We’re on the official countdown to Christmas so stick with us as we run through the key dates and suggestions for your festive diary – make a list and check it twice!
Scroll down to see how you can WIN a free 12 month fitness pass to one of the Everyone Active leisure centres in Middlesbrough thanks to the sponsors of this year’s Christmas Lights Switch On, Everyone Active.
A Festive Night at the Movies
Wrap up warm, bring your cosiest blankets and portable chair and settle in for a night at the movies in Centre Square complete with festive treats, fairground rides and most importantly – all the festive feels.
The big outdoor screen is back and we’ll be showing Elf as part of a night of FREE family fun, so make sure you dress for the weather!
Tempt yourself and purchase some hot snacks from one of the street food trucks and of course, hot chocolate with extra cream and marshmallows is on the menu too. It is Christmas after all.
Some limited seating is provided but it’s recommended you bring a portable chair and blankets (and hats and scarves!).
This is a free event taking place in Centre Square, 18 November, the screening starts at 5pm, all ages are welcome. Don’t forget to follow the Facebook event for further updates.
Family fun in Centre Square
Middlesbrough’s Christmas Lights Switch On in association with Everyone Active in Middlesbrough and BBC Radio Tees
Get ready for one HUGE free festive day out as Middlesbrough’s Christmas lights get switched on in association with our headline sponsors Everyone Active in Middlesbrough and of course, BBC Radio Tees.
There’s a whole host of festive family fun to enjoy throughout the day plus the all-important tasty street food treats, fairground rides and don’t miss the spectacular Classical Café at the Town Hall at 3pm to hear Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’ performed live to get you in the festive spirit.
Gather together in Centre Square for the most magical moment of the year alongside Middlesbrough’s incredible choirs, community groups and local musical community legends Apollo Arts, who will lead the whole town in one giant ‘Big Sing’.
Whether your top festive tune is by Mariah, Slade or Wizard, get ready to brush up on your vocals and sing your heart out as part of a fun-filled sing-along set against a truly magical festive atmosphere.
Stars of this year’s panto, Amelia Lily and Philip Green, will join BBC Radio Tees presenter Gary Philipson along with the winner of our colouring competition (congratulations to Lucia!) to turn switch on Middlesbrough’s twinkly Christmas lights.
There’s also a giant snow dome for one day only so you can capture all those festive selfies. Make some magical memories with your nearest and dearest as you soak up the atmosphere and make sure you tag @wearembro on Instagram with your pictures. Don’t miss the festive characters too around Centre Square and create some magical lanterns with artist Adele Catchpole.
There’s incredible family-friendly FREE entertainment from Boro’s very own Amelia Lily (on stage at 5pm) and Teesside’s favourite party starters, The Wildcats of Kilkenny are also heading our way for an incredible set of festive shenanigans! And that’s not all, The Funk Collective are performing live on stage too – they’re one of the most popular local bands around and guarantee any party goes off in style.
Don’t miss the gift stall huts selling unique crafts and trinkets that are perfect for stocking fillers.
This is a FREE event taking place in Centre Square, 19 November, all ages are welcome. The event starts from 12pm with festive fun for all the family and the lights will be switched on at 5.30pm, the event will finish around 6.30pm – you can see the full timings for the day at the Facebook event.
WIN a 12-month fitness membership thanks to our headline sponsors Everyone Active!*
To celebrate the completion of their fantastic new gym refurbishments, Everyone Active are offering local residents the chance to win a 12-month fitness membership at their local Everyone Active centre in Middlesbrough.
For a chance to win, simply fill out your contact details at this link, you can find the tcs&cs for the competition, here. Good luck!
*Competition runs from 18 Nov – 26 Nov. Entrants must be UK residents and aged 16+, full ts&cs can be found in the link above.
Everyone Active is delighted to be our headline sponsor for the Middlesbrough Christmas Lights Switch On this year. Make sure you pay the friendly team a visit at their stall next to the giant Christmas Tree, get a photo with the giant Bee Active character and enter their exciting prize – six months worth of free swimming lessons! Two winners will be announced at the end of the event. Following investment from Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland Councils, the refurbishment of the fitness suites at Middlesbrough Sports Village, Neptune Centre, Rainbow Leisure Centre and Eston Leisure Centre are now complete and each gym has been given an incredible new look with brand new cardio and state-of-the-art new gym equipment provided by Life Fitness.
