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Scott Mills to start the countdown to Christmas in Leicester

Published on Monday, November 20, 2023

4 minute read

DJ and presenter Scott Mills will turn on Leicester's Christmas lights on 22 November

THE DJ and presenter Scott Mills will get the Christmas party started in Leicester this week as he turns on the city’s famous festive lights.

Scott will be joined on the Haymarket balcony by the Lord Mayor of Leicester to count down to the big switch-on from 6pm on Wednesday (22 November).

Leicester fan Scott, who’ll be appearing in De Montfort Hall’s panto this Christmas, said: “Leicester is fast becoming my second home so when I was asked to switch the lights on, how could I decline!

“I’ll be playing all the festive favourites from the balcony near the Clock Tower so come and say hello, before we light up Leicester for Christmas!”

Before the lights go on at 6.30pm, there’ll be plenty of family fun to enjoy.

From 5pm, Town Hall Square will be filled with the traditional sound of Christmas, with music from the No Bars Orchestra, the EAGA Gospel Choir, the Ratby Crescendo Band and the Syston Band. Visitors can also discover the story of Christmas, with the figures of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus taking their place in the square’s nativity scene, while children should look out for Santa, who'll be popping in to Town Hall Square to see them.

With hundreds of festive lights dressing the Town Hall and the fountain, Town Hall Square is a great place for families with young children to watch the lights go on at 6.30pm.

Bringing festive fun to the city centre will be some cheeky costumed characters, including Horace and Boris, the Bouncy Elves, an 8ft-tall penguin called Blizzard, and an illuminated stilt walker. Look out for them between Town Hall Square and Gallowtree Gate.

On Humberstone Gate, there’ll be festive rides with the Billy Bates Funfair, while the 110ft Wheel of Light on Jubilee Square will be offering a bird’s eye view over Leicester.

There’ll also be plenty of fun at the Haymarket Shopping Centre from 4.45pm, with live entertainment hosted by EavaFM.

Just before 6.30pm, Scott will be joined by the Lord Mayor of Leicester, Cllr Dr Susan Barton, and Radio Leicester’s Ady Dayman to count down to Leicester’s big switch-on. A 50ft Christmas tree at the Clock Tower will sparkle with thousands of white lights, while the city centre’s streets will be bathed in colour as 16,000 LED lamps light up.

A spectacular troupe of illuminated drummers will then lead the way to the Haymarket shopping centre for the switch-on of their lights at 6.45pm, before heading for Highcross at 7.15pm, where people can enjoy Bright Christmas – a free immersive light experience featuring 6,000 LED lamps and a festive soundtrack.

Just a short walk from Highcross, the bars and restaurants of St Martin’s Square will be welcoming visitors for the switch-on of their festive lights at 7.45pm.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke said: “Once again, our lighting team have worked their magic to make sure that Leicester sparkles under thousands of twinkling lights this Christmas.

“The colourful lights provide the backdrop for a great night out in Leicester, whether you’re out with your family, meeting up with friends, or getting Christmas sorted with some late-night shopping.

“The big switch-on is always a brilliant event and we look forward to welcoming people from across the county to the city centre to watch Leicester light up for Christmas.”

Those wishing to make a start on their Christmas shopping will find that many of the city centre’s small and independent shops will extend their opening hours on switch-on night, while stores at Highcross and the Haymarket will be trading until 8pm. To avoid disappointment, shoppers should check opening times with individual stores, as hours may vary.

Park & Ride services will be extended for the big switch-on, with the last buses for Meynell’s Gorse and Birstall leaving the city centre at 9pm, while the last bus to the Enderby site will depart at 8.55pm on 22 November. In addition, HOP! – the city’s free circular bus service – will continue running until 9pm to encourage people to explore all the city centre has to offer.

The switch-on of the Christmas lights signals the start of a busy festive season in Leicester.

From Saturday 2 December until Saturday 23 December, Santa will be welcoming children to his snow-topped grotto in Town Hall Square. As in previous years, visits to Santa will be free of charge so that all children can enjoy a magical Christmas experience.

Other highlights include the return of the city’s real ice rink on Thursday 7 December, which will join the spectacular Wheel of Light in Jubilee Square for the festive season. Both attractions will be open until Sunday 7 January.

Full details of all the events taking place in Leicester this Christmas are available at

Leicester City Council is grateful to Octopus Energy for their generous sponsorship of the Christmas Lights' Switch-On.



Christmas Lights’ Switch-On: Wednesday 22 November


From 12 noon:

Bright Christmas opens at Highcross (upper floor, near John Lewis)

From 4.45pm:

Live entertainment at the Haymarket Shopping Centre, including music, dance and drumming  

From 5pm-8pm:

Live music with traditional brass bands (Town Hall Square)

Nativity scene (Town Hall Square)

Appearances by Santa (Town Hall Square)

Costumed characters (Town Hall Square and Gallowtree Gate)

Spectacular illuminated LED drummers (city centre)


6pm: Scott Mills gets the Christmas party started from the Haymarket balcony (Clock Tower)

6.30pm: Switch-on of Leicester’s famous Christmas lights, including the illumination of a 50ft tree at the Clock Tower


6.45pm: Switch-on of Christmas lights at the Haymarket Shopping Centre

7.15pm: Switch-on of Christmas lights at Highcross

7.45pm: Switch-on of Christmas lights at St Martin’s Square


Other attractions open on 22 November:

  • Wheel of Light in Jubilee Square
  • Billy Bates’ Funfair on Humberstone Gate





Picture caption: DJ and presenter Scott Mills will switch on Leicester's Christmas lights on Wednesday 22 November at 6.30pm.