BUS passengers in Oxford are being urged to plan ahead as a string of routes are diverted for the city’s big Christmas Light Night.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the event on Friday. But those using public transport are warned to plan ahead, with major changes to both Stagecoach Oxfordshire and Oxford Bus Company services.

To compensate for the disruption to routes, both Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach Oxfordshire will be offering free travel for under 15s after 5pm.

The west side of Broad Street and the east side of George Street will be closed from 4pm on Friday for the lantern procession.

The parade starts at 6pm on George Street and features more than 300 children and young people from across Oxfordshire before arriving in St Giles at 6.40pm.

An outdoor stage will showcase performances from dancers and musicians.

Wallingford handbell ringers Gay and Alan Cooper, who reached the semi finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2011, in which they brought their lesser-known instrument to the masses, are among the performers. Astrologer Russell Grant and two presenters from Heart FM will keep audiences entertained presenting the programme from 5pm.

Ceri Gorton, cultural development manager at Oxford City Council, said: “We’re looking forward to Christmas Light Night with a night of lanterns, live music and food from around the world with our market and stage in St Giles, as well as cultural organisations opening their doors across the city.

“Every year we have thousands of people visiting the centre to enjoy the activities and events that are on offer and I would advise people to think about their travel plans into the city.”

Operations director of Oxford Bus Company Phil Southall, said: “We are delighted to be playing our part in the city Light Night by helping as many people as possible get into the city centre in comfort.

“Up to three children aged 15 and under can travel free, when accompanied by a fare paying/ticket holding adult, on any city, park & ride and Brookes buses after 5pm on Friday.”

There will also be no parking at St Giles during Christmas Light Night, but there is free car parking from 5.30pm at Worcester Street and Gloucester Green.

  • For more information on the Christmas Light Night, visit oxford.gov.uk/christmas or oxfordinspires.org. For more information on public transport, see oxfordbus.co.uk, stagecoachbus.com or oxfordshire.gov.uk