It’s November and the countdown to Christmas has begun in earnest.

But for thousands of us, it only truly begins when the festive lights have been turned on in our town.

And whether you live in Oldham, Stockport, or Manchester city centre, there’s sure to be a switch on event near you soon.

The events attract families from miles around, eager to set sights on pop acts and performers entertaining the crowds before the big buttons are pressed.

We’ve put together a guide to the Christmas lights switch on events taking place across the region, with the Trafford Centre’s sparking things off this week.

Trafford Centre

Manchester Camerata and Dave Haslam will headline the intu Trafford Centre’s Christmas lights switch on at what promises to be a ceremony like no other.

The shopping centre has teamed up with the experimental orchestra and former Hacienda DJ to reinvent the traditional switch-on event, which has seen pop stars such as Peter Andre and Fleur East perform in previous years.

This year’s event will feature a soundtrack of club anthems selected by Haslam, which will be brought to life by Manchester Camerata’s musicians.

The show will also feature a performance from Manchester gospel and house singer Rachel McFarlane, who will sing her 1994 Loveland hit Let the Music Lift You Up.

The Classical Christmas Lights Night takes place on Thursday, November 2 , from 7.30pm in the shopping centre’s Main Dome. Tickets are not required.

Manchester city centre

The main Manchester Christmas lights switch-on features a huge free show in front of the town hall and takes place this Saturday, November 4 .

This year’s star-studded line-up includes Pixie Lott and chart-topping superstar DJ Sigala, best known for his Jackson Five-sampling single Easy Love and Came Here For Love, his recent collaboration with Ella Eyre.

Pixie Lott at Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend (Image: Joel Goodman)

Up-and-coming boy band Yes Lad will also be taking to the stage, fresh from their appearance on The X Factor last year and the family-friendly show will feature a performance from the cast of ELF: The Musical, the hit comedy stage show based on the Will Ferrell film, which is coming to The Lowry this Christmas .

The switch on takes place at 7.30pm and is free to attend, but capacity in Albert Square is limited so visitors are advised to arrive in plenty of time to avoid disappointment.

Security is being tightened up this year and searches will be in operation on entry. Visitors are asked to leave bags at home to help minimise delays. Alcohol is not allowed on site.

Last year’s Christmas lights switch on (Image: Mark Waugh)

The Rock, Bury

CBeebies star Mr Bloom will join X Factor finalists 5 After Midnight to turn on the Christmas lights at The Rock in Bury.

The event marks the beginning of the Christmas season for The Rock and takes place on Thursday, November 9 .

The switch-on is being h osted by Tower FM and and will also feature a number of local acts, including groups from the Carol Godby Theatre Workshop and an appearance from Santa himself.

The event will run from 5.30pm until 7.30pm.

The centre’s Santa’s Grotto will officially open on Saturday, November 25 following the Santa’s arrival parade in the morning and The Rock Express will return in December to transport festive shoppers around the town until the end of the month.

For more information visit .

Merseyway, Stockport

Stockport ‘s switch-on is hoping to prove there ain’t no party like an S Club party – with the 90s chart stars topping the bill.

S Club – now just three members rather than the full original seven – will perform at the Merseyway event on Wednesday, November 15 .

Tina, Bradley and Jo will sing hits including Reach and Bring it All Back, while other performers taking to the stage will be former X Factor and Big Brother star Amelia Lily, Lucy Spraggan, who also appeared on the X Factor, swing artist Alexander Stewart and singer-songwriter Ewan Sim.

They will be joined by a host of local talent throughout the family event including NK Theatre Arts, Debut Dance Academy, Stella Maris School and Jade Straiton.

Characters from the Plaza panto and Frozen’s Elsa and Anna will be on hand to get the crowd in the Christmas spirit.

Festivities begin at 3.30pm and S Club will appear at around 6.35pm.

(left to right) Tina, Jo and Bradley from, S Club will perform at Merseyway Christmas lights switch on


Comedian Paddy McGuinness will be ‘liking our lighties’ when he switches on Bolton’s Christmas lights this year.

The Bolton lad and Take Me Out host will hit the big switch when the town’s lights get turned on at 5pm on Thursday, November 16 .

The switch-on from the Phoenix Nights comic marks the start of this year’s Winter Festival in Bolton, which sees a giant snow slide and ice rink come to the town.

Both attractions will be open from Saturday, December 2, until Sunday, January 7.

Bolton’s Christmas Market is running from December 9 to 20 , offering a range of food, drink and local produce.

Visit for more information, visit @BoltonWinterFestival on Facebook or @BoltonWinterFes on Twitter.

Paddy McGuinness and wife Christine Martin (Image: Manchester Evening News)


Union J will be making a special guest appearance at Wigan’s Christmas lights switch on.

Wigan’s Christmas Cracker event is happening in the town centre’s Market Place from 4.30pm to 7.30pm on Thursday, November 16 .

There will be also be appearances also from Jake McKechnie, finalist of The Voice Kids, plus Myth of Unity, as well as Scott Chapman and Wigan Youth Choir.

Players from Wigan Warriors and Wigan Athletic will also be making guest appearances and the main man Father Christmas will be there ahead of his grand arrival with a parade on Mesnes Field from 1pm on Sunday, November 19 .


Tameside town centres are counting down to Christmas with a full package of lights switch on events and celebrations.

The community led events, supported by the council, will offer a range of festive treats, activities and entertainment.

The first one takes place in Denton on Friday, November 17 , while the big switch on in Ashton is on Saturday, November 18 .

The Lantern Parade will start at Katherine Street at 6pm and head down Stamford Street, culminating in Old Cross Street Car Park for the festive finale from 7pm including music, dancers, Father Christmas and pyrotechnics.

Other switch on events will be at Ryecroft Hall, Audenshaw, from 4pm to 7pm on Wednesday, November 22 ; 6pm in Micklehurst on Friday, November 24 ; and at Civic Square in Droylsden, Market Place in Mossley and Civic Square in Hyde, all happening on Saturday, November 25 .


Mr Bloom will also be popping up in Altrincham this year when he joins in the big switch on event on Saturday, November 18 .

Organised by Altrincham Unlimited, in partnership with the Stamford Quarter shopping centre and Key 103, the free hour-long event will include performances from local singer Christian Smith, Manchester boy band Yes Lad, Altrincham’s very own Little Belters children’s choir and some ‘starry’ special guests to flick the all-important switch at around 5.30pm.

The afternoon will see local schools, choirs and dance troupes on stage by House of Fraser and Wilko for a musical extravaganza building up to the early evening celebrations.

From 4.30pm Key 103’s Breakfast Team of Mike Toolan, Matt Haslam and Coronation Street’s Brooke Vincent will take to the stage to host the switch-on show.

For full details of all festive events in Altrincham this year visit .



There’s a big line-up of family entertainment planned in Oldham when the town’s lights are switched on later this month.

The ‘spellbinding show’ comes to Parliament Square and Tommyfield Market on Sunday, November 19 and will feature a special visit from crime fighting heroes PJ Masks, the breath-taking Halo Glow Show and X Factor’s very own ‘snow fairy’ Saara Aalto.

And if that’s not enough, the grand finale will be an unforgettable fireworks display.

For more details about Oldham’s events visit:


Rochdale’s lights are being switched on at the town hall towards the end of this month.

The spectacular building will be lit up in a flood of colours, followed by the big switch-on and fireworks to officially open the festive season.

The event will also feature the town’s Christmas Market and will run from 1pm to 5.30pm on Saturday, November 25 .

Families can enjoy fun activities inside for children and a guest appearance by Father Christmas plus special guests.