Derby Christmas light switch on 2023 - exact date, time and entertainment schedule including ice rink

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Crowds are expected to turn out for a busy day filled with festive entertainment including a stage show and lantern parade

Twinkling Christmas illuminations really show a city in its best light and Derby is ready to shine!

In just a few short weeks the city’s festive lights will be switched on. The big switch-on happens on the first weekend of December which sets the mood nicely for a month packed with fabulous festive fun!

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There will be a range of festive entertainment including an exciting stage show featuring local entertainment and of course, the main man in red, Santa will be there too.

When are Derby's Christmas lights switched on?

Saturday, December 2, 2023 is the big day.

Although the light switch-on is scheduled for 5.30pm, Saturday will be packed with Christmas-themed activities. 

When is Derby Christmas light switch on? And what events are on?

Saturday, December 2nd


Cathedral Quarter ice rink opens. (Booking is required, ice skating is unavailable from 4pm – 7pm on this day.)


Christmas characters will be getting curious about their new surroundings and enjoying a walk-around in St Peters Quarter and Cathedral Quarter.

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See if you can spot elves, the Grinch, Elf on a Shelf, Gingerbread Men, the Ice King, and Ice Queen... dare you say 'hello?'.

Giant snow globes will be dotted around the city for families to take festive photos, with the vibrant backdrop of Derby.

Fairground rides which have always been popular in past years will be returning to delight children this year too. All that festive fun is sure to make you hungry, so get ready to indulge in treats such as German sausages hot from the griddle, lacy crepes, and plump doughnuts.


Surtal Arts Lantern Parade starts at St Peter's Cross and finishes in the Market Place. During the parade, there will be entertainment from local acts on stage.


Derby Christmas lights are switched on. 

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Councillor Nadine Peatfield, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for City Centre, Regeneration, Culture, and Tourism, said: “We’re pleased to be teaming up with Surtal Arts during the Derby Season of Light for our launch event and Christmas Light Switch-On in the Market Place on December 2.

“There will be a fantastic stage show, walkabout entertainment, and Lantern Parade from 4pm before the big switch-on at 5.30pm. Visitors can also be the first to hit the ice, from 11am and we really look forward to welcoming everyone into the city for the season’s celebrations.”

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