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Warwick’s Victorian Evening celebrates 40th anniversary

Warwick’s Victorian Evening celebrates 40th anniversary

Warwick's much loved Victorian Evening returns to the town on Thursday 23 November 2023 and this year celebrates its 40th anniversary.

The event starts from 3pm in Market Place and surrounding streets with a Victorian market and era-themed rides, just in time for the kids finishing school.

Visitors can browse the Victorian Christmas Market with crafts, gift ideas and community stalls with some traders in traditional costume. The whole family will be entertained with various fairground rides, amusements and street entertainers whilst enjoying the festive food and drink. And, in keeping with tradition, the Christmas Tree Festival will be taking place in St Mary's Church.

Visitors are also encouraged to get into the nineteenth century spirit with the annual competition for the best dressed Victorian, with the winners in both the adult and child categories being announced on stage at 7.30pm. Prizes include group tickets to Warwick Castle and 4 main enclosure tickets for Warwick Racecourse during the 2023/2024 racing season.

New for this year and to celebrate the 40th anniversary is a Victorian themed photo booth on The Holloway which will be free to use, a new cake walk ride, mime acts, a magician,and a band in Victorian steampunk costume. A fire spinner will be performing on Brook Street. 

The main entertainment on the stage gets underway at 5pm, before the lights are switched on at 7pm.

The Civic procession, including Warwick Town Councillors and members of the Warwick Court Leet, will make its way to Market Square where the Mayor of Warwick, Councillor Oliver Jacques, will turn on the lightsalongside local young boxers Serena Mali and Jaya Kalsi, as well as organisers of the original Victorian Evening. Serena Mali is three-time England National Schools Champion, and Jaya Kalsi is two-time National Schools Champion, and this year took home the European Schools Championship Gold.

Parking will be free in all of Warwick District Council's off-street car parks in Warwick from 3pm on the day of the event. On-street parking charges still apply.

Councillor Ella Billiald, Portfolio Holder for Place, Arts & Economy, said: "The Victorian Evening is a staple event in Warwick's calendar which brings thousands of people intothe town. It provides a great atmosphere, helps to promote the local businesses, and kicks off the festive season in true Victorian style!

"We look forward to welcoming you to the festive celebrations in Warwick."

Councillor Oliver Jacques, Mayor of Warwick, said: "Victorian Evening in Warwick marks the beginning of the joyful Christmas festive season, and protects the vitality and viability of our town centre by showcasing independent shops, pubs and restaurants in the town. I look forward to seeing many residents and visitors enjoying their time in Warwick."

Jamie John Walker, Company Director of CJ's Events Warwickshire Limited, added: "We are delighted to be involved with such a prestigious event in the town's calendar. It helps to bring Warwick together in celebration of the Christmas season and brings substantial footfall to the town.  "Traders and many visitors are always keen to participate in wearing Victorian attire, to bring the theme to life. We love being involved with the organisation of the event and helping deliver this truly magical spectacle, to a truly magnificent town."

Sue Butcher, Chair of Warwick Chamber of Trade said: "We are really looking forward to the Victorian Evening which is a great start to our Christmas in Warwick, and a showcase for our fantastic independent businesses."


Victorian Evening's 40th anniversary

The first event, then known as the 'Victorian Street Fair', was held in the town on Thursday 8 December 1983 organised by the Warwick Chamber of Trade. Then Chairman John Shaw, who ran the Post Office on Smith Street with his wife Janet, organised the event with other members of the Chamber including Don Hanson who ran the leather shop on Swan Street.

With little money but a lot of determination, they managed to put on a spectacular event which spanned from St John's House all the way up to Market Square.

Janet Shaw said: "The first Victorian Street Fair was organised to help unite the town and the businesses all the way from Smith Street to Swan Street. Our first event was put together with only a £7 budget and a lot of begging and borrowing!

"We managed to bring the town together, an estimated 20,000 people were in the town centre and the Police were even having to turn people away!''

Any residents that have images from the first Victorian Street Fair events are encouraged to share them by email to