SANTA will arrive in Northallerton tomorrow, as its Christmas tree – recently dubbed 'Britain's worst' – is lit up for the first time.

Northallerton's Business Improvement District (BID) has taken over the organisation of the town's Christmas events from the council and this year's event will see not only a visit from Father Christmas but also three wise men riding real camels, as well ascarol singing and nativity scenes.

Sunday's Christmas extravaganza involves 'Santa's Street Party' from 12 noon to 5pm.

Street food and drink, including german sausages, roast chestnuts and mulled wine, a full stage programme including carols, and a Nativity 'flashmob' will be part of the event.

Father Christmas will arrive at 12 noon and depart at 4pm, when the tree will be lit up.

A North Pole – or Northallerton Pole - workshop is set up on Central Arcade in the town throughout the festive season, with children able to visit Father Christmas in his toy workshop every weekend until December 23.

The 23-feet artificial tree outside Northallerton Town Hall has become a major talking point after a national newspaper labelled it ‘Britain’s worst Christmas tree’.

But Northallerton Business Improvement District, which ordered the artificial tree for Santa’s Street Party this coming weekend, has staunchly defended its actions and manager Julia Robinson said she was convinced the 'glorious light show' would make critics change their perceptions.

“We urge everyone to come to Northallerton and make up their own minds,” she says. “People will be absolutely amazed at how wonderful it looks.”

BID was unable to put up a real tree due to county council regulations.