Stars of Northampton pantos join in the festive celebrations at the town's Christmas lights switch on

Lydia Lucy, who appeared in X Factor, is one of the stars of panto at The Deco this year
Lydia Lucy, who appeared in X Factor, is one of the stars of panto at The Deco this year

Northampton will be transformed into a "snowy Lapland" for the annual Christmas town centre celebrations, the borough council has announced.

A series of family-friendly activities are planned throughout November and December, starting on Saturday November 18 with the Christmas lights switch-on.

The cast of the panto at The Deco in Northampton

The cast of the panto at The Deco in Northampton

Taking place on the Market Square, festivities start at 2pm with fun performances from the casts of the Royal & Derngate’s Aladdin, the Deco’s Peter Pan and the Looking Glass Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast pantomimes.

Panto stars Jaymi Hensely and Lydia Lucy will later join two of the Leisure Trust’s recent Sports Award winners, as they switch on the Christmas lights at 5pm. Emily Williams, the Young Sportswoman of the year and Susan Corless, the Local Sportswoman of the year, will have the honour of switching on the town’s lights.

The festive celebrations continue on Sunday, December 3 with the annual Frost Fair and Christmas parade returning to the Market Square. Stalls at the fair will be offering unique gifts, handmade cards and decorations and a range of seasonable food and drink between 11am and 4pm. The Christmas parade will begin at The Deco Theatre at 1pm and will follow Santa’s journey around the town centre, before completing his rounds on the market square stage, ready for a good old sing-song.

Families will also get an icy surprise on December 3 as the Igloo Cinema opens in the Grosvenor Centre at 11am. The 360-degree cinema will showcase three fun and educational Christmas films, every day until December 22. Santa will be on hand each Saturday too, to welcome people to the cinema hub and pose for a selfie or two.

Susan Corless, winner of the Northamptonshire Sportswoman of the Year 2017, will switch on the Christmas lights in the town centre

Susan Corless, winner of the Northamptonshire Sportswoman of the Year 2017, will switch on the Christmas lights in the town centre

There will be plenty of opportunities to get into the Christmas spirit during December weekends. Festive food stalls will take up residence in Abington Street from Saturday, December 2, offering delicious snacks such as roasted chestnuts, hog roasts and hot dogs to help fuel your shopping trips. In addition, local community groups, church choirs and bands providing musical entertainment on the market square, every Saturday until December 16.

Abington Park museum will also be offering a range of events and workshops during the festive period, including a Christmas wreath making workshop, a Victorian Christmas celebration and a one-man play of a Christmas Carol. The will also be a two-day Christmas Fair opening on November 25, offering artisan produce and gift ideas.

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “We have been busy, working with partners to provide a jammed packed itinerary of family-fun in the town centre this Christmas.

“From lively entertainment and delicious food, to creative workshops and our fun new Igloo Cinema, there will be something to suit everyone this festive season.

“We hope to see lots of people out shopping and enjoying the events and entertainment, which all kick off with our fantastic light switch on.”

Visit our Christmas website for a full list of events and to book free cinema tickets. Or search #CelebrateNorthampton on Twitter.