For a chance to try out the new facilities for free, see a member of staff at their stall and ask for a free one-day guest pass at your nearest Everyone Active centre!
BBC Radio Tees are excited to be this year’s media sponsors and Gary will be there to bring all the joy, laughs and of course, some silly festive fun along the way! The excitement from the lights switch on will be broadcast live to thousands of people across Teesside – but you don’t want to miss out on all the fun, come down and join us!
One Big Boro Thank You!
As it’s the most wonderful time of the year, what better way to get in the Christmas spirit than by giving a big Boro ‘thank you’ to those special people in our communities, the ones who make a difference and add some sparkle wherever they go.
We’re looking for you to nominate an individual or a community group and tell us about the amazing and inspirational things they’ve done to make a difference in Middlesbrough this year.
They might have gone above and beyond to help others, helped make our environment a better place to be, or they’ve made a positive difference to our area as a whole by their actions or volunteer work.
To get involved, simply let us know who’s been the star of your community and why they deserve a ‘Big Boro Thank You’ at this year’s Christmas Lights Switch On event!
How it works
We will choose a selection of nominations and we will inform both you and the person you’ve nominated if your thank you is chosen to be highlighted.
We will invite your nominated person/s to Middlesbrough’s Christmas Light Switch On event in Centre Square (Sunday 19 November) where BBC Radio Tees host Gary Philipson will read out the messages and say a huge thank you to the special stars across our communities!
To nominate someone, please scroll down to the bottom of this page and follow the instructions!
Walking with The Snowman trail
Middlesbrough’s beloved giant snowmen sculptures are returning to venues across the town centre.
The snowmen have been beautifully designed by an artist and each one depicts a different theme of the 12 Days of Christmas. You can spot all 12 across the following locations (but we’ll leave you to discover which snowmen is where): Cleveland Centre, Dundas Arcade, Hillstreet Shopping Centre, Holiday Inn Express, Level X, Middlesbrough Bus Station, MIMA, Middlesbrough Town Hall.
As always, tag us on social media in your selfies with all of the sculptures. You can catch the Snowmen around town from 19 November until early January.
Middlesbrough on Ice
Wrap up warm and glide around the real ice rink in Centre Square when Middlesbrough on Ice makes a welcome return on Friday 8 December.
Christmas VIPs, Santa and the Grinch will also be making an appearance on ice – keep an eye out on our social media channels for the dates when they will be arriving in Middlesbrough.
As part of the event, you can enjoy a range of hot and cold delectable delights at the festive food and drink stalls. Tickets are on sale now, book yours here.
The rink is funded by the Crow Leisure Group, which we are proud to support.
Middlesbrough on Ice returns to Centre Square.
Christmas at Newham Grange Farm
Pop along to the farm to see the dazzling lights and beautiful Christmas trees before venturing on the festive trail and pick up some free reindeer feed to take home (top tip: leave some out for Santa on Christmas Eve).
The farm’s mini panto is back, and drop-in craft activities will be happening on selected dates. There’s also a chance to meet Santa and receive a gift, and the popular Breakfast with Mrs Claus event returns too!
Don’t miss your chance to build a teddy with the Head Elf in the festive workshop and you might even hear some of Santa’s elves singing some well-loved carols…
Christmas at Newham Grange Farm is taking place from 2 – 24 December. To check dates, times, prices and to book tickets visit, Newham Grange Farm.
Mrs Claus at Newham Grange Farm
Christmas at Dorman Museum
Head along for the Christmas Extravaganza Weekend across 2 & 3 December and visit the museum’s magical Elftown – a brand new addition for Christmas 2023.
Help Santa’s elves get ready for Christmas by decorating gingerbread and see if you can help sort out Santa’s letters before the big day arrives.
This is one of the only chances to meet Santa for FREE in Middlesbrough as he wanders around the museum’s galleries.
The venue’s popular VR ride is taking on a brand new magical twist – hop aboard as you get whisked through Santa’s toy shop and then visit the tasty gingerbread trail before picking up gifts and treats at the mini Christmas Market.
The Oak King will pay a special visit to the museum for The Tale of Christmas on 16 December, Join him as he tells tales of Christmas past and create your very own wreath headdress as you enjoy a festive hot chocolate.
