Newtownards Christmas Lights Switch-On!

Wednesday 23rd November 2022

Newtownards’ annual Christmas Lights Switch-On event takes place in Conway Square this Saturday together with a host of festive activities catering for all the family between 10am – 7pm!

A boy and a girl in red santa hats hold a sign promoting Christmas in Ards and North Down.

Newtownards Christmas Lights Switch-On!

Organised in partnership with Ards Chamber of Trade, there will be plenty of buzz in the town as the Christmas market returns together with festive entertainment and Santa’s Grotto at The Precinct on South Street.

High Street and South Street will be closed to traffic, enabling the Chamber to locate the local weekly market stalls on to the road in addition to a specialty Christmas market offering everything from crafts to local produce, plus handmade gifts and much more. Combined with hot food stalls and a seasonal bar, it will be a perfect opportunity to do some traffic-free Christmas shopping while soaking up the Christmas atmosphere.

There will be entertainment throughout the day in Conway Square too with the String Ninjas and captivating festive performers adding to the atmosphere. They will bring that magic Christmas touch in the lead up to the switch-on of the Christmas tree lights at 5pm by Santa and the Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Karen Douglas.

Road closures: Road closures will be in place from 6pm on Friday 25 November until 10pm on Saturday 26 November to South Street, High Street and Meeting House Lane.

Getting here: We expect the town to be busy; plan your journey ahead of time. Please note there is no plan to close car parks to accommodate this event. Please take public transport if possible. Newtownards Bus Station is located approximately 5 to 10 minutes walk from Conway Square and the town centre. For information on bus timetables, visit

Accessibility: A small area set aside for those with accessibility needs will be available for use, with viewing access to the stage and the Christmas tree. This will be available on a first come basis only on the day. Once at capacity it will be closed off. Mobiloo will also be in attendance.

Event will run 10am-7pm. Event is free to attend, but charges apply for purchases such as food, drink and children’s rides.

Seasonal Shops and Exhibitions 

A pop-up Christmas Shop has returned to North Down Museum until Sunday 8 January. Open from 10am-4pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays, as well as 12noon-4pm on Sundays, the Museum’s contemporary galleries will be filled with beautiful handmade products from local artists and crafters.

In addition, a unique late-night Christmas shopping event will take place at the museum on Thursday 24 November from 7-9pm. The Christmas vendors will open late while music, demonstrations and artist talks will add to the atmosphere!

In Newtownards, the Creative Peninsula Christmas pop-up shop and Winter Exhibition at Ards Arts Centre will operate from Saturday 26 November until Friday 16 December. Open 10am-4pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays, with late night opening until 9pm on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 December, visitors can browse the Christmas shop as well as a variety of artworks on display from some of the finest artists and crafters in the Borough.

Festive Events and Family Fun

Tickets are available for several festive shows throughout December. On Thursday 1 December, The Ulster Consort presents A Ceremony of Carols at 7pm in Bangor Castle. Enjoy an extended choral composition for Christmas by Benjamin Britten, scored for three-part treble chorus, solo voices and harp. Tickets cost £15 (plus booking fee) and are available from

On Saturday 10 December, Santa’s Sooty Christmas by Centre Stage Theatre will offer plenty of family fun at Queen’s Hall, Newtownards, at 2pm and 6pm. This jolly Christmas pantomime tells the tale of Rudi the cheerful chimney sweep who is cleaning all the chimneys to make sure they are ready for Santa. This hilarious Christmas tale comes complete with catchy songs and simple effects. Tickets cost £6 (plus booking fee) and are available from

You can also enjoy a weekend of free festive fun at Project 24 over Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December, between 12noon and 4pm, with a Christmas special Market Fresh, Santa, jolly performances, merry crafts and more!

For information about all Christmas events in the Borough, including a list of Christmas switch-ons, go to Christmas in Ards and North Down - Ards & North Down (

Photo caption: Local children Clara and Arthur Kelly are getting into the Christmas spirit in Ards and North Down. (Image: Simon Graham)