Updated: Sunday, 18th November 2018 @ 8:20am

Santa sitting proud as Manchester gets ready for start of the festive period

Santa sitting proud as Manchester gets ready for start of the festive period

| By Michael Berry

Manchester's Christmas lights switch-on tomorrow will mark the start of the festive season in the city centre.

The Christmas lights switch on takes place between 7.30pm and 11pm in Albert Square and will feature live music, food, drink and various styles of entertainment.

Following the switching on of the lights, a firework display will light up the night sky for the thousands of visitors expected at the event.

Last year's line up included DJ Sigala, who is best known for his Jackson Five samples and will return this year.

DJ Jonas Blue will head the line-up and push the button for the switch on while musical talent Max George will sing his way through the night.

Celebrity guests are going to be in attendance including the star of Harry Potter, The Fast Show and Doctor Who, Mark Williams, who is starring in the stage show Doctor Dolittle at the Lowry.

Security will be on site throughout the evening and it is recommended that bags are not brought to the event as visitors and bags will be searched.

One of the highlights is the Christmas Market. Many stalls and huts are dotted along the walkways near to the Arndale Centre.

The food and drink huts are standing between Harvey Nichols and Debenhams, the Witch House is at the end of the walkway leading to Albert Square and will sell alcohol and more besides.

Manchester's now-legendary Santa feature was hoisted into place on 31 October by crane, and is now keeping an eye on all the activity taking place several feet below.

The Christmas market is due to start on November 9th with visitors having the opportunity to taste a whole variety of food and buy merchandise and souvenirs from around the world.

Transport to all the festivities in Manchester can be made by road with plenty of parking around the city available while trains and the Metrolink provide the best option for visitors.

It will be very busy, so arriving in plenty of time is advisable. The event is free so it will be very popular.

This will be the last time that the market and lights event takes place in front of the Town Hall for the foreseeable future, due to the restoration of the building and changing of the area to a pedestrian-only zone.

Image courtesy of Silver Arrow Photography, with thanks.