As the build up gets earlier and earlier each year, Kingston’s Christmas lights switch on is set for a respectable mid-November date, with a Dickensian town centre takeover.

A Christmas Carol theme, complete with Victorian street magicians, sideshows and travelling circus performers will be among the entertainment to kick start the borough's festive season.

The fun will go hand in hand with the Rose Theatre’s production of Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic and celebrations will take people back in time as well-known characters wander the Ancient Market Place.

Last year’s event saw 50,000 people visit the town centre to see the lights being switched on.

A spokesman for town centre manager Kingstonfirst said: “Entertainment will be plentiful from the roguish chaps of the Fanshaw Emporium who can read your minds and intrigue, to the finest and funniest order to Acafella a six-piece male vocal group, who will delight visitors with a modern twist on traditional Christmas carols.

“An array of characters from the novel will also take to the streets, from Tiny Tim to Ebenezer Scrooge.”

Travelling circus the Caravan of Lost Souls will also showcase fire stilts, chimps, a contortionist and a circus specialist, while the magnificent Betty Balloon who creates characters out of balloon sculptures will capture the imagination of audiences with fine storytelling.

The festivities are set for November 19 from 3pm with the big switch on at 6pm.

Visitors will then be able to sample the delights of the Kingston Christmas Market, which will also open on the day and run until Christmas Eve.

  • Will you be heading to the big switch on? Send an email to or call 02087226368