Singer Rita Ora will turn the lights on in Oxford Street on Tuesday, November 7. The world-famous shopping street will glimmer with gold and silver baubles for the 58th annual Christmas lights installation and also welcome Capital Breakfast's Roman Kemp and Vick Hope for a line-up of music from Matt Terry, 5 Before Midnight and the cast of Five Guys Named Moe before the switch-on.
The biggest show in Manchester took place on Saturday, November 4 and was topped off by a massive ten-minute fireworks display. Superstar DJ SIGALA appeared at the switch-on event and a performance from Pixie Lott got visitors singing and dancing their way into the festivities. The stars of the city's theatres were also out in force with a larger than life (and rather green) appearance from Shrek ahead of his appearance at The Palace Theatre, along with co-star Princess Fiona and the foot-tapping Guys and Dolls.
The Christmas Lights Switch On takes place on Sunday, November 19 at 6pm. The ticketed event is free but the ballot closed on Sunday, October 15 with 16,000 tickets already snapped up. This year, a Christmas market will replace the usual ice rink, with live entertainment, fairground rides and unique gifts on offer.
Rugby League heroes The Leeds Rhinos will get the festive season officially underway at this year's fantastic Leeds Christmas lights switch-on. The event on Thursday, November 9 will be hosted by Heart Breakfast's Dixie and Emma, with performances from Leeds Rock Choir, Britain's Got Talent sensations Boogie Storm and Cbeebies presenters Alex Winters and Ben Cadjee. Other attractions on the night will include fun fair rides along Cookridge Street and spectacular fireworks.
On Thursday, November 9, Liverpool will kick off the festive season on Paradise Street with a magically spine-tingling journey to the night before Christmas from Liverpool Empire Theatre. The streets will be lit up with the tallest Christmas tree in the city and the incredible show will feature dazzling lights, special effects and much more. Inspired by the infamous Clement Clarke Moore Poem, it is expected to leave visitors in awe.
The largest lights installation in the capital, 'The Spirit of Christmas' will return for 2017, reimagined with new colours and additional touches to delight visitors and shoppers along Regent Street. The stunning showcase of over 300,000 twinkling LED lights will see the annual switch-on event on Thursday, November 16, when the street will be closed from early evening for the thrilling live countdown, with VIP appearances and live entertainment to be announced.
Weird and wonderful Christmas markets
Weird and wonderful Christmas markets
The UK’s biggest celebration of Japanese culture, cuisine and cool takes place on Tobacco Dock from 24 to 26 November, boasting a variety of performers, food stalls, cocktail shows, creative workshops and kooky gift ideas. Quirky Christmas market HYPER JAPAN is the ultimate destination to discover truly unique presents and when you’re finished shopping, there’s music, magic shows, fashion shows and sumptuous cocktails to enjoy. Stay: Qbic Hotel London City
Cool, modern and ironic, Hamburg's adults-only erotic Christmas market is a colourful event celebrated against the backdrop of the city's Dancing Towers. Drag queen Olivia Jones traditionally opens Santa Pauli, which takes place from 17 November to 23 December. Christmas time and a party atmosphere go hand in hand here, with nightly strip shows included. The repertoire of Christmas items on sale ranges from hand-crafted artisan pieces and naughty Christmas decorations all the way to wooden dildos. Stay: East
Visit Zurich this winter and expect to be enchanted by the Singing Christmas Tree at Werdmuhleplatz's Christmas market from 23 November to 23 December. The vertical stage that appears as an enormous Christmas tree hosts choirs wearing red hats as they spread Christmas cheer with their repertoire of Christmas carols. While watching the unusual attraction, there's plenty of gluhwein and fondue to enjoy while the kids have a ride on the carousel. Stay: Swissotel Zurich
Ever wondered where hipsters do their Christmas shopping? Holy Shit Shopping takes over a former power station (naturally) from 16 to 17 December. Here you'll find young Berlin designers presenting their latest fashion, matching jewellery and fancy artistic works. The pop-up design emporium will also offer mellow beats, drinks and street food for when you're shopped out. Stay: Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Hackescher Markt
Dating from 1786, Barcelona's Christmas fair set around Barcelona Cathedral offers the most peculiar traditional gifts for Christmas shoppers: tió logs. From 24 November to 23 December, visitors to Fira de Santa Llúcia can pick up the unusual souvenirs which sport smiley faces and typical Catalan cap, the barretina. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, children make the tió log poop presents, sweets and nougat by beating him with a stick. As well as this fun gift, shoppers at Barcelona's Christmas market can buy decorations for the tree, mistletoe and nativity figurines. Stay: Hotel Barcelona Catedral
Attracting visitors far and wide with its maritime atmosphere, Emden Engelke-Markt is a Christmas market with a difference. Festively illuminated museum ships and traditional sailing ships welcome shoppers on board from 27 November to 23 December, with the smell of almonds, spices and gingerbread filling the air. In front of the town hall, the Christmas village features an illuminated Christmas pyramid, where mulled wine and punch are on offer. The festive stalls offer delicious delicacies and Father Christmas always appears on the stage of the city garden at 5pm to hand out presents to children. Stay: Upstalsboom Parkhotel
A tradition for over twenty years, Licques' annual Christmas market has the turkey as its star of the show and features many activities including a turkey contest, huge meals and dancing parties. Taking place from 9 to 10 December, the Turkey Festival's Christmas market is perfect for picking up local products, with 2,000 visitors attending the bizarre event each year. The main attraction is on Sunday when the 'turkey fellowship' leads a turkey herd to the top of the village and introduces its new members. Stay: Le Chateau de Cocove
Looking, sniffing, shopping - Berlin's Christmas Market for Dogs takes place from 9 to 10 December in the garden of the Forsthaus Paulsborn within the Grunewald forest. Dog lovers and their four-legged friends will find everything at this unique market, from festive dog biscuits to colourful dog collars. Owners can enjoy some treats of their own, with food and drinks in the Forsthaus. Stay: Louisa's Place