Saturday 3 December, 10am

As part of the culmination of Reading 2016, Reading’s Year of Culture, Light Up Reading is providing children with a special opportunity to ask Father Christmas all the questions they have ever wanted to ask.

An Audience with Father Christmas, hosted by Elsa from Frozen will take place aboard a specially illuminated double decker bus in Broad Street on Saturday 3 December at 10am. The event is one of 11 special Light Up Reading illuminations around the town between 1-17 December.

After the special Santa meet up, Father Christmas will head to Jackson’s Corner where he will be installed in Make Reading’s stunning Christmas Grotto.  At the end of the afternoon, there will be a special lantern parade, organised by jelly, leading Father Christmas back from Jacksons to the lit up Santa bus at 4:45pm.

Elsa said: “This will be a magical moment for me, bringing back happy memories from when Anna and I were children.”

An Audience with Father Christmas is sponsored by Reading Buses, rlab and Jelly. Tickets are free and can be booked at

Throughout the first 17 days of December, the culmination of Reading 2016, Reading’s Year of Culture, Light Up Reading will see many of Reading’s landmark buildings illuminated in a unique trail of light around the town.

The trail includes The Thames Tower High Striker, a fairground-style interactive lighting of the 15 storey building in front of Reading Station; two installations in M&G’s 3 Forbury Place, the illumination of the Abbey Ruins, pedal powered film nights, an illuminated bridge and new life for the Oracle’s famous beacon.

Zsuzsi Lindsay, Producer Reading UK CIC, said: “Light Up Reading will be the culmination of 12 months of Reading Year of Culture as we create a unique trail of illuminations around Reading town centre. Light Up Reading has been a truly collaborative project with a whole host of fantastic partners. We’d like to thank Father Christmas for sparing the time in this busy period, as well as Reading Buses, rlab and jelly for creating the magical transport and grotto.”

The trail of illuminations

Some of the illuminations will be lit up throughout the 17days, while others will special events in that period. See times and dates for each illumination.

An audience with Father Christmas– 3 December, 10am / procession from Jackson’s Corner 4:45pm

Broad Street (outside Sainsbury’s). Sponsored by Reading Buses, rlab and Jelly

Come and meet the wonderful Father Christmas and ask him all the questions that you have ever had, before he heads off to the Make Reading Christmas Grotto. He will be arriving by lit up bus onto Broad Street. Workshops to make lanterns and be part of a procession are listed on

Movie night on bikes – 16 & 17 December, 6-8pm

Broad Street Mall market place, Hosier Street. Sponsored by Real Time

Real Time provide the films, Reaction provide the bikes and you provide the leg power. Join us to watch a film, entirely powered by your legs.

Box of Hopes – 1 – 17 December, 9am – 6pm 

3 Forbury Square Lobby, Forbury Road. Sponsored by M&G

What are your hopes and dreams for the future? And what about our children? An innovative lighting project captures their hopes and dreams in an illuminated cube. Inspired by Light Collective, brought to life by Stuart Melrose.

Northern Lights – 1-17 December, 6pm – 8pm

3 Forbury Square, Forbury Road. Sponsored by M&G

The Northern Lights all the way from Iceland make their mark on Reading. If you look up, you will see a small replica of the lights at the very top of the building. Designed by Xavier Fulbright.

The Abbey Ruins – 1-17 December, 6pm-7pm

Chestnut Walk. Sponsored by Yes Events and Reading UK CIC

See the Abbey Ruins in a new light. As the work starts on locating Henry I among the ruins, take a moment to enjoy the beauty of the old Abbey at night and celebrate this piece of nationally important  local heritage

The Abbey 3D Experience – 12 – 16 December, 6pm – 8pm

Town Hall Square. Sponsored by Reading College and Reading Museum.

Come and explore the Abbey Ruins in 3D and find out about some of the artefacts that Reading Museum hold, where they were placed in the Abbey and what they were used for.

NEXUS – 1 – 17 December, 6pm – 8pm

Reading Station Forecourt. Sponsored by GWR

Designed by students from Reading UTC and supported by Peter Brett Associates, Stuart Melrose, Network Rail and Built with Corian by Du Pont by Cutting Edge. Interact with NEXUS and see how your surroundings change.

Light Up the Sky –  1-17 December, 5pm onwards

The Oracle Riverside. Sponsored by The Oracle

Rediscover the shopping centre’s famous beacon, as it is given  a new lease of life to celebrate the Year of Culture and the Riverside’s new look to be unveiled in 2017. Designed by Stuart Melrose.

The Thames Tower High Striker – 1 – 17 December, 5pm – 8pm

Thames Tower, Reading Station Forecourt. Sponsored by Landid and Brockton Capital

Come and try your luck with Reading’s (if not the UK’s) tallest High Striker. Will you be able to get the light all the way to the top of the 15 floors? Designed by Stuart Melrose and brought to life by A.P.S.Ltd

Reading HotSpot – 1 – 17 December from 5pm 

Christchurch Bridge. Sponsored by Thingitude and rlab

Sensing people on and around Reading’s new pedestrian bridge to create a unique flow of colour changes and interactions. Using the Things Network –  an intriguing meld of art and technology.  Designed by and

Fired Terracotta – 1,2,9,16 and 17 December, 7pm

Queen’s Road Car Park pedestrian bridge, River Kennet.

Encounter Reading’s favourite building material in a whole new light. 500 terracotta works installed and lit on the Queen’s Road car park pedestrian bridge. An installation linking clay, fire and water by Studio > I < in collaboration with art students from Reading College.


Light Up Reading is sponsored by Landid and Brockton Capital, M&G, Reading Buses, rlab, jelly, Real Time, Thingitude, GWR, Reading College, Yes Events, Reading UK CIC and the Oracle with support from Peter Brett Associates, Stuart Melrose, Studio > I < , Reading College, Xavier Fulbright, Light Collective, Network Rail, Built with Corian by Du Pont by Cutting Edge, A.P.S. Ltd.


Light Up Reading will be launched at 6:30pm at The Biscuit Tin at Station Hill on Thursday 1 December.

Light Up Reading is a free event (s). Tickets are only required for An Audience with Father Christmas on 3 December.

Reading UK CIC has produced a Light Up Reading map guide which features the trail of Reading 2016 illuminations across the town centre.  Copies can be picked up at libraries, hotels and leisure centres across Reading as well as railway stations in the Thames Valley.  It can also be downloaded at f.


Further information from Alex Brannen, Reading UK CIC, on 0118 937 4341,