It may only be early November, but the countdown to the festive season is well under way in Ellesmere Port. 

The Christmas lights at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Cheshire Oaks were switched on to a blaze of fireworks on Wednesday evening. 

Liverpool indie sensations Clean Cut Kid kept the 6,000-strong crowd entertained at the popular shopping destination. They were joined by rising star Jennings Couch and Radio City’s Leanne Campbell and Dave Kelly for the big switch-on.

The pinnacle moment of the evening saw fireworks champions Blitz commence the official lights switch-on with an explosive 10 minute musical firework display. The shopping centre's huge walk-in tree – featuring 10,000 twinkling lights – is now lit up for all to see and on Friday (November 10) its doors will be opened to the public. 

Children can join Mr and Mrs Claus from 4.30pm-8pm to decorate their own robin or Rudolph cookie in the festive cookie shop. Shoppers can also meet Santa on his sleigh and marvel at Chester Zoo’s much loved animal lanterns in an exclusive sneak peak of the zoo’s wintertime extravaganza, The Lanterns, ahead of its official launch on November 24.

The Christmas Corner is also back and bigger and better than ever. It features a German bar selling beers and gluhwein, a festive swing grill and a stall from the Cheshire Cheese & Wine Company. 

McArthurGlen Cheshire Oaks stays open until 9pm on weeknights, extending until 10pm from November 27 in the lead-up to Christmas.