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Eastbourne Launches a Glittering Six Weeks of Festive Fun

14 November 2018

Eastbourne is set for a magical six weeks of festive fun, from the town’s longest running Christmas Market and a twilight Winter Light Procession, to Christmas through the ages and a dazzling animal themed light show.

Christmas at DrusillasLaunching with BoHo Winter Light Festival on Saturday 17 November, the procession of children’s handmade lanterns at twilight will signal the start of a glittering season throughout the shopping streets of Eastbourne.

From 30 November, the town centre will be filled with the colourful sights, sounds and festive spice aromas of a traditional Christmas Market, featuring 34 traditional wooden chalets, a Santa’s grotto and more than 80 hours of live entertainment.

Offering hand crafted gifts, jewellery, textiles and toys, foodie fans can also enjoy mouth-watering goodies from street food to festive home bakes, cheese bombs, mulled wine and a range of flavoured gins.

Keeping shoppers in the festive mood, entertainment includes choirs, musicians, dance groups, circus skills and even an entire pantomime performance, all ending with a Community Big Sing by Concentus on 23 December.

Markets and all the fun of the fair continue across town with Meads Magic on 30 November and Motcombe Village Fair on 1 December, while The Beacon shopping centre launches its interactive Nordic Winter Trail to meet Santa, every weekend in December.

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister said “Eastbourne really will be alive with the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas this year, with a bustling town centre and much to explore nearby. Santa really will be kept busy here on the south coast!”

Nearby at Drusillas, the award-winning zoo will be turning on its animal themed Christmas Lights from 17 November, featuring a magical ice-capped kingdom dazzling with 50,000 lights in a daily musical light show. Running until 23 December, animal fans will also have the opportunity to meet Santa’s reindeer and huskies on selected dates too.

For a glimpse at Christmas through the ages, Michelham Priory plays host to a Tudor Christmas from 1-2 December for a medieval take on Christmas festivities, following on with a Victorian Christmas and WWII Evacuees Christmas over the following two weekends.

In an entertaining history of festive cookery, TV historian, cook and writer, Dr Annie Gray, will be taking food fans through Christmas Dinner from Edward I to Edward VII on 13 December, in a fascinating talk at the Town Hall.

For something more hands-on, keen decorators can try their hand at Wreath-making on 5 December at Birling Gap Visitor Centre using natural materials collected by the ranger team, while a Sussex Christmas Craft & Design Fair at the Enterprise Centre from 1 – 2 December features workshops for needle felting and glass decoration making.

Breakfast with Santa returns to the Enterprise Centre with pancake decorating and more, while little ones can also begin their North Pole journey with the School of Elves at Knockhatch; both run every weekend from 8 – 23 December.

For guaranteed reply from the man himself, the North Pole Express Post Box will be open from 3 – 21 December at Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre, a free postal service to Santa, for children to receive authentic personalised replies. For those bogged down in wrapping, the Centre offer a gift wrapping service too, raising money for charity.

The big countdown is complete on the 25th when the Bandstand kicks off the UK’s biggest free Christmas Day Concert with Eastbourne Silver Band performing traditional carols and festive hits for thousands of music lovers at 10.30am. Free concerts continue with family favourites on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day too.

More dates for the festive diary include:

• Flint Street Nativity at The Lamb Theatre: 30 November – 2 December & 7 – 9 December
• Cinderella at the Devonshire Park Theatre: 7 December – 13 January
• The Lost Toys Big Christmas Adventure at Towner: 13 – 31 December
• Secret Santa - The Frost Files at the Royal Hippodrome: 14-16, 21-24 & 27 December – 1 January
• It’s a Wonderful Life film screening at Towner cinema: 23 December

Follow VisitEastbourne on Facebook and Twitter throughout December for festive tips from local businesses on decorating, baking and much more.

To book a festive break or for a free downloadable Christmas calendar of events visit

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