See Barnsley in a new light this Christmas

Christmas is by no means cancelled in Barnsley town centre this year. Bright Nights returns, The Glass Works hosts a Christmas trail, the new Barnsley Gift Card launches and you might just see some cheeky elves making an appearance!

Here’s what we have planned to keep you entertained and brighten up your festive season:

Bright Nights

This year our annual Barnsley Bright Nights will be slightly different. To get you into the festive spirit and to keep you safe, we’ve got a raft of online entertainment planned, as well as downloadable craft activity packs for all the family. There’s also a chance to feature in Barnsley’s very own Christmas card, and explore a Winter Windowland that’s set to light up your favourite buildings.

Bright Nights at home activity pack

Get creative this Christmas with a range of illuminating festive activities for all the family to make together at home. Make a stained-glass star, a snowflake dancer, a flickering tea light village or your very own winter window to brighten your street.

You can download our Bright Nights activity pack here, and copies are also available to collect from the town centre. Follow Barnsley Town Centre on Facebook or Barnsley Town Centre on Twitter for more information.

Winter Windowland

From Thursday 10 December to Sunday 10 January from 4pm until 10pm daily, shops, businesses and buildings across the town centre will feature illuminating artwork.

You can take part too by sending photos of your winter windows that will be featured in Barnsley’s Christmas card and on our social media channels. 

Don’t forget to look out for our annual Christmas lights that are already switched on.


Title Artist Venue Description
The Lights of Christmas Shaun Collins Barnsley Town Hall Last year’s hit light installation returns in a slightly smaller format, illuminating the central part of the Town Hall. The newly installed tower lighting system will accompany the installation.
The Moon is... Sam Meech Barnsley Sixth Form College A giant moon hangs in the sky. Words appear on the surface - a bizarre series of metaphors that describe the moon in new ways: 'the moon is a phantom cake'.

Analogies are the core of cognition; metaphors are a fundamental building block of artificial intelligence. Is the moon becoming conscious?

You can contribute your own metaphors for the moon to the installation by using the hashtag #TheMoonIs on Twitter.
Screen Poem Sam Meech Barnsley College – Old Mill Lane campus Screen Poem is generative micro poetry public art installation for windows: six screens display a series of short poems using words of six letters or less on each line.

The letterforms emerge from a soup of video feedback, generating live organic patterns. Passers by create ripples in the text and you can even submit your own micro poems for the screen!

You can contribute your own poems to the installation by using the hashtag #ScreenPoem on Twitter.
Hope Shines in the Night Patrick Murphy and Ian McMillan 18 Regent Street A new neon light collaboration between poet, playwright and broadcaster Ian McMillan and artist designer Patrick Murphy.

The piece is part of a project called ‘Words of Resilience’ that aims to create a series of text artworks that provide moments of poetic reflection during the current COVID pandemic.
To Neverland Sophia Lovell Smith and Full House Theatre The Civic The windows of The Civic’s historic Eldon Street frontage are brought to life with a series of bespoke Peter Pan themed shadow artworks.

Full House Theatre were scheduled to perform their Peter Pan inspired one-man show Little Darling at The Civic this Christmas.

Funded by the Eldon Street High Street Heritage Action Zone
Colour Form Lenny and Whale Library @ the Lightbox An exciting new vinyl artwork designed specifically for the side windows of the Library @ the Lightbox.

This uplifting, engaging and fun artwork can be viewed in the day, but it is after dark that it transforms into a glowing night time spectacle.
Crown of Lights 52nd Street Event Solutions Wellington House The top floor of Wellington House comes to life with a series of colourful festive lights shining a halo around this prominent town centre building.
Illuminature Responsible Fishing Various A series of intricate windows using the theme of winter nature and referencing local landmarks. See how many of your favourite places you can spot!

Artworks cover historic Eldon Street shop fronts of Frank Bird, Globe Holidays, Leslie Frances Hair, Extra Computers and Parkway Cinema. Look out for more Illuminature in the windows of Cooper Gallery and Experience Barnsley.

Funded by the Eldon Street High Street Heritage Action Zone.

Look out too for illuminated happenings on The Glass Works, St Mary’s Church and the old Computer Centre on Westgate.

