Businesses and independent retailers are set to get into the festive spirit as the city’s Christmas lights are switched on.

A city centre-wide event with choirs and a brass band will officially ring in the holiday season, while Santa’s elves will be spreading Christmas throughout the event.

Brighton and Hove Buses’ Santa Bus will also be at the event, with Father Christmas himself making an appearance.

The event, organised by Brilliant Brighton - a not-for-profit organisation formed of more than 500 city centre businesses - will mark the launch of a window dressing competition for businesses in North Lane, The Lanes and Western Road.

Shelley Welti, events manager for Brilliant Brighton, said: “We’re really excited to get shoppers and those heading out for meals, coffees and drinks feeling festive with a wonderful afternoon celebrating the start of the season.

“From the beautiful voices of our local choirs filling the streets, to the launch of our eye-catching window dressing competition, elves popping up across the city centre, Brighton and Hove Buses adding further joy to Preston Street, North Street and Western Road with their wonderful Santa Bus and, of course, the Brilliant Brighton Christmas lights adding further sparkle to proceedings, we really hope it’ll be a lovely way to start the celebrations.”

The Argus: Christmas lights celebrating the unique character of North Laine will be switched on later todayChristmas lights celebrating the unique character of North Laine will be switched on later today

The Christmas lights, paid for by the organisation at a cost of £100,000, will be switched on in late afternoon, with some designed by local street artists.

Bintley, Mowgli and Sinna One will light up North Street and Western Road, with lights celebrating the uniqueness of North Laine adding sparkle to Bond Street, Gardner Street and Kensington Gardens, and more traditional lighting in The Lanes, East Street, Preston Street and the Clock Tower.

The festive fun starts at 2pm and continues until 6pm, with the Christmas lights expected to be switched on at around 4pm.

Barclays on North Street will also be celebrating in a less festive way earlier in the day, with a special visit from the Barclays Premier League trophy in the branch for photo opportunities with football fans between 10am and 3.15pm.