Christmas lights switch on party to kick off late night shopping

For the second year in a row, Exeter Business Improvements District (BID) will hold the city’s Christmas lights switch on event with a huge party for all the family to enjoy scheduled to take place in Princesshay Square on Thursday 16 November. As well as live music from local musicians, the evening will mark the official switching on of Exeter’s city-wide festive illuminations and kick off the first of six Thursdays leading up to Christmas, when shops will stay open until late.

City residents and visitors can enjoy the celebrations from 4pm on the Thursday when local school children will give a festive performance of traditional carols followed by a timetable of live music and family friendly entertainment. The evening will be hosted by Radio Exe who will welcome special guests to the stage at 6.15pm to press the button that will switch on Exeter’s Christmas lights.

To complete the evening, local group Jonah & The Superband will take to the stage to entertain revellers as they enjoy the late night shopping.

Local musicians are invited to pitch for a spot at the event thanks to Exeter BID’s newly launched competition ‘Star In Exeter’, in partnership with Radio Exe. Tune in each Sunday until 5 November to hear the demos. The top three acts will be selected by listeners with the final winning slot awarded by a judging panel from Radio Exe and Exeter BID.

This year, as last, Exeter BID has funded city-wide Christmas illuminations, lighting up many streets including Gandy Street, North Street, South Street, Fore Street, Paris Street and Sidwell Street. Illuminations will also light up the Cathedral Yard where this year’s new look Christmas Market, supported by the BID, will open on Thursday 16 November.

Ann Hunter, BID Manager details ‘We are proud to be celebrating Exeter as the home of Christmas this year – with a market set within the historic Cathedral grounds focused on local products, the opportunity for local musicians to take to the stage and entertain the crowds and stunning Christmas light illuminations which will ensure our beautiful city looks especially enchanting this winter season. We invite everyone to enjoy our wealth and breadth of independent and high street retailers and food outlets this Christmas. The late night Thursday shopping events are not to be missed and are a perfect opportunity to pick up Christmas gifts or just a treat for yourself.’

As well as the Christmas lights switch on evening and city illuminations, Exeter BID is promoting a series of events hosted by its levy payers with a dedicated Christmas Guide. Visitors and residents of the city can pick up their free copy at the Visitor Information Centre or go online at to find out more about what is happening over the festive season.

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