A VILLAGE known as the 'jewel of the Cotswolds' completely transformed into a festive wonderland to mark the beginning of Christmas.

Crowds flocked to Broadway yesterday (Saturday) to mark their annual Christmas Light Switch On.

Jake Wood, better known as his character Max Branning in the BBC series Eastenders, also made a special guest appearance and had the honour of switching on the town's Christmas lights.

Evesham Journal: Jake Wood turned on the Christmas lights.Jake Wood turned on the Christmas lights. (Image: Broadway Cotswolds)The actor, also known for his dancing debut on Strictly Come Dancing, said: "The Cotswolds is well known for its magical lights and roaring fires at Christmas.

"Having the pleasure of kicking this off in Broadway with the Christmas Tree means I also have the privilege of being part of it."

The star led the countdown to turn on the Christmas Tree, and then the Village Voices choir sang as the lights switched on around the village. 

Evesham Journal:  Village Voices choir sang as the lights switched on. Village Voices choir sang as the lights switched on. (Image: Broadway Cotswolds)Councillor Elizabeth Wilks, chair of the Broadway Parish Council, gave a speech on the night.

She said: "Thank you for joining us to kick off the lighting up of Broadway for the Christmas Season.

"We began with the Tree of Light, which was a special occasion to remember our loved ones, and now with the Christmas tree and the rest of the lights across Broadway itself. 

Evesham Journal: Broadway transformed into a winter wonderland.Broadway transformed into a winter wonderland. (Image: Broadway Cotsolds)"It was great to see such a turnout of both the Broadway Community, surrounding villages and visitors."

Amongst the crowds were also West Merica Police, who were patrolling while also getting involved in the festive fun. 

PCSO Karen Kempton said: "What a lovely evening being part of the light switch on in Broadway Village.  

"It was very busy, with everyone enjoying the atmosphere and the beautiful lights.  

"Let the Festive Season begin."

In the following weeks, Broadway will be hosting its late-night Christmas shopping evenings, where Father Christmas and his reindeer will be in attendance. 

The late-night shopping will occur on November 24 and December 1 from 5pm to 8.30pm.

The shopping nights will also feature music, mulled wine and festive food.