Christmas lights on Southside Street, Plymouth Barbican

Travel Information: Barbican Christmas Lights Switch-On 2023

On Saturday 18th November 2023, the Barbican and Sutton Harbour will be having its big Christmas lights switch-on.

With free, family-friendly activities kicking off from 12pm, expect a surprise visit from Santa, a Reindeer Trail, live performances, stall holders and more. The main event, the big lights switch-on, will be happening from approximately 5:30pm. This year’s special guests are Dame Darcey Bussell DBE and the nominated community heroes.

The event is becoming more and more popular every year with people flocking to this historic area of Plymouth around Christmas time. 2023’s event is going to be the biggest yet and this means there will be road closures for safety as well as lots of congestion on the roads.

We have outlined alternative ways to get into the city and where to park on the night if absolutely necessary.


How to get here

We would advise that the best option if you live close enough and are able to walk is to do so. If not, there will be plenty of public transport available on the evening. Plymouth Railway Station is a 20 minute walk, 15 minute bus ride or 10 minute taxi away from the Barbican.

There will also be buses running throughout the night to get you to and from your destination safely. You can use Plymouth City Bus’s handy route planner to help you plan your journey.

If you live further out of the city centre, or if you’re coming from outside of Plymouth, you can also use the city’s Park and Ride service. Save the hassle of driving through congestion and finding somewhere to park. The three Park and Ride services are located at Coypool, George and Milehouse.


Road closures and car parking

If it is absolutely necessary for you to drive to the event, it’s important to be aware of road closures that will be in place. From 10am until 7pm, Basket Ope, The Parade and Southside Street will all be closed to traffic for the safety of the event. Please be aware that congestion on the roads is likely for the entirety of the day on Saturday 18th November.

There are multiple car parks within the city centre, information can be found here.

For car parking around the Barbican and Sutton Harbour, this may mean you will have to use a diverted route. At Sutton Harbour, the following car parks will be available to serve the event:

  • Lambhay Hill Car Park
  • Harbour Car Park
  • North Quay Edge
  • Elphinstone Car Park
  • Exchange Street Car Park
  • Vauxhall Street Car Park


Access enquiries

If you are a Blue Badge holder, car park charges still apply so this is something to be aware of. You can find out more information on the Plymouth City Council website. For further enquiries related to access and inclusion for this event, please email:

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