Thousands gathered to see the Christmas lights switched on at four landmark locations across the city centre.

More than 16,000 people turned out to see the lights – the biggest crowd ever to attend the annual event.

They were treated to a winter wonderland of entertainment and feasted on festive food and drink from stalls in St Peter’s Street and at the Christmas Market.

This year was the first year that the lights were switched on simultaneously from four attractive locations across the city centre.

EastEnders star Rita Simons, who plays Roxy Mitchell in the BBC soap, led the countdown from a stage in St Peter’s Street.

She was joined by fellow cast members from the Alban Arena panto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

They included children’s TV star Ian Kirby, who played DC Harry Batt in Dick and Dom in da Bungalow, and Bob Golding, known for impersonating Eric Morecombe.

At a family fun zone in front of the Alban Arena, everyone saw a giant Christmas tree sparkle into life.

Elsewhere, the St Albans City Brass Band entertained the crowds as the lights were switched on from the Clock Tower. The Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Cllr Frances Leonard, did the honours for this part of the switch-on.

At the fourth location, in the Vintry Gardens, near the Cathedral, a band of entertainers from Meraki thrilled visitors to the Christmas Market.

There was also a special Meraki XmasFest zone outside the Town Hall with live music, street artists, comedians, face painting and a silent disco.

Attractions elsewhere included a pop-up snowglobe, Santa’s Grotto, a host of street performers and commentary from community station 92.6FM Radio Verulam.

The market is running until Sunday December 18.