Bolton’s magical winter festival will open on Saturday, November 28.
The town centre will be transformed into a sparkling seasonal attraction for Christmas, with a super-sized ice rink and two giant tipis in Victoria Square, plus a Santa’s grotto on Oxford Street.
The council has arranged the special Christmas programme, from November 28 to January 3, 2016, to attract thousands of visitors and boost town centre trade over the festive period.
The Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Carole Swarbrick will officially launch the festival at noon at the main ice rink followed by a performance from 15-year-old professional ice skater Harriet Beatson, and 18-year-old skater Sofia Tymchyshyn.
The ice rink will then open at 1pm to the public.
Throughout the festival, the tipis will host a bar, food area, and music from local bands, musicians, and street entertainers.
Visitors can also book tickets for pop-up restaurants, in the tipis, from celebrity chefs BBC Masterchef 2015 winner Simon Wood, former Masterchef finalist Jackie Kearney, Manchester chef Robert Owen Brown and demos from Great British Bake Off finalist Luis Troyano.
Opening times and prices vary. Tickets are available online on www.visitbolton.com/winterfestival and from the on-site box office.
A Christmas artisan market with 25 traders will also be selling a range of produce on Deansgate from December 1 to December 6 (usual opening hours: 9am to 6pm).
Shoppers can choose from food including handmade cakes; crepes; fudge and cheese with drinks such as locally made cider; real ale and gin available. Those looking for Christmas gifts will be spoilt for choice with goods on offer including handmade candles; wooden toys; clothing and jewellery.
Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Cliff Morris said: “There is something for everyone to enjoy in our Christmas programme.
“The new addition of the tipis is sure to be a hit, and this year we have an even bigger ice rink, with a smaller rink next to it for children to use.
"We’ll also be putting on street entertainment and music, holding a market and the popular Santa’s Express will be back.
“People can do their shopping, have a great day out and park for free this Christmas in Bolton.”
Santa’s grotto will be open from November 28 to December 21. Cost is £1 and times vary. The grotto will become a story telling and children’s entertainment area after Christmas Day until January 3.
The free Santa’s Express train will also be running on weekends, from 10am to 5pm, until December 20.
Free parking is in operation weekdays after 3pm at Deane Road, Topp Way and the Octagon multi-storey car parks until Friday, January 9, 2015. Free parking is also available all day Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays.
The Market Place Shopping Centre is sponsoring the ice rinks and the grotto is being sponsored by Party and Play Funhouse, from Westhoughton.