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Leicester’s 2021 Christmas Light Switch-On Ignites Festive Fun

Christmas is officially on its way! The streets of Leicester’s city centre were adorned with over 16,000 sparkling lights following the switch-on ceremony on Thursday, 18 November 2021. 

Celebrations made a welcome return to the city this year — but with a new format to help people stay safe. Instead of the annual stage programme on Humberstone Gate the city council provided attractions at five locations across the city centre so that people could share in the fun without a need for densely-packed crowds. 

From 5pm people were able to enjoy a festive film in Green Dragon Square, funfair rides on Humberstone Gate, live music and an interactive adventure in Town Hall Square, street entertainers near the Clock Tower Christmas tree, and a sparkling light installation on Orton Square.

Sweet treats, hot drinks and hot food – including pizzas, hot dogs and vegan options – were also available from stalls in Green Dragon Square.

At 6.30pm, those enjoying the fun at all five locations were then invited to join in with a countdown led by BBC Radio Leicester, with a burst of applause and cheers breaking out as the lights came on. 

At the Clock Tower, a 50ft Christmas tree now sparkles with hundreds of pea-lights, while the city’s traditional nativity scene and a festive tableau scene – featuring a new augmented reality experience for youngsters – takes pride of place in Town Hall Square.

New elegant red and white decorations span Gallowtree Gate, while there’s a fresh look for the Town Hall, where the traditional ‘Christmas Greetings’ motif has been joined by some colourful new LED Christmas trees.

The evening was filled with high spirits and good cheer, with many revellers saying they were happy to be able to come together again at this time, especially in light of previous years being scaled down due to the pandemic.

By Gita Sarasia