch-on event this Thursday (November 22).

Canteen will be taking over the square from midday until 10.30pm to dish up lunch, dinner, cocktails, mulled wine and lots of street food favourites during the build up to, and after, the big switch-on.

Alongside the food traders there’ll be a drinks zone with cocktails, a cider and mulled wine bar, and gin bar. Visitors can expect fun, music and entertainment as well as amazing food.

Traders will include:

The Gravy Train, bringing a festive twist to their poutines (French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy - pictured)

Smoqued, with their Mexican inspired BBQ, tacos and more

Biddulphs Pizzeria. Enjoy the aromas from their Italian wood-fired pizza ovens – fresh pizza with a festive twist

Urban Cheesecake, with a festive treat!

Bournville Waffle Co and their amazing fresh artisan waffles with sweet toppings

Visitors heading in to see the lights can enjoy entertainment on the Humberstone Gate stage from 5pm on Thursday.

There’ll be a performance by local dance group Studio 79, music from the Simpletones, and a classic Christmas song from Peter Pan star Sam Bailey, before Lord Mayor Cllr Ross Grant starts the build-up to the big countdown.

The big switch-on takes place at 6.20pm – and this year it will be broadcast live on ITV News Central so thousands of people across the region can share in the fun.

Visitors can also visit Town Hall Square and be enchanted by this year’s Alice In Wonderland Christmas display. The traditional nativity scene will be there, and there’ll be Christmas carols and a brass band performance to put everyone in the festive mood.

The new market square is located right next to Leicester’s covered outdoor market, which will start to close around 4pm, and the stunning indoor food hall, which will be open until 5pm.

More information about the Christmas lights switch-on and what’s on in Leicester over the festive season is available at



Christmas Canteen, New Market Square

Award-winning street food with a festive flavour – and live entertainment!

From 12 noon until 10.30pm


Christmas Lights Switch-On, Humberstone Gate

A packed evening of events, with live music, entertainment and special guests, including star of Peter Pan, Sam Bailey

5pm-8pm (lights switch-on at 6.20pm)


Festive street entertainers. City centre locations: 5pm-8pm

Look out for the Winter Fairy, some crazy Winter Wonderland Birds and the colourful Light Belles


Traditional nativity scene and Alice in Wonderland, Town Hall Square

See the story of Christmas and an animated tableau scene under the festive lights in Leicester’s historic Town Hall Square, with carols and a brass band on switch-on night.


Christmas at Highcross

Look out for dancing snowflakes, Russian princesses, giant swans, a winter dragon and an animatronic reindeer in St Peter's Square and inside Highcross from 5pm-9pm


The Wheel of Light, Jubilee Square

Enjoy a bird’s eye view of Leicester’s Christmas lights from our 110-ft ferris wheel.

From 12 noon daily (closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) until 7 January

12 noon-8pm Mon-Thurs; 12 noon-10pm Fri-Sun.


Rudolph and Father Christmas: city centre

Say hello to Rudolph and his friends from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue


Christmas gift ideas at Visit Leicester: Book your tickets for Leicester’s real ice rink (in Jubilee Square from 6 December). Choose from a wide range of Leicester-themed gifts, including gorgeous hand-painted baubles and Christmas cards.

Open until 8pm on Thursday 22 November.


Other Christmas events in Leicester 2018

From 23 November: Funfair, Humberstone Gate

Family-friendly fairground rides in the heart of the city centre until 6 January


From 6 December: Christmas Ice Rink, Jubilee Square

Skate on our spectacular real ice rink, whatever the weather!

Tickets from, Visit Leicester on Gallowtree Gate and the Jubilee Square box office.

From 11am daily (closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) until 6 January


From 8 December: Santa in the Square, New Market Square

Visit Santa in his snow-covered grotto, every day until 23 December. Free admission – and free small gift for every child.

Monday-Friday: 1pm-6pm; Saturday: 10am-6pm; Sunday: 11am-4pm


From 13 December: Christmas in the Gardens, Cathedral Gardens

Add your own face to LightWeight – a unique interactive illuminated sphere – or just soak up the festive atmosphere in the beautifully lit gardens. Brought to you by BID Leicester and St Martins House every day until 22 December.

Daily from 5pm – 10pm


16 December: Art at Christmas, Leicester Market

Find the perfect original gift created by local artists at our special Christmas market



Now open: The Jägerhaus. St Peter’s Square, Highcross

Enjoy the finest festive food and drink at Leicester’s German-themed outside bar.

Open daily from 10am-9pm until 24 December


Christmas shows in Leicester include:

  • 6 December – 13 January: White Christmas. Curve
  • 8-10 December: High Spirits! The Guildhall
  • 13 December – 6 January: Treasure Island. Leicester Haymarket Theatre
  • 14 December – 6 January: Mother Goose. Little Theatre
  • 15 December – 6 January: Peter Pan. De Montfort Hall
  • 22 December – Cinderella. Y Theatre