Belfast Christmas Lights Switch-On 2018: here's everything you need to know

The festive season is now upon us, and Belfast is about to get into the spirit with the switch-on of the Christmas Lights for 2018.

The city will be getting into the swing of the season with an entertainment filled evening of live music, mini shows and traditional carols taking place in front of Belfast City Hall ahead of the big switch-on.

The Christmas lights switch-on will take place on Saturday 17 November in front of Belfast City Hall

The Christmas lights switch-on will take place on Saturday 17 November in front of Belfast City Hall

The event will take place this Saturday (17 Nov), with plenty of spectators set to turn out to kick-start the countdown to Christmas.

What are the timings on the night?

The Christmas lights switch-on will take place on Saturday 17 November, from 6:30pm to 7:30pm in front of Belfast City Hall.

Gates on the evening will open at 6pm, with live entertainment on stage from this time.

Belfast Christmas Market will open at 12pm on Saturday 17 December, offering visitors festive treats and gifts

Belfast Christmas Market will open at 12pm on Saturday 17 December, offering visitors festive treats and gifts

What’s the ticket situation?

The Christmas lights switch-on is a free to attend, ticketed event.

All tickets for the night have already been allocated.

Tickets must be downloaded and printed to be shown at the gate. An email confirmation will not be accepted.

Who is switching on the Belfast Christmas lights?

The evening will be hosted by Q Radio's breakfast team, Stephen and Cate, with mini shows and traditional carols held before the big switch-on.

The Lord Mayor and Councillor Deirdre Hargey will be attending to light up the city, accompanied by Paw Patrol's Skye and Marshall, Fireman Sam and Norman Price, as well as TV presenter Andy Day.

Which roads are closed?

Traffic diversions will be in operation in and around City Hall from Thursday 15 to Sunday 18 November.

Travellers should follow the alternative route signage eastbound and northbound from the city centre as directed.

Visit Translink for up-to-date Metro and Glider service routes.

What entertainment is on offer?

A Santa procession will be held earlier in the day, leaving Writers Square at 11:30am and making its way along Royal Avenue to CastleCourt for 12:30pm. The event is free to attend and no booking is required.

The cast of Elf the Musical will be performing live on stage at the Royal Avenue cordon from 2pm to 3pm, where there will also be circus performers and seasonal samba.

Musical performances from the Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra will then take place from 3pm to 5pm.

What food and drink is available?

Belfast Christmas Market will open its doors at 12pm on Saturday, located against the backdrop of Belfast City Hall.

Visitors can tuck into an authentic feast of festive cuisine, including hog roast, baklava crepes, speciality cheeses and hot Glühwein, and shop for handcrafted goods at the many gift stalls.

There will also be a Santa's grotto and a post box for children to post Christmas wishes to the North Pole beside the market, as well as an array of fairground rides, including a vintage carousel and a helter skelter.

What’s the parking situation?

Parking restrictions will be in place in Donegall Place and Upper Arthur Street from 11pm on Friday 16 November, until 11pm on Saturday 17 November.