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It’s Christmas! Guildford’s Christmas lights switched on for the best one yet

21st November 2017


Thousands of well-wishers took to the streets of Guildford on Thursday 16 November to enjoy the Christmas lights switch-on event. Marking the countdown to Christmas, the annual lights switch-on has become a key calendar date for the town, drawing in visitors from far and wide.

Festivities kicked off at midday with a host of entertainment, fun and celebration. Santa’s reindeer drew in the crowds at the Rotunda outside the Friary Centre and the Newfoundland dogs returned with their sleighs to the lower High Street outside Debenhams. The Experience Guildford stage, produced by Guildford Fringe, entertained the crowds from 3.20pm outside Holy Trinity Church on the High St, with performances from Belle from Beauty and the Beast and a range of local artists and musicians.

Following the ever-popular mascots parade at 5.15pm all eyes were on the Guildhall from 6pm where 96.4 Eagle Radio’s Peter Gordon hosted the big switch-on balcony show. Joined by Judy Cornwell (Keeping Up Appearances) and the rest of the cast of this year’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre pantomime, Dick Whittington, along with Mayor of Guildford Cllr Nigel Manning, they entertained the crowds as they prepared to light up the town.

Once the lights were on the crowd were then treated to a spectacular fireworks display courtesy of White Lion Walk Shopping Centre and performances by ACM House Band, Decade Select at the Experience Guildford Stage until close of the event at 8.30pm.

Organised by Experience Guildford and Guildford Borough Council, along with partners The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford Fringe, White Lion Walk Shopping Centre and 96.4 Eagle Radio, the Christmas lights switch-on signals the start of the festive shopping season, along with the start of late night shopping which takes place every Thursday until Christmas Day.

To support the town’s extended shopping hours Experience Guildford supported by Guildford Borough Council is offering free parking from 4pm at selected pay and display car parks every Thursday until 21 December.

The Guildford Little Book of Offers was also launched at the Christmas lights switch-on event. Bursting with over 130 money-saving offers across Guildford’s range of shopping, eating & drinking and leisure & lifestyle businesses, it’s guaranteed to help shoppers get the most out of Christmas in Guildford. The Little Book of Big Offers is available from Guildford Tourist Information Centre, via the Experience Guildford Official App and other outlets throughout the town. 

Amanda Master, general manager at Experience Guildford says:

“Nothing says the start of Christmas more than the annual Guildford lights switch-on event, and this year definitely did not disappoint! There was heaps to keep the whole family entertained throughout the day, PG as ever did a sterling job with his countdown and balcony show and the entertainment on the Experience Guildford stage was a real crowd pleaser. With the lights now on we’re all set for a fabulous Christmas, with great offers and free parking promotions in place to help get the festivities started.”

For full details of all the activities taking place in Guildford during the run-up to Christmas, along with information on the Little Book of Offers and the town’s free parking days visit