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Leicester gets ready to light up for Christmas

Published on Friday, October 19, 2018

Christmas lights

THE MAMMOTH task of installing the twinkling lights and colourful garlands that will decorate Leicester city centre this Christmas gets under way this weekend.

On Sunday (21 October), contractors working for the city council will start putting up the decorations that cross the city’s main shopping streets and checking the 16,000 lamps that will light up Leicester in the run-up to Christmas.

This year – as in the previous three years – the council has spent an extra £50,000 updating the city’s stock of decorations and replacing worn-out fixtures and fittings.

The extra funding means there will be a brand new look for Church Gate and Loseby Lane this year – and, for the first time, there will be decorations on St Martins and Hotel Street.

All four of the streets will be dressed with new decorative spans featuring white LED bulbs – tying in with the city’s 2018 theme of ‘White Christmas’.

In the new market square, a 5m-tall Christmas tree will provide a festive focal point, illuminated garlands will be strung between the square’s lamp-columns, and the four trees in the square will be lit up with pea-lights to create a festive atmosphere in the new space.

The trees in Jubilee Square will also be lit up to create a sparkling backdrop for the Wheel of Light – the big wheel that will be back in the square for the Christmas period – and the spectacular real ice rink that will open to the public on Thursday 6 December.

At the Clock Tower, a giant Christmas tree – a 14m Sitka spruce – will be carefully lowered into place and covered with ‘snow’, while the city’s traditional nativity scene and a tableau depicting the adventures of Alice in Wonderland will be installed in Town Hall Square.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “Our lighting team and contractors are working hard to make sure that Leicester looks magical this Christmas and that everything’s ready for the big switch-on on 22 November.”

Contractors working for the council will be installing the decorations early in the morning and at weekends to minimise inconvenience to road users. Work will take around four weeks to complete.

Leicester’s Christmas lights will be switched on as part of a packed evening of entertainment that starts at 5pm on Thursday 22 November. For the first time, the switch-on will be shown live on TV and broadcast during ITV Central's flagship 6pm news programme.

Full details of all the events taking place in Leicester this Christmas will be in a free guide – available from 12 November – and at

Tickets for Leicester’s Christmas ice rink – which is 50% bigger than the 2017 rink – are on sale now at