Christmas plans revealed for the City – Updated 12.11.2020


Christmas is coming, and The Cathedral Quarter and St Peters Quarter BIDs are working alongside Derby City Council and other partners to transform the city into Festive Derby, a bright and attractive place to visit in the run-up to the holiday season.

While there won’t be the usual events to draw crowds into the city centre, there will be Christmas lights and two trails to follow – Window Wonderland and an Elf Trail – with surprises and delights to discover on street corners and in shop windows.

Highlights will also include a Christmas Market in Derby Market Place, and two outdoor, ticketed shows. Elf Encounter, a family show by Guildhall Theatre favourites The Babbling Vagabonds, will play in the Market Place for groups of up to six at a time, while The Lost Boys will perform a one-hour show based on A Christmas Carol in the River Gardens, to a socially distanced audience seated in groups of up to four.

The River Gardens is also the backdrop for the traditional sound of Christmas, with performances by a brass quintet from Sinfonia Viva, the orchestra of the East Midlands, accompanied by a choir from Derby Cathedral.

Tickets for all shows are on sale now. See for details of how to book.


Window Wonderland – Fri 4 Dec – Wed 23 Dec and beyond.

Look out for some amazing displays in shops and businesses along city centre streets as they decorate their windows ready for Christmas. All of them will feature a festive rainbow to remember the NHS and key workers. You can vote for your favourite between 9 and 16 December as part of the Window Wonderland competition at A trail with a map of all the shops taking part, and details about their businesses, will also be put on the website.

Elf Trail – From Fri 4 Dec to Wed 23 Dec

See if you can spot the mischievous elves in shops and businesses around the city centre – they may be on stickers in windows or on the floor, or you might even spot one hiding on a shelf, in a shop of business. See how many you can find while you visit the wonderful city shops – a great activity for all the family. Use the map in the Festive Derby guide to help you, or follow the signposts around the city.

Street Entertainment – From Sat 5 Dec
DCC are bringing the city centre streets alive with some fantastic festive street entertainers. They’ll brighten your day with their diverting, and sometimes cheeky routines! Look out for these great acts on the Market Place and Corn Market at 11:30am, 1pm and 2:30pm each day.

  • Sat 5 Dec – Joy Magnet’s Bouncing Snowmen
  • Sat 12 Dec – Maynard Flip Flap’s Man in a Christmas Present
  • Sat 19 Dec – An Act Above’s Christmas Belles
  • Sun 20 Dec – Musical Ruth Goes Jingle Jangle
  • Mon 21 Dec – Circii’s Lairy Xmas Fairy and the Magic Christmas Puddings
  • Tue 22 Dec – Artemis’ Jacks of Frost
  • Wed 23 Dec – Reckless Invention’s Bad Santas,



Christmas Market – Throughout December
Derby Market Place will make a transformation to host a series of themed COVID-secure festive Markets during December. These markets will be the perfect opportunity for Christmas shoppers to buy unique gifts and support local small creative businesses. Find the full list at


Make& Trade Festive Market – Fri 18 – Wed 23 Dec, 10am – 4pm

We are happy to welcome the Make & Trade Festive Market where we will be celebrating our local makers and creators. Held across three days, the market will include up to thirty chalets of craft, food and creativity; all considerately curated by Mainframe from QUAD.


Ice Sculptures – Fri 11 and Sat 12 Dec
Watch the incredibly talented ice carvers as they turn blocks of ice into amazing festive sculptures, creating a robin, an elf, a sledge and an angel.
11am – 4pm – Cathedral Square


Elf Encounter – a family show by The Babbling Vagabonds – Fri 4 Dec to Wed 23 Dec
Join those festive funsters the Babbling Vagabonds as they unwrap a mini festive adventure fit for the family. Journey in a magical Christmas machine and encounter an Elf with a talent for making trouble. Santa’s magical machine turns children’s letters into presents – all with a little sprinkle of elf trickery of course – but one day, with Christmas just around the corner, the machine breaks down. Can you help get Santa’s machine back on track, and get a naughty Elf back on the nice list?

