Blackburn with Darwen Council in partnership with Blackburn BID have announced a packed programme of festive fun for Christmas 2018 kicking off with the Christmas Lights’ Switch On Show on Saturday 24th November 2018.

Blackburn’s BIG Christmas, sees a Christmas Market take over Cathedral Square stuffed with food, drink and entertainment. The four-week market will bring traditional log cabins to the new event space behind the Cathedral and will be open 7 days a week from Thursday 29th November. It’s the first time Blackburn has hosted this style of market which will also see late night openings from Thursday and into the weekend for visitors to enjoy some warming Christmas evening fun.

Other highlights include:
The Blackburn Christmas Parade with magical princes and princesses, mischievous elves, giant stilt walkers and, of course, an appearance from the main man himself, Father Christmas, will add some Christmas sparkle to the town centre with an enchanted finale in Cathedral Square.

A new event to Blackburn will see hundreds of ‘dashers’ suit-up as Father Christmas for a family-friendly charity Santa Dash around the town centre. People of all abilities are invited to take part, including experienced runners, beginners taking on their first 5k challenge or a family looking to get active – this event is open to all, including your dogs! The speedy Santas will be raising funds for the NW Air Ambulance.

The Blackburn Festival of Light returns on Saturday 15th December and will see hundreds of lanterns paraded across the town, with dazzling drummers, fire performers and incredible illuminated structures. People of all ages are encouraged top take part in lantern making workshops taking place in the run up to the event in locations across the town including Blackburn. The parade follows the Annual Community Carol Service at the Cathedral and ends with spectacular performances and fireworks at the Town Hall. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a unique Light Installation inside the Cotton Exchange building.

Nicola Clayton, Chair of Blackburn BID, said:

“Blackburn’s Big Christmas will be bigger and better than ever this year with something for everyone but with a real local feel, supporting and promoting the best of Blackburn. Kicking off with the Christmas Lights’ Switch on in partnership with Rock FM, we have the new Christmas Markets on Cathedral Square coming to Blackburn Town Centre, a Christmas parade performed by our very own Blackburn based business, Pop up Entertainment, the first town centre Santa Dash and the biggest Festival of Light yet. Only a few weeks to wait before the markets arrive following the Christmas Lights switch-on event. I can hear the sleigh bells already. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!”

Phil Riley, Executive member for Regeneration at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said:

“Blackburn looks set to have a packed programme of Christmas events this year as well as a whole host of additional festive attractions. The Christmas Market is an exciting venture for the town and we hope it will attract visitors from a wide area.”

Loraine Jones, General Manager of The Mall Blackburn, added:

“The Mall is excited to be working in partnership on this year’s festive programme and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors from all over the North West for our excellent range of shops and restaurants. It’s an exciting time of year and Blackburn has lots to offer.”

The Christmas events are being supported in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Blackburn Businesses Improvement District and The Mall.

For the full Blackburn BIG Christmas programme, people can find all the details on visitblackburn.co.uk and all the main town centre social media accounts.

The Full Programme

Sat Nov 24th – Christmas Lights’ Switch On – Blackburn Town Hall from 2pm

This free event hosted by Rock FM, kicks of the winter festivities in style with live music and activity culminating in the illumination of the trees and lights across the town.

Sat Nov 17th & 24th, Dec 1st & 8th – Lantern Making Workshops – Blackburn Market – 11am to 4pm
Sun Nov 18th & 25th, Dec 2nd & 9th – Lantern Making Workshops – The Bureau Centre for the Arts – 11am to 4pm
Come and join in a lantern making workshop with a professional lantern artist to create a beautiful paper and willow lantern for the Lantern Parade on Saturday 15th December. These sessions are open to all, suitable for age 5-95, and are free, though there is a suggested donation of £3. Not compulsory to come with a child!! This is a messy gluey activity, so please wear suitable clothing.
Make an individual lantern to take home after the parade or get together with a group to create a giant lantern as a group. Finish in a day or come back each week.

Fri 2nd Nov – 14th Dec (Every Friday) – Light Up Dance Performance Group – The Bureau Centre for the Arts – 5.30-7.30pm
Join Gillian Burns, community dance artist to explore ways of moving in the parade and to create a piece of community light up dance to showcase at the festival of Light! Must be available to participate on Saturday 15th December Open to adults and children, dancers and non-dancers. Free to attend.

Sat Nov 24th and Dec 1st – 22nd – Get Crafty – Blackburn Museum – 12pm – 4pm
Running every Saturday, these free craft sessions are drop-in and are unsupervised by museum staff. All children must be supervised by an adult. They are aimed at children from toddler age to 12 years. The crafts will take about 20-30 minutes and the children can take home whatever craft they make.

