Christmas fairs, an ice rink and more - 13 events to enjoy this weekend

PUBLISHED: 18:30 27 November 2019

The Christmas Tree Festival at St Mary le Tower in Ipswich. Picture: GRAHAM MEADOWS

The Christmas Tree Festival at St Mary le Tower in Ipswich. Picture: GRAHAM MEADOWS

(c) copyright

Step into Christmas! There’s a festive flavour to many events on offer this weekend, from a Christmas tree festival and pop-up ice rink to light switch-ons.

The Christmas Tree Festival at St Mary le Tower in Ipswich. Picture: GRAHAM MEADOWSThe Christmas Tree Festival at St Mary le Tower in Ipswich. Picture: GRAHAM MEADOWS

St Mary-le-Tower Grand Christmas Tree Festival, Ipswich, Thursday, November 28 to Wednesday, December 4

This very popular annual event features a huge range of trees to admire - last year there were 115 real and artificial trees, all decorated by local community groups, charities, community groups and individuals. This is the 10th annual festival. A festival cafe will be open daily, and there is also a whole programme of services, as well as activities for children. Admission is free to see the trees, but donations are welcome.

Opening times vary daily - check the event's website for full details.

Kesgrave on Ice, Rupert Fison Square near Tesco, Saturday, November 30, 10.30am-5.30pm and Sunday, December 1, 10.30am to 3pm

Get your skates on and head for the pop-up ice rink! You will be able to skate for half an hour, and all children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult on the ice - the maximum ratio is one adult per three children. Tickets cost £2.50 per person. There will also be various other attractions including a free Christmas craft table for children and the Scout Christmas Fair.

READ MORE - 4 ice rinks in Suffolk for Christmas 2019

Felixstowe Christmas Lights Switch-On, Saturday, November 30, 10am-6pm

Santa and his elves at the Felixstowe Christmas lights switch on Picture: LIONS CLUB OF FELIXSTOWESanta and his elves at the Felixstowe Christmas lights switch on Picture: LIONS CLUB OF FELIXSTOWE

There's a whole day of festive fun planned for the lights switch-on, organised by the Lions Club of Felixstowe. Hamilton Road will be closed between York Road and Bank Corner, and there will be celebrations, entertainment, live music and a Christmas craft market. The children's Candlelight Parade will start from the Orwell Hotel at 4.30pm, and lead to a special area on the Triangle, before the mayor, Nick Barber, turns on the lights at 5pm, followed by music from the Soul Project.

READ MORE - Everything you need to know about Felixstowe lights switch-on

Clare Christmas Fair, Friday, November 29, 5-8pm and Saturday, November 30, 10am-7pm

Expect a wide range of stalls and festive family entertainment at the Christmas fair, including visits by Father Christmas. Events will be taking place at St Peter and St Paul's Church, the community centre and the Cock Inn, which is putting on a beer festival and barbecue.

The lights switch-on will take place at 6pm on Saturday, on Market Hill.

St Peter's Street Christmas Market, Ipswich, Sunday, December 1, 10am-4pm

You can pick up unusual Christmas presents and enjoy the festive atmosphere at this popular annual event, with the street closed off to traffic. There will be around 35 stalls, with wide-ranging food and drink and gifts including painted furniture and lampshades. Performers will include Ipswich Hospital Band and St Helen's choir, plus various buskers, and Magpie Performers will host a nativity with two donkeys from Baylham Farm, which will also be available for visitors to pet and take photos with after the show.

Get in the festive spirit by visiting St Peters Street Christmas Market          Picture: Cathy FrostGet in the festive spirit by visiting St Peters Street Christmas Market Picture: Cathy Frost

READ MORE - St Peter's Street Christmas Market

Virtual Reality Sleigh Ride, Buttermarket Centre, Ipswich, Sunday, December 1, 11am to 5pm

The free festive activities at the shopping centre continue this weekend with a virtual reality event offering children the chance to see the world through Santa's eyes!

The experience is three minutes long, and is suitable for children aged three and over. Although there is no charge, you do need to register, either online or by signing up on the day.

You may also want to watch:

Illuminate Festival, Harwich, Friday, November 29, 5-9.30pm, Saturday, November 30, 3.30-9.30pm

This annual free festival will be a bigger event than in the past, as it is part of the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower to the New World in 2020. A torch-lit procession with giant lanterns and puppets will light up Harwich on Friday evening, with crowds gathering from 5pm, before the procession sets off at 5.45pm.

Singers at the Illuminate Festival in Harwich 2018
Picture: TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCILSingers at the Illuminate Festival in Harwich 2018 Picture: TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL

Then on Saturday there will be music from 3pm and a fireworks flight from the Fireflies at 4.15pm. Both nights will feature a range of live entertainment. There will also be projections, light shows and premieres of two films which will be projected onto seafront buildings.

READ MORE - Stunning festival to light up the shores

Old Newton Christmas Bonanza Weekend, Village Hall, Friday, November 29, 6-8pm, and Saturday, November 30, 12 noon to 4pm

The village hall will be packed with stalls selling local gifts, arts and crafts for this festive weekend, which will include music, hot food and mulled wine, as well as a Christmas raffle.

Santa and his elves will pop in on Saturday between 1 and 3pm. Admission and parking are free, but there is a £2 charge for a grotto visit, including a gift for each child.

Christmas with the Owls, Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, Stonham Barns, Saturday, November 30, 10am to Sunday, December 1, 5pm

Admission to the owls centre is free to all during the special weekend, but donations are welcome to help with the cost of the raptor hospital for injured wild birds of prey. As well as seeing the owls, children can also visit Father Christmas in his grotto - however, there is a £4 charge for this, including a gift. To avoid queuing to see Santa, you can book ahead by calling the centre on 03456 807897. There will also be various other attractions on the Stonham Barns site, including a Christmas craft fair.

Suffolk Owl Sanctuary. Picture: ANDREW MUTIMERSuffolk Owl Sanctuary. Picture: ANDREW MUTIMER

Christmas Trail, Alton Watersports Centre, Ipswich, Saturday, November 30 to December 24, 11am-3pm

The fun Christmas trail is starting this weekend, offering youngsters the chance to discover interesting nature facts along the way, and then claim a goodie bag and chocolate reward. There is a £5 charge per person.

Peter Pan, Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, Friday, November 29 to January 19

Panto time is here again, as the tale of Peter, Wendy, mermaids, pirates and an incredibly hungry crocodile arrives on stage. There are various daytime performances as well as evening shows, For full details and to book, see the Theatre Royal website.

Ipswich Christmas Farmers' Market, Cornhill, Ipswich, Sunday, December 1, 10am-2pm

This festive edition of the farmers' market will feature a selection of Christmas gifts and stocking fillers, as well as food and drink including baked cakes, local ales, hot pulled pork rolls, Indian snacks, hot chocolate and lots more.

The Songs of Paul Simon, Pop-up Choir, St Peter's by the Waterfront, Ipswich, Saturday, November 30, 7.30-9pm

In just six rehearsals, singing workshop leader Chris Rowbury has brought a group of more than 50 people from Ipswich have come together in a community choir, and will be performing songs ranging from the early Simon and Garfunkel days right across Paul Simon's solo career. They will be joined by Calling Birds, who perform a blend of guitar, violin, bass guitar, ukulele, flute, melodeon and harmony singing.

Tickets are £8 for adults, £3 for under 16s. You can book online or buy on the door.

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