Austins Comes to Life for Christmas

Derry landmark to recapture festive magic with enchanting window displays alongside other store fronts across the city

It may have closed its doors after nearly two centuries in business earlier this year, but the Christmas spirit will be alive at Austins in Derry~Londonderry as the iconic department store's windows light up with festive performances.

Led by local theatre company In Your Space, the store front will recall fond memories of decades past with traditional Christmas carols as well as an array of performances, colours and animations beamed to and from other buildings across the city.

Predating Harrods in London as one of Europe's oldest department stores, Austins became renowned for its elaborate window displays which residents and visitors to Derry would flock to see on a yearly basis. It was famously lit up by outdoor arts co-ordinators Artichoke for Lumiere, the festival of light that formed part of the 2013 City of Culture programme.

To add to the Dickensian charm, the local landmark will recapture the wonder of childhood by giving little ones the chance to see Santa's Workshop in full swing, as Elves add the finishing touches to this year's gifts between December 8 and 23 (5-7pm).

Elsewhere, Visit Derry in Waterloo Place will transport city-goers back to Victorian times with carollers and vintage toys given new life from December 15 - 17.

The winter makeover is part of the Derry City and Strabane District Council's Light up Your Christmas programme, which includes many more events between now and New Year. For further details visit www.derrystrabane.com/christmas.