The following charges apply; entry to the Christmas Extravaganza Weekend (including Elftown) is £5, gingerbread trail is £2, VR ride is £4, The Tale of Christmas experience is £3.30. Tickets will be available to book soon, keep an eye out on the event page for more details.
Middlesbrough Town Hall
The Town Hall is playing host to some top names this Christmas as Teesside’s favourite comedy club treats us to three Christmas specials on 2, 9 & 22 December.
On 5 December, there is a duo of music events to get you rocking around the Christmas tree. Join Musinc for a festive fun-filled Big Gig especially for primary schools, delivered by the creative education specialist, Apollo Arts! The music collective will also be hosting a Family Big Gig with of singalong tracks and musical games.
Kidz Sound Christmas tribute on 29 December offers four hours of jam-packed fun and music from the biggest names in pop, performed by the UK’s best tribute artists.
Royal Northern Sinfonia have two events lined-up. Handel’s Messiah on 17 December offers the perfect start to the festive season and the Viennese New Year’s Concert taking place 2 January takes inspiration from Vienna’s famous concerts. Expect waltzes, polkas and more. For times, prices and tickets visit Middlesbrough Town Hall.
Panto is back… we’ll spare you the famous punchline, but make sure you shout it loud and proud during this year’s spellbinding Cinderella performance at Middlesbrough Theatre.
Stars including Amelia Lily and Philip Green – so you can expect laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of traditional fun in this year’s spectacular family performance of the fairy tale classic.
The panto will run from 8 December – Sunday 7 January 2024. More information, dates, prices and booking links can be found here.
The stars of Cinderella
Orange Pip Market Festive Edition
Jingle all the way to the Town Hall for the Orange Pip Christmas special on 16 December. The festive Orange Pip has become a something of a Middlesbrough tradition and it’s back in the Town Hall’s Courtyard once more for some tinsel swinging, sleigh-bell ringing fun!
Expect live music, more of the best artisan food, delectable festive treats and fun for all the family.
Follow Orange Pip Market for more updates.
Shopping and parking
What do we have in Middlesbrough’s town centre shops that other places don’t? A huge array of designer brands in our boutiques that you can’t get anywhere else in Teesside.
Our shops have all the big names from Ugg, Canada Goose, Moncler, Balenciaga, Jaqcuemus, Gucci, YSL Boss, CP Company, Stone Island and that’s just naming a few.
From high end gifts at Flannels, to affordable fashion conscious brands at multi storey designer stores Frasers (the former Psyche building) and Middlesbrough’s long standing independent boutiques including Triads and Changes, you’ll be able to get Christmas all wrapped up in one trip.
And what’s even better, you can try items on (who doesn’t love shopping IRL?) and enjoy a whole festive day out before popping to one of Middlesbrough’s many restaurants and bars.
Of course, there’s a whole host of amazing independent retailers, coffee shops, restaurants and bars in town. Baker Street, Bedford Street, Grange Road and Linthorpe Road offer everything from real and cocktails at the likes of Infant Hercules, Twisted Lip and Nuthatch (a welcome treat after shopping) to some of the best sushi in the North at Umi (yep, we said it), and menus that cover everything from aged steaks, to smashed gourmet burgers and stone baked pizzas at family friendly eateries such as award-winning Rio, Uno Momento, Madam Rouge, Christie’s Brasserie, Burgerlicious, Central Park, Fellinis, Novellos, Panuozzos and Dovecot to name a few. We’ll posting about tempting Christmas menus across town on our socials very soon.
Middlesbrough’s shopping centres have always been a ‘must-visit’ in the lead up to Christmas and they still offer everything you need to make many magical memories. From gifts from Pandora in Hillstreet Centre to the best Christmas Eve onesie outfits in Primark and beautiful trinkets from TS1 Gallery, there’s a stocking filler or two to be picked up around every corner. The Hillstreet Centre will be open on Black Friday, 24 November, until 7pm. From Monday 11 – Friday 15 the centre is open until 7pm, and Monday 18 – Friday 22 until 8pm.
Cleveland Centre has some of the biggest names in sportswear at JD Sports, Lush is perfect for all those bath and body gift sets and Boots is a one-stop-shop for all the latest beauty trends and this year’s must-have perfume. Leading the UK high street for decades in the latest fashions, New Look is bursting with bang-on-trend winter jumpers and coats and HMV offers everything from books, to collectors vinyl and plenty in between. Late night shopping is happening on Thursday 7, Thursday 14 and Saturday 23 December until 7pm, and from Monday 18 – Friday 22 December the centre is open until 8pm.