Winter Windowland

Barnsley Markets

Barnsley’s markets have got everything you need to get your Christmas wrapped up, including the best Brussel sprouts to the tastiest turkeys. Don’t forget your mouth-watering mince pies!

Whether you’re looking for an extra special gift, the perfect wool to knit a Christmas jumper, a prezzie for the pooch or sweets and treats to enjoy with a festive film, Barnsley Market has it all, plus a range of other fantastic gift ideas.

Why not create your own festive hamper with a variety of festive treats! Enjoy the festive decorations to get you in the festive mood? Don’t forget to look out for the polar bear and penguin hiding in our atrium, and see if you can spot the Nutcracker, too!

The outdoor market and district markets also have a wonderful assortment of gifts and fresh produce to make any home a happy one this Christmas - so be sure to pay them a visit.

You can also use click and collect or the home delivery service from ShopAppy.

Find out more about Barnsley Markets.

Barnsley Market at Christmas

Shop local with the new Barnsley Gift Card

Now more than ever it’s important to support local businesses. Barnsley town centre is renowned for its fantastic variety of independents. From jewellery and fashion to lifestyle and entertainment, gifts, flowers and much more, support local businesses by shopping local. Many have an online offer, so there’s still an opportunity to find that unique gift for someone special by shopping local. Visit ShopAppy for more information.

Give the gift of Barnsley with the Barnsley Gift Card

The Barnsley Gift Card can be purchased online and spent in over 50 of your favourite independent and chain shops and restaurants around the borough and in the town centre, including Marks and Spencer, Boots, The Entertainer, stalls in Barnsley Market and Market Kitchen, with more businesses added weekly.

The gift card can be spent up to 12 months after purchase and can only be spent in Barnsley – helping to support our local economy.

The Barnsley Gift Card is available now; for more information and to purchase, visit

Shop local. Shop Barnsley!

Barnsley Gift Card

Light up your Christmas with Library @ the Lightbox

As well as taking part in Bright Nights, Christmas craft bags will be available from Library @ the Lightbox, where you’ll be able to make your own window star.

A limited amount of ‘My Pet Star’ books will be given away from Saturday 12 December to Christmas Eve. There’ll also be online Christmas story videos read by special guests that you can watch on the Barnsley Libraries Facebook page. You can see the dates and times of these below; some are also available in British Sign Language (BSL).

Date Time Story Read by
Monday 7 December 6pm A Very Corgi Christmas Katie Portman
Thursday 10 December 6pm  Ho Ho Hopeless Santa  Shaun Lawrence 
Monday 14 December 6pm  Norman the Slug Who Saved Christmas  Ian McMillan 
Thursday 17 December 6pm  All the Little Snowflakes (BSL)  Amy-Rose Atkinson 
Saturday 19 December 4pm The 12 Dogs of Christmas Eleanor Wright
Sunday 20 December 4pm Little Town of Bethlehem (BSL) Amy-Rose Atkinson 
Monday 21 December 6pm Ollie's Christmas Reindeer M Jonathan Lee
Thursday 24 December 6pm The Night Before Christmas (BSL) Amy-Rose Atkinson 

Get creative with Barnsley Museums

Experience Barnsley Museum and the Cooper Gallery have got creative this year to ensure people can enjoy their festive activities at home. Running right throughout December they'll be offering a whole host of digital fun.

At Experience Barnsley, to mark the launch of their latest exhibition, ‘I Grew Up in the 80s' they'll be showing you how to celebrate Christmas 80s style. This will include recreating retro decorations that people remember so well, to serving up some sweet treats from the decade with classics like the Lion Bar. Activity packs are available online via the museum’s social media pages and website or they can be picked up from the gift shop once restrictions start to ease.

After the huge success of their award winning ‘Wow Wednesdays’ the Cooper Gallery are bringing families ‘Winterval’ another exciting digital programme of stories, dance and crafts. Hosted on their social media channels and website every Monday in December, under 5s and their families will have a magical time taking part in festive themed activities. Craft packs will be available from the gallery shop once restrictions start to lift - so you’ll have everything you need to take part.

For more information

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