Virtual Christmas light switch-on brings town 'out of darkness of Covid'

xmas lights

The wonderfully festive lighting at Great Yarmouth Market Place - Credit: Mark Symonds

A Norfolk coastal town has refused to miss out on Christmas this year - and staged a "virtual light switch-on" to bring people "out of the darkness of Covid".

Great Yarmouth Borough Council's virtual switch on at 7pm on Friday showcased "beautiful displays" across the town centre and seafront, Hemsby's Beach Road and Gorleston High Street and seafront.


Great Yarmouth Christmas tree - Credit: Mark Symonds

The message behind the spectacle is unequivocal: the borough, despite facing tier two restrictions, is very much open for business. It is welcoming shoppers and visitors with open arms.

Council leader Carl Smith said the "amazing but safe spectacle" would brighten up the darkest months of the year - especially at such a challenging time for the borough.

Carl Smith Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader

Leader of the council Carl Smith is encouraging people to visit the town centre over Christmas - Credit: Archant

He said: “Out of the darkness of Covid, Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Hemsby are again lighting up to welcome shoppers and visitors this winter season to support our local businesses into recovery.

"Everyone should come experience the spectacle for themselves, and back local traders."

The lights mark the start of "See Great Yarmouth in a Different Light" - a winter campaign of activities organised by the town's tourism partnership and the council.

great yarmouth christmas lights

An aerial display of Great Yarmouth Christmas lights - Credit: Mark Symonds

In Great Yarmouth, the display stretches from Great Yarmouth Minster through Market Row, the Market Place, King Street, St George’s Park and the seafront.

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In the Market Place, people can walk through a 20-metre-long multi-colour Tunnel of Light, open noon until late every day.

Great Yarmouth tunnel of light

Great Yarmouth's Tunnel of Light - Credit: Mark Symonds

Over in Gorleston, there is new lighting along the High Street and seafront bandstand.


Gorleston bandstand - Credit: Mark Symonds

gorleston high street lights

Gorleston High Street lighting - Credit: Mark Symonds

For the first time ever, Hemsby’s Beach Road is also being lit up, with lighting braids around the street lighting columns.

According to the council, further "bespoke displays" will be installed before Christmas in all three destinations, including a wind turbine theme strung along Regent Road.

Town centre manager Jonathan Newman said the displays were "wonderful to see".

"It is going to be a shorter run-up to Christmas for many shops and businesses this year, but I would urge everyone to get out there and enjoy the festive atmosphere", he said.