An ice rink will transform Bolton town centre into a winter wonderland this Christmas.
The ice rink will be built in Victoria Square and will be a key part of the council’s festive programme to attract thousands of shoppers to the town over the festive period.
Plans include a Santa’s grotto, a speciality market, the return of real reindeer, and a huge Christmas lights switch-on party.
The 200 square metre rink will open seven days a week from December 1 to January 6, 2013. It will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Capital FM radio will provide the official ‘ice radio’ station to entertain visitors.
Bolton Council is also making thousands of parking spaces free in four multi-storey car parks (Bow Street, Deane Road, Topp Way and the Octagon) all weekend and after 3pm on weekdays from November 1 to January 27 to boost high street trade and help shoppers.
Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “Bolton has got a spectacular line-up of events this Christmas. I’m sure the ice rink will be popular with visitors and it really will make our celebrations special this year.
“We’ve got the Hairy Bikers switching on the Christmas lights. We’re also hosting a Santa’s grotto for children which we’re sure will prove a hit and we will be welcoming back the real reindeer who everyone love.
“A fantastic spread will be available at the festive market and plenty of street entertainment will dazzle the crowds. We’ve pulled out all the stops this year to make it a truly magical Christmas and I’d urge everyone to pay Bolton town centre a visit.”
From December 1, the ice rink will open: Saturdays from 10am to 5pm; Sundays 11am to 4pm; Monday to Friday from noon to 2pm and 4.15pm to 5pm, and Thursdays from 4pm to 8pm.
From December 22, the ice rink will open: weekdays and Saturdays from 10am to 5pm, and Sundays from 11am to 4pm. The rink will be open on Christmas Eve from 11am to 4pm, and Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve from 12pm to 3pm.
A skating session, including skate hire, costs: £5 for adults; £2.50 for under-18s, and £3.50 for senior citizens and students. Family tickets at £10 cover two adults and two children or one adult and three children. Groups with 10 or more will get a 10 per cent discount.
All children under the age of eight must be accompanied by an adult skating. Children aged between eight and 12 must have an adult observing. Tickets can be bought from a box office that will be set up next to the ice rink. Tickets can also be pre-booked at www.boltontowncentre.co.uk from Friday, November 16.
Fifteen wooden chalets selling quality festive goods, crafts and gifts will be trading on Victoria Square from December 1. Opening days and times are varied and deadline for traders to apply is October 30. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The free Christmas lights switch-on show is in Victoria Square, on Saturday, November 24 from 4pm, with the big switch-on at 6pm.
Details for Santa’s grotto are being finalised. Information on Bolton’s festive programme will be available on www.boltontowncentre.co.uk as details are confirmed.