The Switch On this Thursday evening is just the beginning of a programme of events planned for Derry over the next six weeks leading up to Christmas. Here's what is being planned...


Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 7:30 am
Santa flys over the crowd with the help of the Fire and Rescue Service during a previous Christmas Lights Switch on in Derry's Guildhall Square. Picture Martin McKeown.

Guildhall Square, Thursday November 22 from 6PM - 8PM

Santa will be arriving in town for a pre-Christmas visit to local girls and boys this Thursday and will join Mayor John Boyle to switch on the city’s Christmas Lights and transform Derry into a Winter Wonderland.

There will be pantomime characters, and two stages with BBC Radio Foyle’s Mark Patterson hosting in Guildhall Square and local entertainer Michael Doherty performing MC duties in Waterloo Place.

One young fan gets a pefect spot to watch the arrival of Santa during the Christmas Lights Switch on in Derry in Guildhall Square in 2017. Picture Martin McKeown. 23.11.17

Musical performers in Guildhall Square will include George Hutton and Paul Casey, and the St Oliver Plunket P.S. Choir, while Superstition will perform in Waterloo Place

The whole event will be broadcast by local Youtube sensation Adam B .

Prior to the Switch On, there will be family themed entertainment in the Peace Garden from 4pm – 6pm with an Enchanted Garden and Santa’s Sleigh and Reindeers.

Foyle Street Bus Depot will also be hosting Christmas arts and crafts and there will be Reindeer food available in bags to take home.

A previous Christmas market across Guildhall Square/ Waterloo place.


Guildhall, Derry City Centre, Friday November 23, 12noon - 7pm; Saturday November 24, 10am - 6pm and Sunday November 25 from 11am - 6pm.

The annual Guildhall Craft Fair will celebrate its 24th year this year and the Council will once again be offering a unique Christmas shopping experience with over 40 crafters to choose from, with a Food Fair located within the ground floor of the Guildhall. Entrance Fee: £1


Cora Harkin performs on stage at the Christmas Lights Switch on in Derry last year.

The Guildhall, Wednesday December 5.

Set in Derry’s Guildhall. Admission is free (ticket only) and tickets are allocated on a first come, first served basis.

If you’re interested in attending, please email [email protected] or call 02871253253.


Saturday December 8 to Sunday, December 9 from 12pm - 5pm.

Step into this magical wonderland and be transported to Santa’s Circus Workshop, where the big man himself and his team of elves will be working away. Adults and children can warm your toes by the fire while hearing tales from the North Pole from the first lady of Christmas, Mrs Claus and there’s also the opportunity to learn new skills from Santa’s Circus Elves and meet all kinds of Christmas characters.


Guildhall Square, Thursday December 13, Friday 14, Saturday 15 & Sunday 16. Guildhall Square nightly from 6pm – 8pm.

As the dark nights roll in, a little magic will begin to stir in Guildhall Square as the Guildhall clock strikes 6. Terrific toys will come to life with a burst of colour, light and sound.


Saturday , December 15 from 6pm - 7pm, city centre.

Following on from the 2017 spectacular event this will be the highlight of Christmas celebrations in Derry and is designed to compliment the city’s Christmas shopping experience. Audiences are invited to follow the Sound of Lights trail through the historic quarters of the old city. The procession will see a light filled Christmas parade of around 40 performers moving through the Old City streets and gates.


Guildhall Square, Thursday, December 13 to Saturday December 15 from 12 noon to 10pm and Sunday December 16 12noon to 6pm.

Derry City & Strabane District Council is planning as “a winter themed Christmas market” with numerous stalls offering a variety of gifts and goods. There will also be a bar serving craft/artisan drinks, live music, kids entertainment and festive animation over the four day market.