Canterbury Bid

Christmas in Canterbury 2021

#MakeYourChristmas Canterbury with an illustration of Canterbury's city skyline beneath

Following 18 months of Covid uncertainty, Canterbury BID was determined make Christmas in the city, the biggest and best it could possibly be!

Each Christmas Canterbury BID delivers Christmas Lights, Christmas Light Switch-on Event, Christmas Marketing Campaign (full report HERE), Christmas Trail and a Christmas Window Competition. Scroll down to find out more about each of these activities.

Christmas Lights

Canterbury was shining brightly this Christmas. Our Christmas Lights contractor, Gala Lights tests fixing points and installs the lights around the city. The Christmas lights are designed to complement and enhance this historic city. Here are the lights, in numbers:

  • 5: miles of lights put up each year
  • 12: people to put up and take down the lights over 7 nights
  • 100s: of permissions obtained by the BID team, allowing lights to be attached
  • 5,000: in attendance at the annual switch-on event, enjoying themselves in our city
  • £66,000: is the annual cost for our Christmas decorations
  • 118,000: LED lights twinkle above our city from

Christmas Light Switch-on Event – 12 November 2021, 6-7pm

To encourage social distancing, a ‘Light Up Parade’ took place, rather than a static stage. The parade started at The Marlowe Theatre Forecourt and moved up the high street finishing in Rose Square.

We would like to thank all of the event contributors: Whitefriars | Barretts Kent | Sonny Hillier Horse Drawn Carriages | The Marlowe Theatre Panto Cast | Lord Mayor of Canterbury | No Limit Street Band | Canterbury Christmas Market Characters | Canterbury School of Visual Arts at Canterbury College (Lantern makers) | Robbie White | Gala Lights Ltd | KMFM and presenter Garry Wilson | Right Guard Security and Big Plan Group.

Christmas Marketing Campaign

From September the Christmas Committee met to plan the content of the campaign, ensuring maximum reach, rich content, media focuses and sharability. The committee includes representatives from:

Canterbury BID (lead), Visit Canterbury (co-lead), Whitefriars, Goldsmiths, The Beaney, Canterbury Cathedral, The Marlowe Theatre, Christmas Market organisers Rockhopper and Southeastern

This year, in order to include TV advertising within the budget, the committee members added their own financial
contributions enabling a Christmas Campaign budget of £30,000. We would like to thank the committee for their generous donations both financially and through their time spent on the project.

Here is the Campaign at a glance:

  • 1 Nov – 24 Dec – 20,000 Christmas guides distributed locally and shared as digital format (view guide HERE).
  • Dedicated Christmas website
  • Marketing toolkit circulated to Canterbury businesses (view toolkit HERE)
  • November/December – Heart FM campaign
  • Two week TV advert on ITV and ITV Hub (view advert HERE)
  • 12 November Christmas Light Switch on and launch of Christmas Market
  • 1 December Christmas Window Competition
  • Online Advertising with KM Gazette and Muddy Stilettos
  • 1-24 December LEGO Trail including 2,000 maps circulated (view map HERE)
  • 11 December – Merry Brickmas at The Beaney launches
  • 12 Nov – 24 Dec – Social Media Campaign overseen by Pillory Barn

The impact of the campaign resulted in over 15 million impressions. Read the full report HERE.

City-Cetre LEGO Trail (1-24 December 2021)

Canterbury’s LEGO trail was designed to encourage footfall this Christmas, and to tie in with The Beaney’s Merry Brickmas Exhibition with a lifesize brick Father Christmas, Raindeer and Elves. 38 businesses took part in a city-wide trail LEGO trail.

2,000 LEGO trail maps were printed and circulated through The Beaney and participating trail stops. Each location also displayed a window cling with a QR code linking to The Beaney LEGO exhibition webpage.

Digital LEGO Trail maps were accessed on The Beaney’s dedicated LEGO event page which received 6,038 views in December and the facebook event page received 7,000 impressions.

Christmas Window Competition 2021 (Judging took place Saturday 4 December)

This year’s Christmas Window judging was overseen by Ben Kidger, Head of Canterbury’s School of Visual Art at Canterbury College, Katie McGown, Head of Arts and Culture at Canterbury Christ Church University and Lord Mayor Pat Todd.

We had a fantastic afternoon admiring all the beautiful windows across the city and the winners chosen by the judges were Violet Elizabeth (Burgate), Rock Paper Scissors (Stour Street) and Cafe St Pierre (St Peter’s Street).

In addition to the competition, we comissioned a festive blog from Rachel Phipps who summarised some of Canterbury’s finest Christmas window displays. You can read the blog HERE.