Preview: Day of festivities today ahead of 5pm Christmas tree light-up

Crowds are expected to gather for this year's Christmas tree lights switch-on.

Crowds are expected to gather for this year's Christmas tree lights switch-on. - Credit: Archant

Christmas begins in earnest in Ipswich today as the town’s lights are switched on.

Mayor Bill Quinton will do the honours at 5pm from the Town Hall steps, helped by youngsters from Suffolk Family Carers, to round off a day of entertainment.

Among the atrractions across the town centre are street artists, fairground rides, panto stars and carol singers.

Two festive markets will are being held for those looking to get ahead on their Christmas shopping. There will be more than 30 stalls in the St Peter’s Street craft and vintage market, running 10am to 4pm, as well as a craft and gift fair at St Peter’s by the Waterfront church for the same time.

Stalls will be open along Princes Street, Queens Street, St Nicholas Street, and Cromwell Square.

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Cast members from the Regent Theatre’s Cinderella pantomime will be on the Cornhill to pose for pictures with the public, while Ipswich Film Theatre presents animation classic Arthur Christmas at 2pm.

Ipswich Borough Council has cut the price of all-day parking today to just £1 in all its town centre car parks, while park and ride users can take advantage of free travel into town every Sunday in the run-up to Christmas, thanks to a partnership with Suffolk County Council.

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The switch-on takes place at 5pm tonight at Ipswich Town Hall and market square.

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