Christmas kicks off in Barnstaple this year with a guarantee that neither rain nor ice will disrupt the big light switch on festivities.

Barnstaple High Street Christmas lights are all set to sparkle following the big switch on in the Pannier Market on November 28. Picture: Bob CollinsBarnstaple High Street Christmas lights are all set to sparkle following the big switch on in the Pannier Market on November 28. Picture: Bob Collins

This year the main night on the town calendar organised by Barnstaple Town Centre Management has moved inside to the Pannier Market but promises to be as entertaining as ever.

The evening of free, festive, family fun on Thursday, November 28 heralds the start of a packed programme of events for the town in the run up to Christmas.

The ever-popular switch on will be held on the first of Barnstaple's late night shopping evenings.

The usual magical, festive mix of entertainment and music will start on the stage at 5pm until the countdown to the big switch on at 6.45pm.

Before the main lights are illuminated, there will be a chance to support the North Devon Hospice and Children's Hospice South West's Light up a Life campaign in association with the Gazette as a special star is lit up to mark the launch of the appeal.

There will then be a sneak preview of what to expect from Snow White, this year's spectacular Queen's Theatre pantomime, as some of the stars are joined by Hopps and Chapple, Seth Conway and the winners of The Voice's community hero competition on the stage to push the plunger and light up the town.

Hopps and Chapple will be interviewing the three finalists and revealing the winner live on stage.

So get your Christmas started by enjoying the magic and sparkle of stalls, rides, a giant snow globe and special festive guests.

You could even take part in the new Elf Trail - find the mischievous elves that are causing chaos in some of our shops and win some fantastic prizes.

Queen Anne's Café is hosting a special Christmas Fayre and Santa himself will be arriving on a traction engine at 3.45pm before heading off to his grotto in Green Lanes.

The cafe will also be showing the Polar Express film with proceeds going to Children's Hospice South West, tickets available from the café.

The Pannier Market will be open for late night shopping on December 12 and 19 and on Sunday, December 15 and 22 there will be additional dates offering a variety of stalls bursting with treasures.

All through the Christmas season, visit and see the beautiful Christmas wreaths which have been decorated by local businesses, charities and community groups.

For all the Christmas events, go to www.barnstaple.co.uk or Barnstaple it's a Must Facebook page.