The countdown to the festive period in Malvern will begin this month with the return of the much-loved Christmas Festival.

The festival will be held from 10am to 9pm on Saturday, November 23, in the town centre.

Various events will be held around the town on Church Street, Belle Vue Island, Priory Grounds, Abbey Road, Great Malvern Priory, Lyttelton Rooms, as well as at Malvern Community Hospital in Worcester Road.

There will be lots on offer for visitors to enjoy, from vintage cars, dancers and circus stilt-walkers to art workshops, bell-ringing and a food and craft market.

Children will have the chance to meet Santa in his new grotto in the Morgan Routemaster bus in front of Belle Vue Island opposite the Post Office between 10am and 3pm.

The parade will start at 5.45pm from Belle Vue Island and will feature children’s lanterns, Malvern Theatre’s panto celebrities, Dance in Motion and a confetti canyon.

The Christmas Lights will be switched on at 6pm by Loula Geater and Mark James who are in this year’s pantomime production of Aladdin at Malvern Theatres.

Live music will be held throughout the day, with performances from The Voice’s Luke Swatman, Tazmin Barnes, Worcestershire Youth String Orchestra, Malvern St James Choir, Malvern Chase Brass Band, as well as carols from Malvern Hills District Brass Band.

An arts, crafts and food market will be held from 10.30am to 6.30pm in the Great Malvern Priory grounds and Abbey Road where shoppers can purchase bespoke gifts and the very best culinary delights.

The festival has been organised by Malvern Hills District Council in partnership with Malvern Town Council, Worcestershire County Council, BBC Hereford and Worcester and Boffy Arts Markets.

Victoria Carman of the district council said: “We are so excited to welcome visitors and residents to enjoy the festivities once again. With special guests, live music, delicious food, unique gifts and Santa, there is something for all the family.”