Published: Friday, 7th Dec 2018

Bolton’s spectacular Christmas attractions open this Saturday, December 8. Find out what's on here.

Ice rinkThe programme is organised by the council to bring thousands of visitors into town and boost trade over the festive period.

Cllr Linda Thomas, Leader of Bolton Council, said: “There is something for everyone to enjoy in our Christmas programme.

“The ice rink is always popular and the tipi bar will be a welcome addition for people wanting to get out of the cold.

“The Albert Halls are at the heart of our Christmas programme – hosting our Mayor’s fair, fabulous festive panto, and a magical new grotto.

“There are also plenty of activities on in the Library, and the market. People can do their shopping, have a great day out and park for free – all part of Christmas in Bolton.”

The town’s annual Winter Festival opens tomorow - prices and opening times for the attractions vary.

Tickets for the rink and grotto are available online from or from Saturday at the on-site box office in Victoria Square (near Specsavers).

And here is a round-up of the best of the yuletide fun organised we've organised:

Ice skating and cosy Christmas bar

A giant covered ice rink and a nativity scene will take pride of place in the town centre, along with a huge cosy tipi – a new addition this year - until January 6, 2019.

The rink can hold up to 180 people per session. The popular Penguin Club, for parents and children, takes place 9am to 10am weekends, and daily from December 20.

Visitors can pop into the tipi for a tipple or winter warming hot drink from the festive bar, or a snack from the sweet treats menu. The tipi will also be home to a stage for performers.

Visiting Santa and hop on board

A magical Santa’s grotto has moved into the heart of The Albert Halls for Christmas.

From December 8 to 24, the grotto will open daily from 10am.

Two-year-olds will receive a festive children’s book (£2.50 entry) and those aged three and above receive an activity pack (£4 entry).

Children can also hop on board Santa’s Express train for a ride (cost £1). The train is open weekends from 10am to 5pm until December 23, and will also be running on December 20 and 21.

Mayor’s Christmas Fair

Traditional festive fun will come to the Albert Halls this Saturday (December 8) with the Mayor’s Christmas Fair.

There is something for everyone - music, entertainment, traditional games and gifts and crafts stalls - from 10am to 2pm. Entry is free.

Meet Rudolph and his friends

Children will love meeting Rudolph and his friends, on Oxford Street, before their big Christmas Eve flight.

Meet reindeer on December 8, 9, 16, and 23 from 11am to 3pm. Little ones can also meet donkeys on December 15, and 22 from noon to 3pm.

Christmas pantomime

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, featuring an all-star cast, is playing daily at The Albert Halls.

Starring in the show is Michael Starke from TV shows Brookside and Benidorm, alongside X-Factor stars David Heath and Sam Callahan. Snow White is played by Charlotte Dacia.

Performances run until December 30. For more information visit and purchase tickets from the pop-up box office in Victoria Square.

Festive events at the Library and Museum

Get into the festive spirit at Bolton Central Library and Museum.

Create your own wreath on December 10, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, in the art gallery (£25 per person).

Children can enjoy an interactive storytelling performance of Julia Donaldson’s ‘Stick Man’, on December 15, at 10am and 2pm (children £5, adults £2.50).

On Saturday, December 22, from 1.30pm to 3pm, make cards, crowns and decorations for Christmas (entry is free).

And lots of free arts and crafts activities for the children, 1pm to 3pm, throughout the holidays (December 22, 24, 27, 28, 29, 31 and January 2, 3, 4 and 5).

For more information visit or call 01204 332211.

Crompton Place

On Saturday 8 and 15, from 11am to 4pm, pyjama-wearing elves and Santa will be holding a giant slumber party.

Free stories, music, games and crafts are all on the menu.

Join the party at the unit between Select and Beaverbrooks.

Market festive fun

Santa will be popping into the Lifestyle Hall, at Bolton Market every Saturday and on Christmas Eve, from 11am to 4pm (cost £1.50).

On December 8 and 15, the market will also host free magical Christmas fun days from 11am to 4pm. Entertain the kids with magic shows, face painting, and cookery workshops.

And don’t forget to pick up all your Christmas dinner ingredients – the market will be opening its doors on Sunday (December 23) and on Christmas Eve until 3pm for last minute festive shopping.

Heaton Fold Garden Centre will also be hosting a special Christmas artisan market on December 16. Stalls, music, street food and fizz will be on offer from 10am to 3pm.

More information and travel

For more information visit, @BoltonWinterFestival on Facebook or @BoltonWinterFes on Twitter.

Free parking is in operation weekdays after 3pm at Octagon, Topp Way, and Deane Road NCP multi-storey car parks until Friday, January 6, 2019.

all-day Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays – an ongoing offer.

Visitors can also use the free Metroshuttle 500 bus to get around the town centre.