A free 12-day Christmas Wonderland at Nerima Gardens in Queens Park is the centrepiece of Ipswich festive celebrations this year. Here are five things you should know about it.

1. It’s guaranteed to light up your night

Almost 20,000 lights will be installed in Nerima Gardens, creating a display that promises to be unlike anything the city has seen before.

Trees in the Japanese-themed gardens will sparkle, shine, glitter and glow as they are flooded with light. The park’s lake and waterfall will also come alive with colour. And the 3.5m warm white Christmas Tree and four large baubles are sure to impress. The lights will offer the perfect backdrop for photos and an evening stroll with the family.

The light display will be on nightly from 13 December to 24 December from 7pm to 10pm.

Don’t forget, it’s all free and you can attend as many nights as you like.

Christmas Wonderland is part of an expanded line-up of festive fun in Ipswich this year which includes community carols, Christmas light displays and more. For more information, visit here.

2. Children (and parents) will be thoroughly entertained

Forget all you’ve heard about creatures not stirring (including a mouse) just before Christmas, there will be plenty of activity, from roving performers to stage shows, at the Christmas Wonderland in Ipswich.

Magician SuperSteph will astonish with her quirky super magic tricks, puppets and Frosty the Snowman. Keeping a straight face won’t be an option when all of your Wonderland favourites such as the Queen, Alice, The Mad Hatter and Hare gather for Christmas in fantasyland. It’s a pantomime full of slapstick comedy, dance and hilarious interactive fun for all ages.

Starz Carollers will have you singing along to all your favourite carols including Silent Night, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells, The Little Drummer Boy and many more. Leave wondering ‘how did he do that’ when Glen Rhodes performs his mind-blowing magic show.

For a full rundown of which shows are on what night, visit here.

3. You won’t want to fill up on food before you go

Who doesn’t love a good food truck? Culinary delights from across the globe will be within arm’s reach at Christmas Wonderland in Ipswich with some of the region’s top restaurants on wheels booked for the event. Food trucks will be open for business on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during the Wonderland.

Authentic American style hot dogs, Mississippi Cajun fries, mouth-watering Greek cuisine including slow-cooked lamb shanks and halloumi from Cyprus are among the offerings. Or perhaps Italian-style meatballs, freshly squeezed juices or a wood-fired pizza are more to your liking.

No matter your taste, if you’re visiting on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, leave room for some fine food. BYO food is permitted.

4. There is plenty of parking nearby

No specific parking is being set up for Christmas Wonderland but there is plenty of space on nearby streets. Chermside Road, Griffith Road, Milford Street, Thorn Street, South Street and Gray Street are just a few nearby options. Carpool with friends and family and you will be doing your bit to ensure available parking goes just that little bit further.

5. You can settle in for a night in front of the big screen

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie or isn’t it? Is Love Actually a romantic comedy or just plain sexist and sleazy? We don’t have the answer to these perennial questions but the good thing is you won’t have to worry about them as you enjoy movies at Christmas Wonderland in Ipswich.

Three family-friendly movies are planned on 20, 21 and 22 December. Be entertained by the antics of a young Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone (PG) on Thursday, 20 December from 7pm. Watch as Santa and his faithful canine companion Santa Paws leave their chilly home at the North Pole on an important mission in Search for Santa Paws (G) on Friday, 21 December from 7pm.

Enjoy an epic and magical adventure with Rise of the Guardians (PG) on 22 December from 7pm. This one tells the story of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost and other legendary characters.

Also, we have it on good authority Santa will be making a special appearance at 6.30pm before the screening of each movie.

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