DETAILS for this year’s Winchester Christmas Lights Switch On have been announced, kicking off the festive season.

Winchester Business Improvement District (BID) have announced their plans for the 2021 festive season, including the return of the popular Christmas Lights Switch On event, a new The Winchester Gingerbread Christmas Trail around the city centre, and a new collaboration with the Cathedral Christmas Market.

The annual Christmas Lights Switch On, sponsored by Dutton Gregory Solicitors, is back on Thursday November 18 at The Broadway outside Winchester Guildhall at 4pm – 7pm.

This year Winchester’s Christmas lights will be switched on by local heroes nominated by the public. The event will be hosted by Heart Radio and the night will be full of festive fun, with Santa’s Sleigh and wonderful live performances from Harestock Primary School Choir, The Pilgrims’ School Chamber Choir, Winchester A Capella, Integr8 Dance, Theatre Royal Winchester, Spitfire Sisters, Rock Choir and Duo Guitar and Diva Academy.

Returning for 2021 the Giant Inflatable Snow Globe will be located in The Square on the day of the switch on from 12 noon to 8pm. Visitors to the Snow Globe are encouraged to make a voluntary donation to Spare Change for Lasting Change, Winchester BID’s charity scheme which aims to help reduce street begging and rough sleeping in the city by supporting two local charities, Trinity Winchester and The Winchester Beacon (Winchester Churches Nightshelter).

New for this year, Winchester BID are also organising a free fun-filled Winchester Gingerbread Christmas Trail starting from Saturday November 20 – Tuesday January 4. Find the ten gingerbread characters placed in different locations across the city centre and discover ten individual letters.

Once found and written them all down, unscramble the letters to make a Christmas word and enter the free hamper prize draw. Return completed trail sheet and post it into one of the Santa’s post boxes located at the Visitor Information Centre, Winchester Discovery Centre, or the Winchester City Museum.

Self-guided trail booklets will be available from November 20 at the venues hosting Santa’s post boxes and will be available to download from the Winchester BID website:

Following the trail will enable participants to see the wonderful festive lights while Christmas shopping and enjoying Winchester’s fantastic shops, eateries, and other businesses along the way.

Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market is also taking place this festive season, where Winchester BID is hosting a new independents businesses Chalet from Friday November 19 – Saturday December 4, where a selection of local independent businesses will be trading.

Sarah Davis, Winchester BID manager, said: “We are delighted to be organising a wide range of fun activities for people to enjoy in Winchester this Christmas. In particular, we are excited to host a Christmas Lights Switch On again, with local heroes switching on the lights. It will be wonderful to see the community come together to kick start the festive season. A big thank you to the event sponsor Dutton Gregory Solicitors.”

Robert Bolwell, Senior Partner at Dutton Gregory Solicitors said: “Dutton Gregory is delighted to be returning as Sponsor of Winchester’s Christmas lights for a second year and to have been part of such a fantastic evening that celebrated both community and festive spirit. Next year, we will be celebrating our 75th Anniversary supporting people and businesses from the heart of the city, so we are always proud to work with other local businesses and initiatives such as Winchester BID who are dedicated to making our home a great place to live and work.”