Covid-safe festive events in Bedford to replace annual Christmas light switch-on

Bedford Borough Council makes alternative plans to celebrate the festive season

Friday, 13th November 2020, 2:49 pm
Updated Friday, 13th November 2020, 2:51 pm

With Covid-19 infection rates increasing and national restrictions in place to reduce the spread of the virus, the annual Christmas light switch-on event in Bedford has been cancelled.

But the festive celebrations are not all cancelled as Bedford Borough Council plans to bring festive illuminations across the town centre from November 16

Along with the festive lights, the council is also looking at alternative plans to celebrate the festive season once restrictions have been lifted in December.

Christmas lights in Bedford from a previous year

Work is taking place with local shops and businesses to provide a safe celebration of Christmas in Bedford, plans this year include:

- A new Christmas trail to find the 12 Christmas characters hidden around the town centre, starting from 3 December

- Christmas Light displays across Bedford town centre

- Festive window displays

Made in Bedford Christmas Artisan Market is planned for December 13

- A traditional decorated Christmas tree

- A Christmas Card Competition display

- Made in Bedford Christmas Artisan Market (December 13)

- A virtual Santa’s Grotto.

Christmas lights in Bedford from a previous year

Councillor Henry Vann, portfolio holder for Town Centres and Planning, said: “Whilst we are obviously sad that we cannot host a large-scale light switch-on event, Bedford will be sparkling with shine from our Christmas lights.

"Once restrictions are lifted, we’re looking forward to welcoming back more of our incredible independents and national chain stores.

“With safety measures in place, window displays, trails around the town, and an Artisan Market Bedford will feel extra festive this year so we’ll be encouraging everyone to join the festive atmosphere, shop local and support our local businesses.”

Free parking will be available for two hours every day in Queens Street Car Park, there is also free parking on offer at weekends in the council managed town centre car parks. The Harpur Centre underground car park will also be free after 6pm on shopping nights.

Some businesses in Bedford Town Centre will also be extending their opening hours to help reduce the number of people using shops at the same time.

BedfordBID will be updating their website regularly to highlight business that are open and will be extending their hours.

For more information, on businesses currently open and for click and collect and delivery services, visit the BedfordBID Covid-19 Hub -

Samantha Laycock, Chair of BedfordBID, said: “This year we’ve faced unprecedented challenges to bring the festive feeling back to Bedford Town Centre in the run up to Christmas.

"Town Centre businesses have made significant investment into not only making sure that shoppers still get a great Christmas shopping experience but are also able to enjoy the Christmas period in a safe and responsible way.

“We’ve worked hard alongside retailers in Bedford Town Centre to make sure that shoppers still get the same great Christmas shopping experience that they’re used to.

"Businesses are adapting to the changing environment and we ask you to keep up to date with their latest details plus any special events or extended opening hours.

"Please shop local this Christmas and support you Bedford town centre businesses.”