LOVE Newquay, Experience Newquay (a project from Cornwall Council), Newquay Town Council and Visit Newquay have all joined forces to elevate the entire Christmas kick-off experience in new and fitting ways on Friday 1st December 2023 and across the first weekend of December. 

The community Lantern Parade will return this year, with thanks from funding from Newquay BID and Experience Newquay. This will lead proceedings on Friday 1, followed by the switch on of the stunning new Christmas lights, throughout the town, funded by Newquay BID and Newquay Town Council. 

The Killacourt will also be playing host to the Newquay Christmas Market and lots of music and fun action, before a spectacular fireworks display fills the sky with beauty and sparkles. Some of the activity will be weather-dependent.

Over the next few weeks, Experience Newquay with Blystra Arts are giving schoolchildren and members of the community the opportunity to get involved with making their own personal lanterns for the night of the Parade. Everyone is invited to join artist Chris Nixon on Saturday, November 25, for a free-for-all 4-hour workshop at the Store House Community Hub.

On the big, bright night itself, starting from Fore Street Car Park at 5pm, children and those who have attended the community workshops will take to the Newquay streets, proudly parading their lanterns making their way through the town and onto the Killacourt. The following timetable outlines all of the Newquay Friday 1st festive extravaganza kick-off action:

Friday, December 1 Line-up:

  • 2pm – The Christmas Market opens at the Killacourt (open 1st - 3rd December) offering an assortment of gifts, crafts, and seasonal treats
  • 3.30pm – Live music kicks off at the Marcus Hill Stage with Joe Hurworth
  • 4.30pm – Christmas carols with Oll An Gwella at the Marcus Hill stage
  • 5pm – A magical lantern parade through Bank Street
  • 5.30pm – The Qwest at the Marcus Hill Stage
  • 6.30pm – The official Christmas light switch-on at the Marcus Hill Stage
  • 6.40pm – Fireworks over Newquay Bay (watch from the Killacourt)
  • 6.45pm – Headliner: The Show Must Go On – all your favourite tunes from The Greatest Showman performed live at the Killacourt Bandstand

After the Christmas kick-off, the lanterns made by local school children and organisations will also be displayed in windows across the town centre from December 4 as part of a free festive family-friendly lantern trail. Each lantern will be given a letter, and participants will need to follow a map, find the clues and solve a mystery word.

Once solved, a festive prize will be available from collection at the Tourist Information Centre. This is another free and fun Newquay festive activity for families and the map will be available from the Tourist Information Centre or downloadable online from Monday 4th December – Wednesday 20th December 2023.

Manager of Love Newquay and Newquay BID, Mark Warren, said: “It’s such a joy to see all our proactive organisations coming together in this way to optimise our Christmas kick-off celebrations. It’s brilliant to be involving schools and community members with the Experience Newquay workshops and Lantern Parade, and the Lantern Trail right across town and its businesses. 

"The whole festive extravaganza kicks off on Friday, December 1 and on Saturday, December 2, there’s free car parking across all Cornwall council car parks as well as reduced prices for car parking.

"We’re looking forward to seeing all our local businesses engaging in the festivities and staying open into the evening on December 1 to make the most of the increased shoppers within the town."

Newquay at Christmas will also see Santa flying into town on Saturday, December 16, at Newquay Library with bookable slots throughout the day, to be booked via the Newquay Town Council website from Friday, December 8. Newquay Town Centre will have Christmas street entertainers and Newquay Town Band performing carols on the Saturdays leading up to Christmas.