IN PREVIOUS years, this was always the time when hundreds of excited families and friends would gather to watch sports, televisions and pop stars switch on Southampton's twinkling Christmas lights.

The city's air would fill with festive cheer as crowds were treated to entertainment, festive stalls and bars for the special night.

To keep the flocks of families entertained, musicians would play, actors perform and presenters would provide a warm welcome - much needed on the often chill nights.

The pictures in the gallery above shows groups of people having fun at Christmas light switch-ons in the city before social distancing was a thing.