Lights get switched on at traditional Carol Service


The Barbican and Sutton Harbour will get into the Christmas spirit with a traditional carol service on The Parade as part of their Christmas lights switch-on.

Taking place on Thursday 27 November, the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership and Lord Mayor's Parlour, will host a short Thanksgiving service at the Mayflower Steps.

Celebrating Plymouth's links with the United States of America, and a week after Plymouth launches the official countdown to 2020 with the 'Illuminate' event, the Lord Mayor will lead a wreath laying at the steps at 5.30pm.

Following the Thanksgiving service, the Barbican and Sutton Harbour Christmas celebrations will begin on the Barbican Parade, where a large 'Mayflower' themed Christmas tree will provide the main focal point.

Chris Arscott, Chair of Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, said: "Thanksgiving and Christmas in the Waterfront offer something a little bit different for shoppers, a more traditional festive event, aimed at the community and family celebration.

"The historic area hosts a number of specialist independent shops offering unique gift ideas. Why not spend a day out and once you've done your shopping stop off at one of the many bars, cafes and restaurants to make the most of the waterside experience."

Starting at 6pm, people are invited to gather around the tree for an evening of entertainment, sponsored by Brittany Ferries. The Barbican's Christmas lights will be switched on just after 6pm followed by carol singing, readings, poems and a visit from Santa creating a warm, festive family atmosphere.

Plymouth’s Lord Mayor and Reverend Joe Dent, from the Minister Church of St. Andrew, will join the singing led by local schools, the Council’s very own choir - the Sound Council - the Salvation Army and Plymouth University’s Musical Theatre Group.

Mary Dean Primary School will be first to take to the stage singing a range of carols, followed by a reading from Plymouth’s Junior Laureate. St George’s Primary School will be the second school spreading the Christmas cheer and a second reading will take place by the City Laureate before performances from the Rock Choir, Sound Council, Salvation Army and Plymouth University’s Musical Theatre Group.

Visitors that want to join in with singing will be given a leaflet containing the words to many carols including Once in Royal David’s City, O Come All Ye faithful and Silent Night! Holy Night!

To add to the Christmas feel of the evening local traders will be selling mince pies, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. There will also be facepainting, demonstrations from Stiltskin and Billy Wiz and the Owl Sanctuary displaying an array of owls.

In addition, visiting tall ship The Tectona, will be lit up in the harbour and will remain there until Sunday 30 November. Visitors will be able to board the ship for a look around during the weekend.

There will also be a Santa’s Grotto in the Barbican Tourist Information Centre on Saturday 29 November.

A number of traders will be taking part in the Barbican and Sutton Harbour’s late night shopping, which will see the shops and galleries open until 8pm on Thursday 4 December.

From Thursday 27 November visitors to the Barbican and Sutton Harbour can take part in a Mayflower Trail. Starting at the Mayflower Christmas tree, the trail can be followed as it travels around the area highlighting where the Pilgrim Fathers are believed to have stayed during their visit to Plymouth in 1620.

A twinned trail is being held at the Royal William Yard as part of their Christmas celebrations, including Christmas markets which take place on 7 and 17 December. This trail, The Darwin Trail, will start at the Darwin themed Christmas tree located on the Green and will highlight key facts of Darwin’s two month visit to Plymouth in 1831.

People that take part in both trails can enter into a prize draw for a chance to win prizes. Trail forms can be downloaded from or collected from the Tourist Information Centre in The Barbican from 27 November.

Details about this event can be found at


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