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As part of a celebration of lights, the start of Christmas in Portsmouth's main shopping areas will be officially marked this month as Love Island's Amy Hart hosts the Christmas Lights Switch On events across the city.

The countdown begins on Thursday 18 November with the Commercial Road Lights Switch On and the opening of the We Shine Art and Light Festival where the streets and buildings of Portsmouth will be transformed into a night-time gallery.  The Portsmouth Christmas Market and the festive edition of the We Create Market will also open for late night shopping.

In Southsea, the Lights Switch On is taking place on 25 November and in Cosham on 2 December.

All events will feature Amy Hart alongside her pantomime stars from the Kings Theatre’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk and performances from local children before the switch on and glittering snowflake finale. The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth will also be in attendance.  The Lights Switch On events have been sponsored by Gamma Telecom.

Councillor Ben Dowling, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and City Development, said:

” I am delighted that our traditional switch on events are back. Come and join in the sparkling festive fun and start your Christmas shopping by rediscovering Portsmouth’s shops, businesses and local makers.”

The Portsmouth Christmas Market of decorated wooden cabins will be selling festive treats such as German sausages, glühwein, Christmas stockings, tree decorations and gifts. The We Create Market will be in the old Sainsbury’s and be brimming with local makers, designers, and artists. There will be more markets in Palmerston Road with the France at Home Market on 28 November and Love Southsea Market every weekend in December.

The ice rink in Guildhall Square, which includes a canopy for guaranteed skating whatever the weather, will be open from Saturday 27 November 2021 until Sunday 9 January 2022.

Portsmouth City Council will be following government guidelines to keep the events safe. All attendees are encouraged to take a lateral flow test within the 48 hours before the event and to wear a face covering if using public transport.

To find out more about what’s on in Portsmouth visit

Event Listings

  • Lights Switch On: 18 Nov in Commercial Road
  • We Shine Art & Light Festival: 18 -20 Nov in various streets in Portsmouth
  • Portsmouth Christmas Market: 18 Nov – 31 Dec in Commercial Road
  • We Create Market: 18 – 21 Nov in Slindon Street, City Centre
  • Lights Switch On: 25 Nov in Palmerston Road, Southsea
  • Portsmouth on Ice: 27 Nov -9 Jan in Guildhall Square
  • France at Home Market: 28 Nov in Palmerston Road Southsea
  • Lights Switch On: 2 Dec in High Street, Cosham
  • Hotwalls Christmas Market: 4 – 5 December in Old Portsmouth
  • Love Southsea Christmas Market: Every weekend in December except 25/26 in Palmerston Road, Southsea