SLIDESHOW: Warm winter welcome as city is packed out for lights switch-on

Thousands of people descended on Lancaster city centre on Sunday to enjoy the Christmas lights switch-on and take part in an afternoon of entertainment.

There was live music and dancing in Market Square, an ice sculptor in Market Street, and a giant snow globe in Marketgate Shopping Centre, while Lancaster Castle played host to a Santa’s Grotto and the Cairngorm reindeer.

2013 Lancaster Xmas Lights Switch on  Snow Globe fun- Charlote, Luke and Daniel Atkinson with Ryan ludlam

2013 Lancaster Xmas Lights Switch on Snow Globe fun- Charlote, Luke and Daniel Atkinson with Ryan ludlam

Santa and his reindeer then made their way down to Market Square for the big switch on.

CancerCare’s annual Santa Dash event saw a record number of participants taking to the streets of Lancaster as part of the festivities as well.

More than 250 dashers of all ages kitted out in Santa suits or reindeer antlers helped raise £4,000 for the local charity. Sisters Poppy, six, and Daisy Moon, three, raised £1,220, which won them the chance to turn on the Lancaster Christmas lights alongside Santa Claus.

Suzi Bunting, Lancaster Business Improvement (BID) manager, said: “The city centre had over 6,000 visitors throughout the day, all shopping, eating and drinking in the cafes, bars and restaurants. The night-time economy and those businesses open on Sunday all benefited.

“Lancaster brought Christmas in with style thanks to Lancaster Unlimited and BID with the warm winter welcome campaign.”