Christmas in the city kicks off on Friday 17 November, with the opening of Nottingham Winter Wonderland at 11am and Christmas lights switch-on at 7.30pm.

A new 30-minute festive show will lead up to the switch-on moment, featuring music, lights and special effects. It will be focused on a stage area near the water feature, with spectators along a traffic-free Angel Row.

The choreographed show will be hosted by Dino, Pete and Tyles from Capital FM, who are sponsoring this year’s Winter Wonderland, and will feature Christmas songs sung by the Choir of St Mary’s, Nottingham, a Christmas poem by Nottingham’s first-ever young poet laureate, an appearance by stars from Nottingham Playhouse’s Cinderella pantomime and representatives from Nottingham charity When You Wish Upon a Star, as well as a performance by local pop star Indiana.

Participants in the show will join the Lord Mayor and Sheriff of Nottingham, Councillors Mike Edwards and Glyn Jenkins, to ‘press the plunger’ at 8pm, lighting up Old Market Square’s 40-year-old grand fir tree, the Christmas market and the front of the Council House, officially marking the start of Nottingham’s Christmas festivities.

Afterwards, Winter Wonderland will remain open until 10pm for those eager to get into the festive spirit. Tram and bus services through the Old Market Square will be suspended during the switch-on event – see details below.

This year’s Winter Wonderland will include a stunning 750m2 ice rink surrounding the city’s 60ft Christmas tree, decked out in 4,000 lights, as well as over 60 themed stalls selling Yuletide gifts, including locally produced foods and preserves, local handmade jewellery, glassware and framed comic art.

There will be plenty of festive fayre on offer too, with stalls selling traditional glühwein, pretzels and stollen. Visitors will also be able to warm up with mulled wine or cider and Bailey’s hot chocolate in the brand-new French ski lodge-style bar, Sur la Piste, overlooking the ice rink, as well as the Helter-Skelter Bar, serving festive cocktails, Christmas puddings and hot roast chestnuts.

This year’s Winter Wonderland will also be home to the largest mobile ice bar at any UK Christmas market, where guests can enjoy icy drinks and fantastic Nottingham-themed ice sculptures.

Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Nottingham City Council, said: “This year’s Winter Wonderland and traditional Christmas market will be bigger and better than ever. This Christmas, stalls and attractions will expand along the entire length of Long Row and into the space at the bottom of King Street and Queen Street.

“We’ll be getting the festive season underway with a Christmas lights switch-on event on Friday 17 November, with a great show to get everyone in the Christmas spirit and all of the attractions like the new bars, ice rink and stalls of Christmas goodies available for the following six weeks.”

James Mellors of Mellors Group Events said: “We are delighted to be returning to the Market Square with a new, enhanced Winter Wonderland experience.

“This year we are bringing two brand-new bars to Nottingham’s Old Market Square. We have a stunning après-ski-style bar, Sur la Piste, with covered booth seating, quality live entertainment and stunning views across the ice rink. We also have what will be the largest mobile ice bar at any Christmas market event in the UK.”

Capital Breakfast’s Pete Allen added: “We’re all so excited to host the Christmas Lights Switch On once again this year! It’s such a great moment for the city, and one that our listeners and the people of Nottingham really get behind.”

In addition to the event in Old Market Square, there will also be a number of local Christmas light switch-on events taking place in neighbourhoods across the city as usual this year.

There are plenty of opportunities to experience a charming family Christmas at the city’s heritage sites too. From Saturday 25 November, Newstead Abbey, Nottingham Castle and Wollaton Hall will host Christmas trails and gift shops, as well as festive afternoon teas, concerts, tours and workshops, and, of course, opportunities to visit Santa himself. There will also be a fireworks display from the grounds of Nottingham Castle as usual on New Year’s Eve.

To beat the queues and avoid disappointment, visitors will be able to find out more and book Winter Wonderland skating and ice bar tickets – as well as tickets to all events at the heritage sites and across the city – online at

Further details on the switch-on event:

  • Tram and bus services through the Old Market Square will be suspended during the switch-on event. From 7.15pm, NET services will run to Nottingham Station and Theatre Royal only, and from 6.30-8.30pm, any bus services that normally enter the Square will use different stops nearby – details will be available from bus operators. Market Street, Beastmarket Hill, Long Row, St James Street, Mount Street, South Parade and Smithy Row will be closed 6.30-8.30pm.
  • Spectators should head to the viewing area on Angel Row to watch the show and light switch-on.
  • There will be a pre-show ice dancing performance on the ice rink by young skaters from the National Ice Centre at 6.45pm. The main show will start at 7.30pm, with the Christmas lights switched on at 8pm.