Christmas decorations have gone up around the Malls as the town centre starts the countdown to the festivities.

Basingstoke Gazette Camera Club member Jack Wearne spotted the lights and Christmas tree going up in the town centre on Wednesday night (November 10), when there were 45 days still to go until the big day itself.

Christmas lights have been donned to the top of the entrance to the Malls next to the train station, whilst a large Christmas tree was being erected in Castle Square.

It comes after The Gazette revealed that Christmas will officially be arriving in Festival Place on Saturday (November 13), but revealed no details of an official lights switch-on.

The shopping centre's celebrations will be inspired by a traditional Christmas spent with friends and family.

Hundreds of scarlet poinsettias and intricate light displays will wow visitors to the shopping centre, providing a festive backdrop to a poinsettia Christmas tree which will take pride of place in St John’s Square, decorated in red, gold, and cream.

A host of colourful Christmas characters including a fox, hare, penguin, reindeer, bird, and polar bear will roam the centre entertaining shoppers with theatre, dance, music, and storytelling.

Mrs Christmas will also be on hand to sprinkle a little magic as she carries out small acts of random kindness.

While Santa will take up residence in a traditional grotto, where visitors can take part in festive workshops and dress up for a festive photo.

For those doing their Christmas shopping, The Happy Wrappy gift wrapping service will be on hand to help out in aid of St Michael’s Hospice.

The festive event is taking place on Saturday between 10am and 7pm.

However, the Gazette understands there will be no official light switch on taking place, as has happened in previous years.

Festival Place has not held an official light switch on since 2018, when its festive event hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Visitors described the switch-on as “chaotic” and an “absolute shambles”, claiming there was “nothing Christmassy” as organisers failed to provide a tree or Santa Claus, instead choosing to light up a giant owl.