Festive fun at switch-ons

The stars of the show at last year's Gunwharf Quays Christmas light switch-on.
The stars of the show at last year's Gunwharf Quays Christmas light switch-on.
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The countdown to Christmas has begun.

And, to help families get into the festive spirit, the area’s shopping streets, centres and precincts are switching on their Christmas lights.

The big switch-on began last night, with Palmerston Road’s Fireworks and Fairylights event in Southsea.

Gunwharf Quays and Commercial Road follow tomorrow and Thursday, each with their own party, to mark the occasion.

At Gunwharf, like Southsea, there will be fireworks.

Also on hand will be Father Christmas and his elves, who have taken to stilts to see above the crowds.

There will be plenty of other entertainment, including performances from the Family Church Band, Park Community School and Portsmouth Grammar School Brass Band, plus dancers and carol singers from 5.30pm.

And the whole thing will be hosted by Wave 105’s Rick Jackson

With Father Christmas’s entrance marked by snow confetti and snow cannons, families can be sure they won’t miss it among the hubbub.

The actual lights switch-on will take place in Central Square at 7.15pm.

Gunwharf Quays’ centre manager Séan Sweeney MBE, says: ‘We are really looking forward to the Christmas lights switch-on which has proved very popular every year.

‘It will be great fun for all the family and we look forward to seeing you there.’

There are more switch-on shenanigans at Commercial Road on Thursday .

From 5pm until 7pm, the fun will take place in the pedestrian precinct area and will include a stage, musical acts, entertainment, children’s rides and a staged light switch-on with – you’ve guessed it – more fireworks.

Both these events are completely free festive family fun. And there’s more to follow.

On November 28, Cosham lights are switched on.

On December 1, the big switch-on comes to Albert Road in Southsea.

And the Christmas tree in Guildhall Square will be lit-up on December 14 in a free carol concert attended by Father Christmas.

But, remember – wrap-up warm for all these outdoor evening events ,as it could get chilly.

For more information about Christmas light switch-ons, other festive events and days out ideas, see visitportsmouth.co.uk