LEDBURY’S Christmas officially gets underway this weekend with a late-night shopping evening and the switch-on of the town’s lights. 

Tonight, the town’s shops will be open to customers until 8pm. Some will be doing much more than simply keeping their doors open for a few extra hours. At the Ledberry, for example, there will be carols sung by the Pick & Mix choir, festive drinks and a craft stall. 

Other attractions, special events and discounts will be on offer throughout the town, including roast chestnuts and other festive treats, a charity mistletoe sale, carol singing and, of course, an appearance by Father Christmas.

Today also sees the launch of an exhibition by the Guild of Herefordshire Craftsmen in the Market House. The Christmas Show features unique handmade gifts for sale and is open from Monday to Saturday, 10am-4pm, until December 18. Admission is free and card payments are accepted.

The fun and festivities continue tomorrow with a full day of events leading up to the switch-on of the town’s Christmas lights.

Throughout the day, from 9am, there will be shopping and food stalls around the Market House and along St Katherine’s Walkway. 

Council-run parking throughout the town will be free all day. 

As darkness begins to fall, Ledbury Community Brass Band and Ledbury Community Choir will perform under the Market House before the Christmas lights are switched on at 6pm.

Meanwhile, Santa will take up residence at Top Cross Shop with his elves from 11am to 6pm. He will return there every Saturday in December — with the exception of Saturday, December 25, when he will be taking a well-earned rest. Due to his busy schedule, slots should be booked by calling into the shop or texting him on 07562 359037. There is no charge, but donations will be shared between the town’s charity shops. 

Town Mayor Andrew Manns said he could hardly wait for the beginning of the Christmas season. “Celebrate the festive spirit for all its worth,” he said. “May your Christmas and New Year be full of mirth.

“I wish you all the best for a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, and may 2022 be better for us all.”