Nov 29th – Dec 23rd – Blackburn Christmas Markets – Cathedral Quarter – 10.30am – 6pm, 7 days per week.
In addition to our fantastic indoor market, this year will see the debut of Blackburn Christmas Markets. With a Bavarian Village feel and authentic German chalets nestled comfortably within our award-winning Cathedral Quarter. It will be bustling with stalls selling novelty and craft items, as well as boasting a delicious food and drinks offer, music and attractions; making the markets a place to meet with friends for lunch or to unwind after work, as well as a place for some serious Christmas gift buying.

Sat Dec 1st – Performance of Handel’s “Messiah” – Blackburn Cathedral, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Blackburn Music Society’s annual performance in the cathedral will this year be candlelit with a baroque orchestra. To book tickets please visit http://blackburnmusicsociety.org.uk

Sat Dec 1st – Blackburn’s Christmas Parade 2018 – King William Street to Cathedral Square, 11am & 2pm

Blackburn Council in partnership with Pop Up Entertainment invite you to Blackburn’s Christmas Parade. With a collection of festive themed Princes and Princesses, cheeky elves and of course Father Christmas, the people of Blackburn will have the opportunity to start the festive season with a bang! This will be a magical festive experience for all the family.

Mon Dec 3rd & Tue Dec 4th – Children for Children at Christmas Blackburn Cathedral – 6.30pm to 7.30pm
Concerts given by children from local schools

Wed Dec 5th – Lancashire Fire and Rescue Family Carol Service – Blackburn Cathedral – 7:30pm to 9:30pm

Thu Dec 6th – Cinderella on Ice – Blackburn Planet Ice Arena – 1pm & 7pm
Join Show & Skate for a magical retelling of the classic story, Cinderella – fairy Godmother, glass slippers, carriages made up of pumpkins and other such delights await on the ice.
Tickets from £7.

Fri Dec 7th – Derian House, “Lights of Love” Carol Service – Blackburn Cathedral – 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Sat Dec 8th – Father Frost – The Bureau Centre for the Arts – 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Join performance storyteller, Emily Hennessey, for a wild and wonderful Winter’s journey through a world of Old Peter’s Russian Tales, collected by Arthur Ransome. Suitable for old and young alike. (Recommended minimum age 8+) For tickets visit: www.bureaublackburn.co.uk

Sat Dec 8th – Moonira Hinglotwala – Blackburn Market
We are delighted to be hosting a cooking demonstration by Blackburn’s very own MasterChef finalist and Woman of the Year 2018, Moonira Hinglotwala. Come and see Moonira cook up some festive delights, you may even be lucky enough to sample some of the tasty treats. Recipe cards will be available for you to try the recipes home and impress your friends! For more information visit, www.blackburnmarket.com

Sun Dec 9th – Blackburn Santa Dash – Cathedral Square – 11am to 1pm
Ho ho ho…hold on to your Santa hats as you dash around the streets of Blackburn! If you’re an experienced runner looking for some festive fun, a beginner taking on the 5k challenge or a family looking to get active – this event is open to all, including your dogs! Take part have fun and enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling of helping others this festive season. All money raised this year will go to the North West Air Ambulance Charity, who help to save lives. £10 adults, £5 children, under 5’s and dogs are FREE! This festive event is a popular one, book early to secure your place. For more information and to register, visit: https://nwaa.net/event/blackburnsantadash.

Dec 9th – Dec 31st – Sleeping Beauty The Pantomime – King Georges’ Hall, various times
King George’s Hall present Sleeping Beauty the Pantomime…oh yes they do! Set in a magical castle deep in the forest, a beautiful sleeping Princess cursed by a wicked fairy awaits her rescue from a handsome prince. But she is not alone, the good fairies, yes, we’ve got lots of them, will see that her rescuer will break the spell. True to panto form they’ll be brilliant goodies and baddies, singing, dancing, acrobatics, a wedding and a happy ever after! For all performance times, ticket prices and to book tickets visit: www.kinggeorgeshall.com

Mon Dec 10th – East Lancashire Hospice, “Light up a Life” Carol Service – Blackburn Cathedral, 7:30pm to 9:30pm

Tue Dec 11th – “The Snowman” and “The Bear” – Blackburn Cathedral, 3 shows: 1.45pm, 4.00pm and 7.00pm
Come along and experience the magic of these films on a big screen with a live orchestra accompanying them. Tickets available via TicketQuarter from £10.80: http://www.carrotproductions.com/tour-dates.html

Fri Dec 14th – Thank God It’s Christmas! w/ Queenesque – Electric Church – 7:30pm
Celebrate Christmas with your friends & colleagues with live music from “QUEENESQUE” playing all the hits of Queen and ‘MAY’ also play the odd Christmas Classic to create a night that’s A KIND OF MAGIC. For Advanced Bookings or large number enquiries without booking fees email: info@electricchurch.club

Fri 14th, Sat 15th & Sun Dec 16th – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – Blackburn Cathedral, 7:30pm
Presented by The Blackburn Cathedral Community Theatre Group in the South Transept; Tickets priced £10 (concessions £5) are available from 07971 881576 or online from: www.blackburncathedral.com

Sat 15th Dec – Illuminated Prints – Blackburn Museum – 10am to 4pm
Back by popular demand. In this workshop you will take inspiration from the Museum’s collection of Illuminated Manuscripts and create your own block prints which you will illuminated with bold colour and metallic foil. Your limited-edition prints make lovely artwork or the perfect seasonal gift, £40. https://blackburnmuseum.org.uk

Sat Dec 15th – Blackburn with Darwen Community Carol Service – Blackburn Cathedral – 3.30 to 4.30pm
All are welcome to this firm, festive favourite for all the family to enjoy.

