Sheffield will be transformed in to a winter wonderland this month with festive activities, shopping, food & drink and entertainment creating a truly magical experience across the city centre.

Visitors, shoppers, party-goers and families will be delighted by the city’s Christmas market, light switch on event, Santa’s Grotto, Reindeer Trail, festive bars, late night shopping, seasonal gifts, food & drinks, fairground rides and lots more throughout the festive period.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “Christmas is the perfect time of year to enjoy spending time with family and friends and whether it’s shopping for unique gifts, a Christmas meal or party or taking the kids on a magical adventure our festive activities will really put some sparkle in to the season.

“The lights switch on attracts thousands of people in to the city centre and I’m sure we’ll see the usual crowds this year, coming out to enjoy all the festivities. Each year we try to bring something different and I can’t wait to try out the new Alpine Bar and see all the families taking on Brearley’s new trail. It promises to be an exciting funfilled Christmas in Sheffield.”

The Christmas Lights Switch On event takes place on Sunday 17 November from 2pm to 6.30pm with the switch on of the illuminations at 5.30pm from the Peace Gardens stage.

Heart Yorkshire presenters will host the stage programme with choirs, Christmas music, entertainment and interviews. Headline switch on guests will be announced very soon.

All the family can come along to meet children’s film and TV characters, have a go on the Winter Maypole, visit the new Christmas crafts market in the Winter Garden and even meet Father Christmas in his Grotto on Pinstone Street. Families can also take a ride on a fire engine and play on the National Emergency Museum’s display of emergency vehicles as they go ‘on tour’ for the day.

Sheffield’s popular Christmas Market is returning to Fargate in the city centre on 14 November until Christmas Eve. With more than 50 handpicked market traders (more than three quarters of them from the local area) shoppers will find a huge choice of seasonal goodies as they stroll through the traditional wooden cabins making this the perfect place to stock up on gifts, foods and treats.

Other shops in the city centre will be operating late night opening hours.

Brand new for this year, the Alpine Bar is joining the Christmas market at the top of Fargate, giving shoppers and partygoers the chance to enjoy a hot chocolate, glass of mulled wine or a wide selection of other drinks. Open from 10am-10pm daily until Christmas Eve.

Santa and his elves will also be in their grotto at the edge of the Peace Gardens from 14 November until Christmas Eve. Families can visit the grotto between 10am to 6pm weekdays, 10am to 7pm Saturdays and 11am to 6pm on Sundays.

The popular THOR’S tipi bar is returning to the Peace Gardens, from 22 November where people can enjoy the cosy atmosphere of log fires and twinkling lights. They’ll be serving up ale, mulled wine & hot cider, hot chocolate, alongside some tasty food.

Brearley Bear is also back with a brand new adventure to keep little ones entertained along his interactive fun trail, brought to the city centre by Sheffield Business Improvement District (BID). All eight of Santa’s Reindeers have broken free and it’s Brearley’s job to round them up and get them back to the North Pole.

The Sheffield Christmas Trail, which runs from 23 Nov to 24 Dec, is free and people can pick up a red-nose locator guide from Unit 1, Surrey Street (next to the Winter Garden).

Find all the excitement of Sheffield’s Christmas activities at http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/christmas

Join the Christmas Facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/SheffEvents

Further announcements will be made about the Sheffield Christmas Lights Switch on in conjunction with Heart Yorkshire in early November.