Christmas lights bring extra festive sparkle to Swanage

Characters from The Polar Express railway experience joined in the excitement at the switching on of the Christmas lights in Swanage in Dorset.

For 2023, there’s more white sparkly globes along Institute Road and extra glitter on the Christmas tree at the top of Station Road, not to mention the brand new ‘Merry Christmas Swanage’ sign by the station.

Christmas lights switch on 2023

The mayor (left) with Damian (centre), the lucky winner of the draw to swith on the Christmas lights and Culvin Milmer from Swanage Town Council (right)

Christmas lights switch on 2023

The new festive sign at Swanage station

Golden ticket to switch on the lights

The event started at 3 pm on Saturday 25th November 2023 with children able to get a golden ticket that entered them into a draw to turn on the festive lights.

Crowds gathered at the Mowlem Triangle with entertainment from The Polar Express actors who sang songs from the show that’s currently being performed on the Swanage Railway.

Also performing was popular local singer Karen Grant, whose Christmas show is on at The Mowlem in Swanage on Friday 1st December 2023.

Polar Express at Christmas lights switch on 2023

The conductor from the Polar Express entertains the crowds

Polar Express at Christmas lights switch on 2023

The Polar Express tells the story of two children who slip out of their home at night and end up on a train heading to the North Pole

Karen Grant at Christmas lights switch on 2023

Karen Grant sang Christmas hits

Lit up the town

At around 4.30 pm, as the day started to fade, the golden ticket was drawn and one lucky child was chosen from the 300 that had entered to press the magic button.

Along with the Swanage town mayor, Tina Foster, and after a couple of false starts, the Christmas lights were turned on and lit up the whole of the town centre.

Christmas lights switch on 2023

Station Road all lit up

Institute Road Christmas lights switch on 2023

Institute Road with extra sparkly globes

Christmas lights switch on 2023

More twinkle for the Christmas tree and a new ‘Merry Christmas Swanage’ sign at the station

Beach huts buzzing with ideas for Christmas

Earlier in the day, the Artisans on the Beach had opened for business in the beach huts along Shore Road on Swanage’s seafront.

With plenty of interesting and unusual Christmas presents from local artists and craftspeople, the stalls were buzzing with activity, helped by the beautiful and sunny Swanage weather.

Officially opened by the Swanage town mayor Tina Foster at midday, the Artisans on the Beach will be continuing until Sunday 31st December 2023. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, all of the 30 beach huts will be open but many will be selling their wares throughout the week too.

Artisans on the beach 2023

Declaring the Artisans on the Beach open. Left to right: Mayor’s consort Les Parkinson, Swanage town mayor Tina Foster and deputy mayor Chris Moreton

Artisans on the beach 2023

Unusual items for Christmas gifts

Artisans on the beach 2023

Seaweed art with a contemporary look

Watch the Christmas lights switch on

Further information

Santa at Christmas lights switch on 2023

Santa drops into the Christmas lights switch on before heading round the streets from Tuesday 28th November 2023 to meet all the children in Swanage, Langton Matravers and Corfe Castle

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