Saturday 30th November is the all-important entry you need to make because that’s when you need to clear the decks for this year’s Wells Christmas Tide Festival.
The festival is fast becoming one of the hottest events in Norfolk’s Christmas calendar, attracting thousands of visitors to Wells from across East Anglia and further afield.

Once again, the event has been brought slightly forward again this year due to the tides so that our youngest visitors can get to see Santa make his famous arrival in town from the sea.
The festive fun actually starts the day before (Friday 29th November noon – 4pm) with the opening up of the Gordon Barrett Memorial Hall in Clubbs Lane for the traditional Christmas Tree Festival.

Locals and visitors alike will be able to admire the decorated trees from 10am until 4pm on Saturday Nov 30th and 10am to 12noon on Sunday 1st December.
As you would expect, the festival organising committee has lined up another fantastic all-day jamboree of entertainment for the whole family from 10am the following day (Sat).
Craft and gift stalls will commence trading from various locations in the town, including the Quayside, Staithe Street, Wells Health Centre and Staithe Street car parks and The Maltings.

Dave the Scots piper will signify the start of proceedings when he fires up his bagpipes and parades down Staithe Street at 10am.

The town’s main shopping street will then remain the focus of the festive fun as a whole host of acts keep visitors entertained along its length for the remainder of the day.
 Acts will include the Norwich Samba Band, Charlie Cheesecake, the Fakenham Town Band, Punch & Judy, the Blakeney Old Wild Rovers, the Fakenham Ukes, Diddy Long Legs, the Bellfolk Handbell Ringers and ThunderMental. 

Residents and businesses should note that Staithe Street will be closed to traffic along its entire length from 9am to 8-30pm on the day for reasons of public safety.
 In addition to the travelling entertainers a host of other attractions will be available in the town including lantern making, face painting, model balloon making, the chance to ‘meet the penguins’ and an opportunity to make and decorate gingerbread men with Norfolk’s Kate Barmby of ‘Bake-Off’ fame.

The honour of switching on the town’s Christmas lights will once again go to BBC Look East husband and wife presenters David Whiteley and Amelia Reynolds at around 5pm.

 Approximately 45 minutes later children and their parents will parade down Staithe Street towards the harbour with the lanterns they made earlier in the day in readiness for Santa’s arrival.
 Accompanied children can also take part in the parade by decorating a pull-along cart complete with Christmas-themed characters and lights. Please register your name at Mr C's in Staithe Street no later than 29th November. 

 It is expected that Santa will arrive on the Quay at around 6.30pm before heading for his grotto at The Maltings, in time to see children from around 7pm onwards.

The traditional fireworks display will take place over the marshes shortly after Santa has stepped on dry land following his long journey down from the North Pole.
 In order to keep the public safe ahead of Santa’s arrival The Quay will be closed to all traffic from 4pm to 8-30pm. We aim to reopen all roads as soon as it is safe to do so.


Events timetable (all timings are approximate and subject to change)


  • Dave the Piper parades down Staithe Street to start proceedings
  • Festive funfair opens on The Quay
  • Christmas market stalls open along Staithe Street and in the Wells Health Centre car park, The Maltings, and Staithe Street car park
  • Lantern workshop opens - Wells Health Centre car park
  • The Christmas Tree Festival opens its doors to visitors at the Gordon Barrett Memorial Hall in Clubbs Lane (open Friday 29th and Saturday 30th November, 10am - 4pm and Sunday 1st December, 10am - 12 noon)


10am to 4.45pm – entertainers perform along Staithe St and The Quay, including:
Blakeney Old Wild Rovers/Fakenham Ukes/Bell Folk/Xmas Punch & Judy/Norwich Samba Band/Diddy Long Legs/Charlie Cheesecake/Fakenham Town Band/Thundermental/face painting/gingerbread man decorating/model balloon making/chance to meet Kate Barmby from the Great British Bake off/meet the penguins and more

5pm – outside the Arthur Howell Deli in Staithe Street
The traditional switching-on of the town’s lights by BBC Look East husband and wife presenters David Whiteley and Amelia Reynolds

5.30pm – Assemble outside Bang In Wells for the start of the traditional lantern parade down Staithe Street towards the harbour at 5.45pm. For safety reasons please don’t encroach on the parade while it is moving. Accompanied children can also take part in the parade by decorating a pull-along cart with Christmas themed characters and lights. Please register your entry and name at Mr C’s in Staithe Street by Friday 29th November.

6.30pm - Santa arrives at the Quay from the North Pole by boat before a riot of colour explodes over the marshes as the fireworks spectacular gets underway

7.15pm – Santa’s grotto opens at the Wells Maltings