Sat Dec 15th – Blackburn Festival of Light – Ainsworth Street 4:30pm, Town Hall Square 6pm
Light up your festive season by being part of the Festival of Light. Make your lanterns in advance and meet at 4:30pm on Ainsworth Street. The parade will begin at 5pm ending on King William Street around 6pm. Here you can expect to be dazzled by the festival activity; think samba bands, dancing, and fire performers culminating in a spectacular firework display.

Blackburn Festival of Light needs volunteers – come and join the team, have fun and make a positive difference to your town. Lots of different opportunities available from working with artists, to stewarding, providing help with social media to film and photography. Get in touch with leonie@blackburnfestivaloflight.co.uk for more information.

Sat Dec 15th – Light Installation – Cotton Exchange, 4pm to 8pm
Artist Jen Kagan has worked with local young people to produce a light based artwork in response to the wonderful architecture and heritage of the Cotton Exchange. For more information visit: www.superslowway.org.uk

Dec 17th – Nine Lessons and Carols for Schools Blackburn Cathedral, 6.30 – 8.00pm, all welcome.

Dec 15th – Blackburn People’s Choir – Blackburn Market & King William Street
This community choir are back by popular demand. The 95 strong, a cappella group put on a fantastic show. They are set to raise the roof with their choral interpretations of timeless and seasonal classics.

Nov 23rd – Dec 24th – Christmas Shopping at The Mall
The Mall, Blackburn
The countdown to Christmas has officially begun; it’s time to shop ‘til you drop! Take the time to browse, soak up the festive atmosphere and find the perfect gifts for your loved ones this Christmas. For those who take a more laid-back approach, The Mall will close at 4.30pm on Christmas Eve – don’t be left out in the cold! For more information visit: https://www.themall.co.uk/blackburn/whats-on/2018/christmas-opening-times-2018/

Christmas Opening Times 2018
Date Trading hours

Friday 23rd November 08:00 – 18:00 Black Friday
Saturday 24th November 09:00 – 19:00 Light Switch On
Monday 26th November 08:00 – 18:00 Cyber Monday
Thursday 6th December 09:00 – 20:00 Late night shopping
Thursday 13th December 09:00 – 20:00 Late night shopping
Wednesday 19th December 09:00 – 20:00 Late night shopping
Thursday 20th December 09:00 – 20:00 Late night shopping
Friday 21st December 09:00 – 20:00 Late night shopping
Saturday 22nd December 09:00 – 20:00 Late night shopping
Sunday 23rd December 10:30 –16:30 Normal trading hours
Monday 24th December 09.00 –16:30 Christmas Eve
Tuesday 25th December CLOSED Christmas Day

Sun Dec 23rd – A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols – Blackburn Cathedral, 7.30 – 9.00pm
The Cathedral’s Main Carol Service, sung by the Cathedral Choir.
Mon Dec 24th – Christmas Eve – Blackburn Cathedral
Carols Round the Crib, 4.00 – 5.00pm
Midnight Mass, 11.30pm The First Eucharist of Christmas 2018

Tue Dec 25th – Christmas Day – Blackburn Cathedral
Parish Eucharist, 9.00am
Sung in the North Transept by the Young People’s Choir
Cathedral Eucharist, 10.30am Sung by the Cathedral Choir

Dec 26th – Jan 2nd – The Sales
Sale shoppers on your marks, get set, go! The Mall opening hours from Boxing Day to New Year’s Day:
Wednesday 26th December 09:00 – 17:30 Boxing Day (normal trading hours)
Thursday 27th December 09:00 – 17:30 Normal trading hours
Friday 28th December 09:00 – 17:30 Normal trading hours
Saturday 29th December 09:00 – 17:30 Normal trading hours
Sunday 30th December 10:30 –16:30 Normal trading hours
Monday 31st December 09:00 – 16:30 New Year’s Eve
Tuesday 1st January CLOSED New Year’s Day

Mon Dec 31st – NEW YEAR’S EVE “CHAMPAGNE” CONCERT – Blackburn Cathedral – 7pm

A “Cello-Bration” for New Year’s Eve; Music for cello(s) and piano. Tickets: £10 (under 16’s free) from King George’s Hall Box Office in person or Tel: 08448 471664

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