PREPARATIONS are under way ahead of Oxford’s Christmas Lights Night celebration this evening.

Hundreds of children will parade through the city’s streets with lanterns, and a stage in St Giles will feature various performances.

Scores of shops will be open for late-night shopping as the city starts the festive season.

Oxford City Council cultural development manager Ceri Gorton said: “We are really looking forward to tonight’s festivities.

“The road closures are already in place and we advise anyone coming tonight to plan their route as some roads are closed and some bus stops have been moved.

“Many of our best-loved cultural organisations are opening late with themed events and activities taking place and our St Giles stage line-up of live music and dance looks fantastic and provides something for all the family.

“Out of the Blue are a particular favourite with the crowd after performing last year.”

The lights were switched on last night during a late-night opening evening for the city centre’s shops.

For a full report, see tomorrow’s Oxford Mail.