GET into the festive spirit by going to a Christmas lights switch on event in Basildon, Billericay, Southend, Canvey and Leigh. 

We've rounded up what's happening and where in south Essex.

1. A WEALTH of talent will be performing at Southend’s big Christmas light switch-on.

Britain’s Got Talent singer Gabz will be performing in the High Street as well as up and coming local star Arianna and “Elsa” from the Disney smash hit film Frozen.

Joining them will be Matt Linnen, The Avenue, Dance Dimensions and Jessica Alice, with performances starting at 2pm on Saturday, November 14.

This will be followed by the countdown to the Big Switch On itself at 4.45pm with Martin and Su from Heart Essex, who will also be joined by Hollie Barrie from The Voice and singer Marilena Gant, as well as the Ugly Sisters from the Cliff Pavilion’s pantomime Cinderella.

Dawn Jeakings of Southend Business Improvement District said: “I always look forward to Christmas in Southend. With its combination of big stores, little boutique and lots to see and do, the High Street and seafront really do have something for everyone.

“For me, the Big Switch On has become the official start to the Christmas countdown and I think this year’s event will be bigger and better than ever. So bring the whole family to Southend, join in the fun and get ready for a really cool Yule!”

Whatever the weather, the Southend BID snow machine will be bringing snow around Victoria Circus, and mayor Andrew Moring will be taking a small break from his Wonderland Grotto at Adventure Island for the occasion.

At the other end of the High Street, the Royals Shopping Centre is putting on the festive glitz around its enormous illuminated reindeer.

Between 11am and 3pm Ryan the Lion and his Little Royalty pals will be providing free fun and games with prizes.

The Christmas Farmers’ and Craft Market gets underway in the High Street from 8:30am and runs all the way to 6.30pm with a firework finale at 7.30pm on the seafront.

Other highlights throughout the Christmas period include a series of Carols for Christmas events held on the High Street and inside the Royals and Victoria shopping centres, featuring the Leigh Orpheus Male Voice Choir, Southend Girls and Boys Choir and 4 & 20 Blackbirds on November 21 and 28 and December 5 and 12.

2. IN Leigh, the traditional yuletide procession, featuring themed floats, will take place from 6.30pm on Friday, November 27, along Leigh Road and Broadway, ending at Broadway West.

Town council vice chairman Carole Mulroney said this was to provide a warmer welcome to shoppers.

As well as the procession, there will be a Christmas marketplace in Elm Road, a festive window competition, and entertainment in Scott and Stapleton, Haart and Liquid Flair in Broadway, Strangeways in Elm Road, and Oasis Café in Leigh Road between 5pm and 8pm.

Additionally, an event for children ahead of the parade will be held at Leigh Community Centre in Elm Road between 4.30pm and 6pm, with a fairground featuring in the car park behind the Grand Hotel and additional concession stands along the Broadway.

Small Business Saturday will also be taking place on December 5 and any businesses wishing to be mentioned in promotional material should contact 

3. BILLERICAY High Street will be formally closed to traffic for six hours later this month when the town’s Christmas lights are switched on.

Basildon Council has granted a town council request to close the road from noon to 6pm on Saturday, November 28.

In previous years, High Street had remained open, with police officers controlling traffic and preventing people stepping into the road.

But Billericay Town Council has taken the step to seek a full closure after police cuts meant the force could no longer commit to covering the event.

Live entertainment will start at 3pm, featuring High Voltage Big Band, the Wickford Majorettes, Mayflower Morris Men and school choirs.

Special guest Father Christmas will turn on the Christmas lights at 4.30pm.

4. BASILDON’S town centre Christmas lights will be switched on at a celebration event on Saturday, November 14.

The Christmas Festival will include live entertainment, taking place from 1pm to 6pm.

The switch-on, co-organised by Basildon Council, Basildon Town Centre Management and the Eastgate Centre, will include performances by local musical and dance groups.

Essex radio presenters Ian Wyatt and Steve Scruton will be hosting proceedings from the main stage.

The event will also include a Christmas parade, led by the cast of the Towngate Theatre’s Jack and the Beanstalk production, as well as a visit from Father Christmas.

Characters from popular children’s TV series Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom will also be appearing at the switch-on, which will be followed by a fireworks display.

Kevin Blake, councillor responsible for leisure and the arts, said: “We are delighted Basildon Council is supporting this Christmas festival and the annual lights switch-on event.

“It is a great opportunity for residents to turn up in force and enjoy a community festival in our town centre with the promise of some great music, fun and fireworks.”

5. TWO reindeers will join revellers at the Canvey Christmas lights switch-on later this month.

The island’s town council has confirmed the pair will be returning to the annual event, taking place on Saturday, November 28.

Entertainment will also be provided by Martin and Su from the Heart Breakfast Show, who will be on stage from 1pm until the 5pm switch-on.

The event is a popular fixture in Canvey’s diary, with more than 3,000 attending each year.

It will be taking place in the town centre on Furtherwick Road at the top of the High Street.

The free event will officially start at noon with an assortment of Christmas stalls, funfair, children’s games and performances from local bands, choirs and dance groups.

Peter Greig, chairman of town council is hopeful the strong turnout will continue at this year’s event.

He said: “This is the town council’s eighth annual Christmas event and everyone is welcome to join in the fun.

“There will be lots going on to entertain the whole family. We want everyone to get into the festive Christmas spirit and support our local businesses.”

Canvey Library will be providing a children’s storytime session and a sing-a-long, as well as arts and crafts activities.

The town council has also announced that Furtherwick Road, from the junction of Foksville Road to Waarden Road, will be closed from 7am to 9pm.

A diversion route will be in place during the road closure.

First Group will be diverting its buses during the temporary road closure, routes will be published on their website: and at bus stops.

For more information on the switch-on, visit