21 November 2016

Music, children’s activities, carol singing and festive refreshments were the order of the day as around 35,000 people packed into Sheffield city centre yesterday (Sunday 20 November) to watch a host of famous faces flick the switch on this year’s Christmas lights.

After a jam-packed programme of entertainment throughout the afternoon, those on stage to light up the night included X Factor singer Gifty Louise; Olympic silver medal-winning trampolinist Bryony Page; the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Denise Fox; stars of this year’s Sheffield Theatres pantomime including Damian Williams and CBeebies’ Mr Maker; presenters from Heart and Father Christmas.

Crowds filled the Peace Gardens and also watched on a nearby big screen as, following a countdown, the city centre was bathed in twinkling light.

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “Our Christmas lights switch-on here in Sheffield is always a fantastic day out for families, and this year was no exception.

“From the Snow Queen in the Moor Market through to the fairy grotto in the Winter Garden and the programme of live entertainment suitable for all ages, there really was something for everybody.

“In the run-up to Christmas there’s also much more planned for our bustling and festive city centre, including the launch of the brand-new Thor’s Tipi Bar, which will be opening in the Peace Gardens this Thursday, 24 November.”

Thor’s – which is currently under construction – will be open for festive tipples from Thursday right up until New Year’s Eve, serving a full range of refreshments in Viking-inspired surroundings.

Two linked canvas tipis will form the bar, festooned with lighting and decked out with wooden tables and benches, cosy furs and a fire pit. An outdoor heated area will allow customers to soak up the festival atmosphere whilst watching the hustle and bustle.

Thor’s has also joined forces with Sheffield’s own Abbeydale Brewery and will be serving locally-produced ales, while street food gurus Cow Boys will be bringing a Christmas-themed menu to the bar focusing on traditional European and American cuisine.

In Fargate, the Christmas markets and Sleigh Bar is open from 10am to 6pm daily, and will also be open for late-night shopping until 8pm each Wednesday in December.

As well as traders from across the UK and Europe selling a variety of gifts, jewellery, crafts, the market includes a huge range of refreshment stalls selling hot food and drinks.

And in the Moor Market, the Snow Queen and Jack Frost have taken up residence in a fantastic Ice Palace, and will be performing in live shows that combine art, sculpture, music and sound. Shows will run between 11am and 3pm each Saturday before Christmas, as well as on Sunday 18 December. Booking is required.

Other activities for Christmas in the Moor Market include Christmas crafts, winter painting, and learning to play a glass harp.

The Moor Market opens Mondays to Saturdays between 8am and 5.30pm, but will also be open on Sunday 18 December from 10.30am to 4pm.

Those visiting the city centre on the three Saturdays before Christmas can take advantage of the festive free parking offer. From 2pm on Saturday 10, 17 and 24 December people can park for free in all Sheffield City Council on and off street parking spaces in the city centre and in the permit parking zones.