Canterbury Bid

Christmas in Canterbury 2023

Christmas in Canterbury – Campaign Report

Christmas in Canterbury 2023 was a bumper year – from the inviting wooden huts of the seasonal market and 6 miles of twinkling festive lights to the Hornby Train trail and award-winning Panto. Canterbury BID was on hand to help with the celebrations and created a marketing campaign that received 22+ million impressions.

The full report is available to view by clicking the images below. Do take a minute to have a look at this whistlestop report of how we marketed Canterbury – with the help of key city businesses. It’s all part of our mission to keep Canterbury in the forefront of people’s minds at this key trading period.

Canterbury is a magical destination at Christmas.

The city will be sparkling this year with beautiful lights adorning the streets and the ancient towers, and a whole host of fun-filled activities and experiences in store for visitors of all ages. 

Our mission this festive season is to help keep attention firmly on Canterbury, and to encourage visitors to explore the city. Keep reading, to find out what’s on and how you can get involved.

Use the 2023 Christmas Campaign Toolkit and spread the word!

Christmas Lights

Canterbury will be shining brightly this Christmas with the city centre being strewn with lights paid for by the businesses in the BID area and provided by Canterbury BID. 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. The lights are on 24/7 with the exceptions of the High Street, Rose Lane and Westgate Towers that are on from 3pm-3.30am. BID Ambassadors check the lights daily both in the morning and at 4pm.

6: miles of lights put up each year
8: timers installed on the High Street and Rose Lane (lights are on 3pm til 3.30am)
12: people to put up and take down the lights over 7 nights
17: switches along the parade route
100s: of permissions obtained by the BID team, allowing lights to be attached
5,000: in attendance (non-Covid year) 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

All Aboard the Hornby Train Trail!
18 November – 22 December 2023

This Christmas climb aboard our festive rail adventure and embark on a whistlestop tour of Canterbury’s medieval streets.

Firstly, pick up a free ticket from any of the participating businesses, then it’s full steam ahead…

Around Canterbury city centre there will be 38 festive Hornby Train displays hidden in Christmas windows of local businesses. Each time you spot a Hornby train, pop inside and the ‘station master’ will stamp your ticket!

Collect 5 stamps and head to your final destination, Fenwick Toy Department in St George’s Street, to collect your prize. While there, you can also enter the BIG prize draw to win your very own special Hornby Train set and Christmas bundle!

CLICK HERE for full details and see all participating stores or click on the video below for a whistlestop tour of how the trail works

Canterbury’s Christmas Light Parade 2023

For those that missed it, don’t worry – we have this brilliant film so you can see what happened!

Christmas Window Competition 2023

Canterbury always looks particularly magical thanks to all your beautifully decorated Christmas windows. So let’s celebrate your creations and throw some extra sparkle on you all this festive season with our our annual Best Dressed Christmas Window Competition.

For businesses wishing to enter, please click HERE to access the entry form.

What’s in it for my business?

  • All entries will feature on MyCanterbury Facebook and Instagram.
  • All award-winning windows will receive a certificate.
  • The Judge’s Favourites will also receive a bottle of fizz and a £50 Canterbury Gift Card.

What’s in it for my business?

Saturday 2 Dec (2.30-5pm):
The judging panel, including the Lord Mayor, will take a walk around the city, allocating awards including Silver, Silver Gilt and Gold. They will also select two windows as their favourites (one small business, one large).