It’s finally that time of the year when Christmas lights dazzle crowds and shoppers in town centres and shopping arcades across Dorset.

The Covid-19 pandemic meant that festive celebrations were scaled-back or cancelled in 2020, but this year communities are preparing to host events once again.

Below is a list of some of the Christmas light switch-ons happening across the area.

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Bournemouth's Christmas Tree Wonderland 

The beloved event returns to the town from Friday, November 19 to Sunday, January 2. Back by popular demand, the event includes the 60ft feature tree in the heart of the Lower Gardens. Visitors will be led by a trail from Lansdowne to the Triangle through the gardens to the seafront and can enjoy the 10m Changing Tree of Light, a cascading waterfall, giant reindeer, gingerbread people, polar bears, a giant bauble and trees representing cities from around the globe including the Moscow Tree will also return to Pier Approach.

Corfe Castle

The Corfe Castle Christmas Lights Big Switch On will take place Saturday, December 4.

Join the Christmas Festivities Committee and celebrate the switching on of the village Christmas Lights — there may even be a special guest!

This event will be marshalled and drivers are requested to take due care.


Christmas returns to Brewery Square in Dorchester with its annual lights illumination and the return of Skating In The Square on Sunday, November 28 from 4pm.

Organisers say they have ‘an exciting line up’ as part of the annual celebrations including live music, entertainment, mulled wine, lights illumination, performances, late-night shopping and more.

Tickets for Skating In The Square Dorchester can be purchased in advance.

The event's entertainment with timings as follows:

4pm – Weymouth Concert Brass

5pm – ~ ZE TRIO! ~

5:30pm – Brewery Square's lights on show

6:00pm – Lights on!

6:10pm – ~ ZE TRIO! ~

7:00pm - Twirl Academy

Lyme Regis

The seaside town will switch on its festive lights with a ‘spectacular’ event involving lantern workshops, lantern competition and an illuminated carnival on Saturday, November 27.

The Christmas Illuminated Carnival parade at 5pm will see a parade of lanterns, majorettes and Father Christmas down Broad Street to the Christmas tree at Bell Cliff.

The Christmas lights will be switched on at 5.30pm and Santa mixing with crowds after the switch on shortly after. Lyme Morris Dancers will also be performing.

Poole’s big Christmas light switch-on

The event at Poole Quay takes place on Saturday, November 20.

The family-friendly event, hosted by Poole BID, will feature face-painting and entertainment acts starring Love Soul Choir amongst others, plus snow and bubble machines in Falkland Square.

It will run between 11.30am and 5.30pm.

 Father Christmas will make several guest appearances throughout the afternoon on the Quay along with his elves and real reindeer too.


The Shaftesbury Late Night Spectacular promises to be a fun evening of music and entertainment to herald the switching on of the town’s Christmas lights.

The fun starts at 5pm with the switch-on at 6.30pm followed by live music and entertainment.


The town’s Christmas Light Illuminations takes place this year on Saturday, November 27. The lights switch-on takes place between 3pm and 4.30pm.


The festive lights will be officially switched on at 4pm on Saturday, November 27, and it is hoped around 2,000 elves will gather in an attempt to beat the record for the most in one place.

During the day, a variety of elf workshops and activities will take place throughout the town centre from 10am prior to Christmas lights being switched on at 4pm.

There will also be an elf trail at the Palm House Cafe, in Commercial Road, and a screening of Will Ferrell's 'Elf' movie at Cineworld in Weymouth.

It is when the lights are switched on at 4pm that organisers are calling for people to be dressed as elves in the town with the aim of reaching 2,000 - which would be enough to beat the current record of 1,790, according to organisers.

Organisers have called on residents and tourists alike to ‘don their best elf hats and costumes and help us put Weymouth on the Christmas map’.

People can take their own elf outfits or children can have a go at making their own at one of the workshops on the day.