Switching On The Lights | Sparkling Bradford

This year has flown by, and preparations for the Christmas season are already well underway around the district! The official switching on of the Christmas lights is, of course, the most visible sign that the festive season has begun. We have six amazing events for our lights across the Bradford district, and while you won’t be able to watch them all, you will definitely get the chance to countdown to the button being hit at least once.

Bradford’s light switch marked the start of the festivities, which included a great show at the Broadway Bradford, as well as a firework finale.

Here’s our guide to where you should be to catch all of the action!

Join Discover Keighley and the Airedale Shopping Centre for the 2021 Christmas Lights Switch On. Featuring special guests, Britain’s Got Talent Semi-finalists ‘The Soldiers of Swing,’ CBeebies Andy Day and Alex Winters,  a spectacular fireworks display, and lots of Christmas themed entertainment. The event will begin at 5:30pm on Thursday, 25th November at the Church Green in Keighley. There will be free parking at the Airedale Shopping Centre throughout the day.

Visit Keighley and you’ll discover a variety of fantastic activities taking place over the weekend. For a great pint of craft beer and some street food, go to the Hop & Glory Craft Beer Festival. Visit the theatre, Give a Little Love is currently showing at the Keighley Playhouse, and there are some wonderful exhibitions on at Cliffe Castle Museum, so whether you’re in town for a day or the weekend, you’ll have enough to do!

On November 27th and 28th, you will truly be spoilt for choice as Haworth, Ilkley, Bingley and Thornton all switch on their lights, illuminating some of the district’s beautiful locations!

Bingley’s lights will be switched on at 4:30pm, and there will be Christmas stalls in the Bingley Arts Centre as well as an outdoor market. The children will love the carousels, and they’ll get to see Santa’s land train and enjoy free donkey rides!

While you’re in Bingley, why not take a walk about the area, perhaps along the canal to the Five Rise Locks or into the St Ives Estate, and try to capture some images for the Bingley Camera Club’s Photo Walk Competition? In the evening, go to the Bingley Arts Centre for a classic rock n’ roll show!

Ilkley also has a full day of excitement planned for you. An all-day market will open at 9 a.m., and musical groups including the Bradford Concert Orchestra will perform at the bandstand starting at 1:30 p.m. Santa will arrive at the Memorial Gardens at 4:30 p.m. before leading a procession down to Christchurch to meet the Mayor before switching on the lights at 5 p.m.

Along with the festivities, visit the Ilkley Manor House, which has a new exhibition of local artist Jack Hellewell’s work as well as a Christmas Makers Fair and a selection of unusual art and craft gifts at Christmas in the Solar Gallery exhibit. In the evening, you can enjoy Alexa – Cry Me A Dance at Ilkley Playhouse or go up to The Craiglands for a spectacular evening at their Candy Cane Joiner Party.

In the heart of Brontë country Haworth will be switching on the lights around its main Christmas tree, the streets and shop windows to illuminate its picturesque cobbled streets. In deference to ongoing global conditions there won’t be a singular switch-on moment however. Instead Haworth will be be putting it’s lights on over both the 27th and 28th of November and will be accompanying this with entertainment from local choirs and singing groups as well as a Christmas jukebox playing out into the street.

Why not take an early walk up to Top Withens while you’re there? It’ll be a cold walk, but you’ll  find something warming and tasty in Haworth’s shops and cafés when you get back in time for the lights to switch on. You can also visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum to explore their collection.

Thornton will host an event at the South Square Centre starting at 2pm. The event includes a Christmas market, choir recital and craft activities along with plenty of refreshments. The lights will switch on at 5pm.

On December 4th, Shipley’s Christmas lights will be switched on. There will be an open air Christmas market in the market square from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with plenty of attractions and entertainment running throughout the day, and Santa will be on hand to greet youngsters in his grotto! The big moment, of course, will be the switch-on at 4:30 p.m.

Take advantage of the opportunity to visit UNESCO World Heritage Site Saltaire to see the Living Advent Calendar, which will be on display throughout December, and Salt’s Mill to see the 1853 Gallery. Check out the Saltaire Vintage Home and Fashion Fair at Victoria Hall where you may find unique presents.

Have a fantastic autumn, and don’t forget to tag @VisitBradford #VisitBradford on social media with photos of everything you’ve seen in Bradford and district.

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Finally, whilst restrictions have been eased, please remember to follow the latest COVID-19 guidelines to enjoy these areas and more, safely and responsibly.