Windsor Castle prepares for Christmas as lights are switched on

Shay Bottomley and Grace Witherden

Images from Ian Longthorne and Paul Roach

Christmas has arrived in Windsor as staff at the castle decorated a 15-foot high tree on Thursday and the town’s festive lights were switched on at the weekend.

The Christmas tree in St George’s Hall is a Norwegian spruce and the tree in the Crimson Drawing Room is a Nordmann fir – both chopped down from Windsor Great Park. The trees took two days to decorate with thousands of lights and hundreds of iridescent glass and mirrored ornaments.

On Saturday, more than 8,000 people gathered for the Christmas light switch-on.

Master of ceremonies for the evening was Jonny Walker from Leisure Focus, who oversaw the action which took place on a purpose-built stage outside Windsor Castle.

Egham Band kicked off proceedings, with performances also coming from the Windsor Boys School, Susan Handy School of Dance, School of the Arts and Sing4You.

Peascod Street played host to an independent food market with hot food and Christmas stalls, whilst the High Street featured children’s rides and hot chestnuts.

At the end of the evening, Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Cllr John Story officially switched on the lights alongside Jay Worley and Alice Fillary who play Jack and Jill in this year’s Theatre Royals Panto.

Festive decorations include the main tree on Castle Hill, which is donated to the town by Her Majesty the Queen, whilst permission is also granted to project onto the Garter Tower through to the new year.

Paul Roach, town manager for Windsor, said: “There was an incredible turn out for the event and we estimate up to 8,000 people turned up throughout the day to see the lights be switched on.

“It was great to see this very cherished and much-loved event return to the town centre and supported by so many local people and a great way to start the Christmas season.”

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