Fancy spending Christmas in Ipswich this year? Good choice. Wrap up warm and get ready to enjoy all that this old English town has to offer at this festive time of year.
This guide will cover all the Christmas 2019 highlights in Ipswich including
the annual Christmas lights switch on, late night Christmas shopping, Christmas food fayres & markets, Christmas Tree festival, pantomimes, activities & events for the kids, festive menus & party nights and where to stay in Ipswich this Christmas.
So, clip on those reindeer antlers and let's go!*
Turning on the Christmas Lights
Date & time: Thursday 21st November 2019 4.30-7pm
It's that time of year when Ipswich is transformed into the most magical winter wonderland at the flick of a switch. Make sure you get there early to grab the best spot. It's going to be quite a show.
Here's what you can expect to see in 2019.
Jade Mayjean from BBC's The Voice will be performing a mix of new music from her album and Christmas classics
The cast of The Regent's pantomime Cinderella will give a sneak preview. Oh yes they will!
Father Christmas, complete with sleigh, will of course in attendance. He'll even pose for a s-elfie!
The night will culminate in The Mayor of Ipswich switching on the Christmas lights.
Please note there is limited capacity for this event and gates will close when we have reached the limit.
Late night Christmas shopping
Thursday 21st November – 23rd December
Enjoy a little evening shopping under the stars and amongst the twinkling Christmas lights. Many shops will be opening their doors until 9pm every Thursday until the 23rd December 2019. Whether searching for that special gift or buying just a few more decorations for the tree, Ipswich is the perfect place to do your late-night Christmas shopping this year.
Christmas Tree Festival
Date: 28th November – 4th December
St Mary-le-Tower,Tower Street, Ipswich, IP1 3BE
For the tenth year in a row, St Mary-le-Tower Church will welcome visitors to its Christmas Tree Festival. Last year there were 115 beautifully decorated artificial trees donated by local charities, businesses, community groups and individuals. It's free to enter and you can enjoy a good cup of coffee and a slice of home-made cake whilst admiring the festive scene (maybe picking up some decorating ideas along the way). There's plenty to keep the kids entertained too with a variety of activities.
Date & time: 7th and Sunday 8th December between 10am and 4pm
Pannington Hall Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk. IP9 2AR
A brass bands plus choir, Father Christmas, chestnuts and mulled cider. Can it get any more Christmassy? Jimmy's Farm is a must-visit at this time of year. Along with the traditional Father Christmas' Grotto there are elves, a carousel, donkey rides, live music, over 100 craft and local food stalls, hot food and much more!
Entry and parking is free but usual charges apply for the farm park. Your four-legged friend is welcome on a lead.
Trinity Park, Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP3 8UH
With over 50 different stalls selling locally sourced and hand-made festive goodies, you're sure to find something a little different for that special someone. Choose from hand-baked treats, artisan bread, chutneys and pickles, hand-made chocolates, soft furnishings, candles, wine, wreaths and other Christmas decorations. And that's just for starters, there so much more…
There will also be delicious hot food including pulled pork in pretzel buns with hand cut slaw and pickles.
Run by Suffolk Market Events, the market will be hosted in the Cattlesheds part of the park from 10am to 2pm. Entry is free.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a bit of thigh slapping pantomime fun. So, here's what Ipswich's theatres have in store for Christmas 2019.
Date: 14 December - 31 December
Ipswich Regent Theatre, 3 St. Helen's St, Ipswich IP4 1HE
Don't risk turning into a pumpkin, book your tickets now to see this classic pantomime.
All the best loved characters will be there - Buttons, the handsome Prince Charming, the Ugly Sisters (boo), the Fairy Godmother and of course, Cinderella. There's even a live band!
Plenty of festive fun for all the family.
On the 17th December there is a "relaxed performance" which means it has been adapted to reduce stress and anxiety and create a welcoming environment. It will also be a British Sign Language interpreted perfomance. To find out more, visit the theatre's website.
It may be an old tale but it's getting a 21st century makeover this year. They'll be classic songs including I'm A Believer, Papa Don't Preach, ABC plus lots of outrageous jokes, audience interaction and generous helping of slapstick.
Some fun festive activities in Ipswich for the under 10s
Date & time:Sunday, December 1 with various dates available until the day before Christmas Eve.
Kersey Mill,Kersey, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP7 6DP
Few children would turn down the opportunity of meeting Santa and helping the Christmas elves in Santa's workshop, would they? Now that dream has been turned into a reality for children aged three to ten years at Kersey Mill, Ipswich.
The hour long experience (approx) begins with a story to get everyone in a Christmassy mood then the children will head to Santa's workshop to help the elves load up Santa's sleigh. They will help mix reindeer food and take part in various other festive activities, including making a craft item that they can take home with them. There's even a sing-a-long with Santa himself.
The candy elf will give a small gift to each child together with a traditional clementine orange.
Tickets are £20 per child, which includes the entry of one adult. Additional adults cost £10 and all parking is free on site. Any children under one years old can enter free of charge.
Online there is a booking fee, but this can be avoided by ordering over the phone on 01473 829317 (available from November 25, 2019).
Whether you are looking for somewhere to eat on Christmas or Boxing Day or just fancy a festive tea or lunch in the run up to the big day, there are plenty of fabulous restaurants, bistros and pubs to choose from. Here are just a few.
Christmas at The Forge
The Forge say "Flames flickering, smoking cinnamon sticks, plates of buttery slow roasted turkey and a hint of spice in the air..."
Sounds magical doesn't it!
This popular restaurant's 2019 festive menus are available from 22nd November 2019 – 30th December 2019 (excluding Christmas Day & Boxing Day).