Late night shopping, festive concerts, panto magic and a visit from one of the stars of Albert Square - this Christmas is set to be bigger and better than ever in Preston.
Starting next Saturday with the Christmas lights switch on and running until January, a fabulous programme of entertainment and events has been lined up to help the city celebrate.
City centre manager Mark Whittle, of Preston BID, says he is exciting about the scale of this year’s festivities.
he said: “There’s a lot happening in and around the city centre this Christmas.
“Beyond the traditional activities there are new exciting events in the calendar for 2017. These new events are in addition to events staged annually by the shopping centres, leisure venues and the Guild Hall.”
EastEnder Steve McFadden has been chosen to flip the switch on the city’s Christmas lights, ahead of a fabulous concert packed with stars ranging from veteran soul singer Ray Lewis to chart-toppers Union J.
The city will then be bathed in elegant new blue and white festive lights, part of a £60,000 investment by Preston BID.
And today details of late night shopping have been revealed, which will start on Wednesday, December 6.
Stores around Preston, as well as the Fishergate Centre and St George’s Centre, will be open until 8pm to allow shoppers plenty of time to buy all their Christmas gifts.
And there’s no need to worry about parking, as the car parks will also be opening late.
Mark Whittle added: “Christmas is always a really good time of year in Preston, and this year will be no exception, there are plenty of activities for all the family.
“With a strong retail offer and a vibrant bar and restaurant scene – there’s an abundance of choice.”
Andrew Stringer, centre manager at St George’s Shopping Centre, which is sponsoring the Christmas Concert and Lights Switch On, added: “Christmas is a magical time for all the family and Preston offers something for everyone – fantastic shops, both national multiples and independents, excellent nightlife and host of free events and activities to keep the children entertained.”
This year the Christmas offering is also spreading out across the city, with festive events in the newly-revamped Winckley Square and in Avenham Park, as well as a series of concerts in the Harris Museum.
The historic Winckley Square - fresh from a £1.2m makeover – will be hosting a Christmas Carol Concert, free guided tours and a winter wonderland.
And Father Christmas himself is set to take time out of his busy schedule of present-wrapping to host a dinner in Avenham Park’s Pavillion.
Bringing a bit of showbiz razzmatazz will be daily performances of pantomime Aladdin at the Guild Hall.