Captain Cook Square is going through some exciting changes but you can still grab some great gifts at their stores this Christmas including Waterstones, CEX and The Entertainer. The centre’s shops are open until 7pm on Thursday 7 & Thursday 14 December and until 7pm from Monday 18 until Saturday 23 December. Captain Cook Square is offering £1 parking for 3 hours (short and long stay/charges until 6pm), the car park closes at 12.30am – perfect if you’ve been for an evening at Level X.
We love the independent businesses at Dundas Arcade – make sure you pop in and support local this Christmas. Pick up a gorgeous gift at All Wrapped Up, there’s ‘gifts for geeks’ at Forbidden Planet, treats for pooches at Leo Libra Pet Supplies and lots more. Dundas Arcade and the indoor market is open as normal 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10.30am – 4.30pm Sundays during the Christmas period.
Zetland Car Park is also extending its opening hours and will be open until 7.30pm on Sunday 18 November for the Christmas Lights Switch On, and from Monday 18 – Friday 22 December until 8.30pm.
Parking on France Street is FREE on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays. Parking on the ‘Jewel Streets’ is free for 2 hours (no return within 3 hours). The streets are as follows: Amber Street, Diamond Road, Emerald Street, Garnet Street, Pearl Street, Ruby Street. You can find further parking info here – Car parks and charges in Middlesbrough | Middlesbrough Council
Christmas party days & nights
Christmas party nights can throw up some of the best (and a-few-you’d-rather-forget) memories. We’ve pulled some ideas together to make planning your Christmas party in Middlesbrough that little bit easier.
Level X is gearing up for some big celebrations as it hosts its first Christmas in Captain Cook Square. Never tried go karting? Love to beat everyone at bowling? From e-karting, VR, interactive bowling, darts, arcade games and of course a well-stocked bar, there’s something for the whole team to enjoy. Of course there’s fun for the whole family too if you want to treat the kids before heading to the Christmas Lights Switch On (don’t forget to spot the giant Snowmen sculptures in the area too!).
Party in paradise this Christmas as Turtle Bay is turning up the festivities with their laid-back two or three course Christmas menus which include a free festive drink. The perfect place to visit before crossing the road to Middlesbrough Town Hall for the Big Mouth Comedy Christmas Specials.
Play Brew co are throwing a Christmas party night on 17 December with music from local girl gang Sunday Girl, and for a night out with a difference, try Harry’s Hatchet or Putter Chaos for a big night of fun before heading for food and drinks along Baker and Bedford Street – festive cocktails anyone?
Whatever you’re up to this Christmas, we hope you pay our town centre a visit and make some festive memories while supporting our fantastic events, shops, eateries and bars.
We are unwrapping Christmas. We are Middlesbrough.
Submitting your One Big Boro Thank You entry
How to nominate
- Send a short written nomination of no longer than 100 words or use the following format: ‘Hi, I want to nominate John Smith because they litter pick every week in Acklam come rain or shine and make our local area look fantastic. Thanks for all your hard work John – we think you deserve a Big Boro Thank You!
- Make sure the person you are nominating is Middlesbrough-based or has made a difference in the Middlesbrough area.
- Email it to email@example.com by 5pm, Thursday 16 November and include your full contact details and the contact details (including phone number and/or email) of the person you’ve nominated so we can invite them to the event!
You can also attach an image of your nominated person but this is not required*. If the person you are nominating is under 18 years old, please get permission from their parent or guardian before nominating them.
Terms & conditions
- *If you submit an image of your nominated person/s, we will ask their permission before using the image in any promotional activity.
- By nominating someone you are agreeing to your words being shared publicly through We are Middlesbrough/Middlesbrough Council channels which may include but is not limited to; the big screen at the Christmas lights switch on event, social media channels, promotion on BBC Radio Tees.
- We will contact those nominated to request their data consent and they may withdraw their entry if they do not wish for publicity.
Data consent for the nominator
By submitting an entry you are agreeing to the following consent statement: Your data will only be used for the purpose of us contacting your regarding your submission. Your data will not be used for anything outside of this purpose. We will not keep your data on file past the event date (19 November). If you wish to withdraw your consent at aby time, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for Middlesbrough Council’s Privacy Notice.