An intimate, exclusive Christmas treat just for you and your group of up to six, in our elf-constucted wooden cabin. For your safety, the actors will perform behind a clear Perspex screen. Audience members are asked to wear face coverings unless exempt. For more information about our Covid safety measures, see the Derby Live website. Derby Market Place – £12 for up to 3, £24 for up to


A Christmas Carol – by The Lost Boys. Thu 17 to Wed 23 Dec
The much-loved Dickens Classic gets a new makeover by the much-loved Lost Boys. Following six years of sell-out shows, The Lost Boys return to Derby LIVE this festive season as the duo aim to play all the parts from the novel in 60 minutes; expect wigs, gags, laughs, gaffs, deference, and irreverence. A family treat to fill you all with Christmas cheer. Suitable for older children.
This show is in a marquee, but wrap up warm! You will be allocated a ‘box’ for your group of up to four. The metal seats provided will be cleaned between performances; you are welcome to bring your own cushion for extra comfort. For information about all our Covid measures and FAQs, see the Derby Live website.
Performances 4pm and 6pm – River Gardens £20 for up to 2, £40 for up to 4  –

Sinfonia Viva – Sat 19 Dec – Wed 23 Dec
Join Grammy nominated and RPS award winning orchestra Sinfonia Viva’s brass quintet for a selection of Christmas favourites, traditional carols, golden classics and festive pop favourites. A merry mix of seasonal music and Christmas cheer, the concert will also feature a special live performance from Derby Cathedral’s stunningly beautiful choir.
Step into Christmas and enjoy the festive sound of a live brass quintet. Without a doubt this is music to make your days merry and bright this season.
This show is in a marquee, but wrap up warm! You will be allocated a ‘box’ for your group of up to four. The metal seats provided will be cleaned between performances; you are welcome to bring your own cushion for extra comfort. For information about all our Covid measures and FAQs, see the Derby Live website. The concert is 1hr 5min with no interval.
Sat 19, Mon 21, Tue 22, Wed 23 Dec, at 12.30pm – River Gardens – £20 for up to 2, £40 for up to 4 –


Don’t forget to celebrate the festive season with our partners while you’re out and about. All venues have Covid-secure measures in place; see their individual websites for details.

Derby Cathedral

Tree of Light – Every Sat from 5 Dec until 19 Dec
An opportunity to write a message of love, hope or memory onto a gift tag to be hung on the Christmas tree outside the Cathedral building to mark this special time of year. Come and help cover the tree with messages!

11am – 3pm  Derby Cathedral  Suggested donation £2DERBY MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY


Derby Museum

Derby Museum & Art Gallery Shop – FREE entry

Family Christmas Lunch With Santa – Sun 13 Dec
A family-friendly Christmas carvery, where you can enjoy a two-course meal, a visit and gift from Santa, plus lots of fun, and safe family entertainment. To book, email or call 01332 641901
12 noon – 4pm  Derby Museum & Art Gallery  £20, under 12s £15, under 2s free


The Salvation Army Brass Sextet – Christmas Carols and Seasonal Music

Derby Central Band has been proclaiming the Christian Gospel message for over 120 years, and their sound is bound to fill you with festive

cheer. Although the band is unable to meet together in the normal way at this time, join them to experience the Christmas message in a fresh way through an hour of uplifting festive music, arranged for a brass sextet. 20 Dec, 10:30am & 1pmGardens

£20 for up to 2, £40 for up to 4;


Christmas Films include traditional seasonal favourite – It’s A Wonderful Life (U) from Fri 18 Dec and new film – Ailo’s Journey: The Amazing Odyssey of a Newborn Reindeer (cert tbc) a family friendly documentary adventure set in the stunning landscapes of Lapland, screening Sat 19 & Sun 20 Dec. Other QUAD Christmas favourites will include Die Hard Double Bill, and Muppets Christmas Carol.

Tickets: Cinema tickets: £9.80 or £4.00 for ages 25 & under. For all Christmas films see

QUAD Gallery: How We Make Meaning includes exhibitions by artists Memo Akten and Mimi Ọnụọha who explore aspects of Artificial Intelligence including; the gathering and use of data to view the world in scientific, spiritual and deeply personal ways.

Entry free.


You can be assured of a Covid-secure welcome as you enjoy your Christmas shopping. Close to Derby Cathedral is the beautiful Cathedral Quarter, home to a range of quality independent shops, salons, cafes, restaurants, bars and more. For more information visit In St Peters Quarter, you will find quality independent shops and renowned national names, with cafes and restaurants for a drink and a bite to eat. Visit for details.

For full information about everything that Festive Derby has to offer this Christmas, see


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