Lantern Procession set to switch on Bath’s Christmas lights.

An image from last year's procession.
An image from last year’s procession.

After Mary Berry, Justin Webb and Bath Rugby doing the honours in recent years, Bath & North East Somerset Council has cooked up something different for this year’s Christmas lights switch-on.

They are not going to have a celebrity and instead are  linking in with the Holburne Museum’s annual Lantern Procession  to make the youngsters – and adults – taking part – the stars of the show!

The  lantern show has gradually been getting bigger and bigger and this year – as well as many lanterns made by youngsters from local schools – twelve professional artists have been commissioned to make large-scale spectacular pieces.
So next month – November 19 – the city’s Christmas illuminations will light up in celebration on the same evening – with the youngest members of the Holburne Museum Lantern Procession will bring their lanterns into Abbey Churchyard for the lighting of the Christmas Tree.
Jennifer Scott, the Holburne’s Director said: “I am thrilled that for the ninth year in a row the Museum will unite families, schools, students, artists and community groups for the Holburne Lantern Procession. We hope to welcome even more people this year to join in and enjoy the spectacle of lanterns illuminating the streets of Bath on Thursday 19 November.”

lanterns bath
Image from last year’s procession.

Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services said: “Having almost a thousand local people – mostly children – light up the city for Christmas this year will be quite a spectacle. We’re looking forward to switching on the Christmas tree lights as part of this procession, which is one of the largest free, participatory events in our city. I hope lots of people come along to watch, enjoy the light switch-on and stay in the city to eat and shop.”
The theme of this year’s Holburne Museum Lantern Procession is The Enchanted Forest. It takes its inspiration from the museum’s displays, in particular the autumn show Gold: An Exhibition from the Royal Collection, and also the work of Japanese paper cut artist Nahoko Kojima. During the procession, birds, beasts, trees and mythical creatures will travel from the Holburne through the streets of Bath to Parade Gardens.

Abbey Churchyard tree.
Abbey Churchyard tree.

The Holburne is busy working with seven local primary schools (Freshford, St. Martin’s Garden, Longvernal, Swainswick, King Edward’s, Roundhill and St. Philip’s) students from City of Bath College, six community groups (the Holburne’s Gardener’s Lodge Art Group, Compass, Mentoring Plus, Alice Park Community Group, DeafPlus, Odd Down at Play), Holburne volunteers, young people from the Holburne’s Portfolio Group, Youth Forum and Early Years group to create the lanterns. Twelve artists have also been commissioned to make huge, spectacular lanterns.
If you would like to take part, you will need to book on to one of the Museum’s lantern-making workshops ( or purchase a lantern-making kit from the Holburne Museum shop, available from Saturday October 24

Participants should gather at the Holburne by 5.30pm. The Holburne Museum Lantern Procession will leave at 6pm and proceed over Pulteney Bridge, through town and end in Parade Gardens by 7pm. The Procession will be accompanied by three marching samba bands provided Bath School of Samba including a new Bath Spa University student band (in partnership with BSU Music Department). There will also be Glow-hoopers from Funky Monkey Studio. The procession will end in Parade Gardens with bhangra band RSVP.
The Holburne Museum Lantern Procession supported by the Cobalt Trust
Bath Christmas Lights supported by Bath & North East Somerset Council
The Bath Christmas Market will open the following week, November 26.

For your information: 
The Holburne Museum houses an important art collection formed by Sir William Holburne in the early nineteenth century, which includes paintings, silver, sculpture, furniture and porcelain of national and international significance. Artists in the collection include Gainsborough, Guardi, Stubbs, Ramsay and Zoffany.
The Museum reopened in May 2011 after ambitious renovations and a new extension by Eric Parry Architects. The Holburne has fast gained a reputation as one of a number of outstanding regional museums in the UK.
• Winner of the Museums & Heritage Award for the re-display of the permanent collection. 
• Winner of RIBA Building of the Year, South-West. 
• Winner of the Civic Trust’s Michael Middleton Special Award for a restoration/extension project within a conservation area.
The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DB
Open daily, free admission 10am to 5pm (11am to 5pm Sundays and Bank Holidays)
Tel: 01225 388569 | email: |
 In Partnership with Bath Spa University