Eastbourne is THE place to be for holiday cheer and festive fun this year with a spectacular programme of events and activities for all the family.

From Christmas markets to fireworks and a real ice rink, there is something for all ages in the run up to the holidays.

The Christmas magic kicks off on Friday 24 November with the return of Meads Magic when the village will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland from 2.30pm – 7.30pm with a festive market, craft fair, Christmas parade and Santa’s Grotto.

On Saturday 25 November the Christmas Lights Switch On takes place at 6pm in Terminus Road, including the return of the popular giant interactive LED Christmas tree, with festivities during the day from 10am including a market, street food, mulled wine and live music from midday.

Little Chelsea’s Festive Fun & Fireworks returns on Friday 1 December from 4pm with an array of stalls along the independent shopping streets of Grove Road and South Street, with children’s rides, street performers, Santa’s Grotto, live music and a firework finale.

For handmade stocking fillers, ceramics, textiles, pottery, glasswork, jewellery, artworks and home interiors, Sussex Craft & Design Fair is back at the Enterprise Shopping Centre from 2 – 3 December.

This year sees a Local Christmas Market in the town centre taking place from Thursday 7 December until Sunday 10 December, with a market of around 30 stalls selling the best local produce and handcrafted gifts.

On Sunday 10 December shoppers and visitors are encouraged to come dressed as an angel in a world record attempt for the most people dressed as angels in one place, at 2pm in The Beacon.

For Panto fans, Beauty and the Beast takes to the Devonshire Park Theatre stage from 8 December to 14 January for the ultimate in sensational costumes, colourful sets and guaranteed rip-roaring adventure, all from the highly acclaimed Eastbourne Theatres team.

A glittering display awaits at the harbour as Sovereign Shines returns from 8 – 9 December with lights adorned across many of the yachts and restaurants around The Waterfront with festive onshore entertainment including choirs, children’s rides, face painting and a market.

The Eastbourne’s Lightning Fibre Ice Rink opens its doors between Saturday 9 – Sunday 31 December from 10am – 10pm by the Enterprise Centre.  The real ice rink is accompanied by a Christmas village including the Tipsy Toadstool Bar, German bratwurst, loaded donuts and more, with stalls, late night DJ sessions and seating area all under a heated marquee next to the rink.

Shoppers can keep the little ones amused with an Angel Trail on display in shop windows across the town centre along with a Best Dressed Window competition – children can win a special festive prize every time they find five angels.  A Shop Independent campaign will also see Christmas shoppers in with a chance of winning exciting gifts donated by retailers if they shop at five or more participating independent shops. Details are available by picking up a postcard from any of the participating venues.

Why not give the gift of art this Christmas, as Eastbourne Artists Open Houses returns from 25 – 26 November and 2 – 3 December, with over 60 artists showcasing and selling their work from their homes and studios across the town.

Further afield, the Christmas magic begins at Drusillas Park on Saturday 25 November right up until Saturday 23 December with Santa’s grotto, the chance to meet the huskies in the ice cave, plus a singing reindeer trio, a stunning 24ft Christmas tree and all the usual fun of the zoo.

Minstrels, merriment and marshmallow roasting are on offer at Michelham Priory during England’s Medieval Christmas Fayre from 25 – 26 November, and an enchanting theatrical performance of A Christmas Carol awaits on 3 December.

Youngsters can meet Father Christmas in his grotto at Knockhatch Adventure Park from 9 – 10 December and every day between 16 and 23 December.  There will also be an opportunity to get creative at Moss Wreath Making workshops from 24 – 25 November and again on 2 and 9 December.

Eastbourne’s Open Top Bus has extended its season so people can enjoy a great experience visiting the town’s iconic landmarks, running every weekend until and including 10 December. The service runs every 30 mins from 10.30am – 3.30pm.

Finally on the big day itself, Eastbourne Bandstand’s free Christmas concerts return on Christmas Day for one of the UK’s biggest Christmas Day parties.  The free concerts continue on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.  This year the Main Arena is accessed via ticket only, with just a few free tickets remaining to book, however the Middle and Upper Balconies will be open for non-ticketholders on the day.

For more information on Christmas festivities in Eastbourne visit www.VisitEastbourne.com/Christmas