CROWDS lined the streets in Christchurch on Saturday to catch a glimpse of Father Christmas and his trusty reindeer.

The town’s annual Christmas Festival took place throughout the day along the High Street and throughout the town centre with musical performances, festive stalls and lashings of mulled wine to warm people up.

The High Street was closed to traffic as traders sold festive goods and yummy treats with shops also joining in the fun with a variety of street stalls.

A craft market at The Priory Church proved as popular as ever alongside their advent fair from lunchtime.

And entertainment was also laid on in a marquee in Saxon Square as well as performances from buskers throughout the market and at the bowling green opposite the Kings Arms Hotel.

Panto favourites Su Pollard, Chris Jarvis and Asa Elliot from television show Benidorm, who will all be appearing in Sleeping Beauty at Bournemouth’s Pavilion theatre this Christmas, also made a special appearance to help switch on the town’s festive lights.

Su told The Daily Echo: “I really enjoy doing this. You get to meet lots of really nice people and it makes a nice change from learning lines.

“Things like this are brilliant fun – you get the Christmas feeling already.

“It’s a great community event.”

The Mayor of Christchurch, Cllr Peter Hall added: “I think it’s been another brilliant Christmas Festival for Christchurch.

“The sunny weather has brought so many people into Christchurch. It’s been a great success.”

The lights were switched on by Santa, The Mayor and Heart FM presenters Warren Hayden and Lucy Horobin before Father Christmas took his reindeer to the Priory Church for a rest and youngsters were allowed to give him their wish letters.

See all our pictures of Christchurch's Christmas Festival here