Plymouth is being turned into a Winter Wonderland with everything from giant snow globes and fabulous illuminations to a Santa driven train.
The Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, City Centre Company, Plymouth traders and Plymouth City Council are uniting for a Yuletide to remember, hoping more people than ever before will visit Britain’s Ocean City from November to the New Year.
The Christmas holiday fun kicks off when X-Factor winner and Coronation Street star Shayne Ward turns on this year’s beautiful illuminations on 17 November.
From 4pm there will be a host of entertainment for the whole family, centred on stage in the city centre Piazza, complete with music, Disney characters and superheroes; from then on the celebrations keep getting better as the special Santa and Elf-driven city centre land train carries visitors, every Wednesday to Sunday from the West End to Drake Circus and back, right up until Christmas Eve.
The Piazza will be completely transformed as the Christmas Market sets out more than 50 beautiful log cabin-style stalls trading from 1 to 18 December.
The stalls – selling unique hand-crafted gifts – will be festooned in fairy lights offering warming drinks, a Bavarian bar with heated seats and festive food to keep visitors going. Perfect for those chilly, late night Thursday shopping trips when traders will be open until 9pm.
The popular giant snow globe returns to the middle of Armada Gardens from 17 November to 23 December – allowing visitors to take photos and selfies for great festive memories.
The city centre Nutcracker Trail is back, along with a new waterfront Snowflake Trail, both running from 17 November until 3 January and offering great prizes. Santa and his little helpers will be meeting children in his Grottos at Drake’s Circus from 17 November to Christmas Eve. Following Christmas 2015’s smash hit sell-out run, The Radiant Christmas Grotto is back once more from 3 December to 23 December in Derry’s Cross.
The Royal William Yard is to host its Good Food market on 6 November selling some of the region’s best foods, with recipe ideas and tasty treats galore. The Christmas Wonderland market will also be at the Yard on 4 December where Santa will arrive on an RNLI Lifeboat. In addition, there will be live music on the water from Amelia Whitman and festive Christmas experiences presented by Far-Flung Theatre Group.
Small Business Saturday on 3 December will see local traders unite at Frankfort Gate to show off more unique, hand-crafted gifts and a fairground will be in the Civic Piazza running from 14 November until the New Year.
Just a short walk away is like stepping back in time as the cobbled streets of The Barbican and Waterfront play host to more festive fun.
On 19 and 20 November actors and stage performers will bring the classic tale ‘A Christmas Carol’ to life with visitors able to follow Ebenezer Scrooge through the atmospheric, winding streets to meet his past, present and future.
The interactive tours will run every hour from 12 to 4pm from the Tourist Information Centre and can be booked online through Eventbrite.
A host of events are planned for the weekend of 19 and 20 November with everything from a snow-making machine and real Reindeer to Santa arriving on the city’s RNLI lifeboat before turning on the Barbican lights at the Parade triangle.
Then, on 24 November, The Barbican will host a special Illuminated lantern parade commemorating Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims’ voyage to the New World.
So, with the city’s High Street favourites, designer labels, unique independent retailers, art galleries and antique markets, Christmas shoppers will be spoilt for choice.
And with everything from Reindeer, Elf-driven trains, Scrooge, carols, fabulous illuminations and a host of great entertainment for the whole family – it’s Plymouth Ho Ho Ho all the way.