Christmas Lights switch on - traffic and travel info

The crowd pictured at the last year's Christmas Lights switch on in Derry by Santa. Picture Martin McKeown. 21.11.12
The crowd pictured at the last year's Christmas Lights switch on in Derry by Santa. Picture Martin McKeown. 21.11.12

Thousands are expected to give Santa a warm winter welcome this week when he arrives at Derry’s Ebrington Square on Friday evening for the Big Christmas Lights Switch On.

Entertainment on the night kicks off at 6.30pm with live music by the Mindbenders to get you in the festive mood until 8.00pm.

Santa will be taking a break from toy making to fly in at 7pm to start the official countdown to Christmas with the Big Switch On.

Paul Rafferty from Derry City Council said: “The Switch On is one of the most popular events of the year and we anticipate that thousands of parents and children will be coming along to join in the celebrations. To help make things easier on the night we would recommend that those who are planning to access the Square from the Waterside should use the Park and Ride Service, which will provide free and easy access to and from the event.

“Buses will pick up festival goers at the Park and Ride site on the Limavady Road between 5.30pm – 7pm, bringing them back to their vehicles post event between 7.30pm - 9pm on Friday night.

“The Peace Bridge will also remain open so people can avail of the usual parking facilities in the city centre and walk over the bridge to the event. However, anyone who is not attending the event but wishes to cross the bridge immediately before or after the event may expect some short delays. Any such delays will be kept to the minimum necessary for safe movement of crowds over the bridge. I would urge everyone to wrap up warm and get there a bit early to guarantee finding a good spot, and enjoy the live music and festive fun before Santa arrives.”

Regular visitors to the area should note that no parking will be permitted from 8am until 9pm on St Columb’s Road and Browning Drive. The same restrictions will apply in the car parks located immediately on the left and right hand side of the entry to St Columb’s Park from Browning Drive from 8am until 9pm.

Drivers are reminded that normal on street parking restrictions will be in place and that they should avoid parking anywhere where they may be blocking entrances to residences or businesses or where they may be obstructing emergency access routes. Due to the large numbers of people who will cross the Foyle Embankment, motorists are also advised to expect some delays in this area before and after the event.

There will be restricted vehicular access re St Columb’s Road & Browning Drive from 5pm onwards, with barriers at the entrance to St Columb’s Road.

This area will be controlled by stewards with PSNI assistance for traffic flow on Limavady Road. Vehicular access will be limited to Browning Drive residents and visitors, allotment holders and staff and residents of St Columb’s Park House.

For full programme details of all the Legenderry events planned in the run up to Christmas visit Festivals telephone: (028) 7137 6545. Accommodation queries: (028) 7126 3511.