Category Archives: Christmas & New Year 2021

Blackpool skating rink forced to shut today due to high winds

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The skating rink on the Tower Festival Headland has been forced to close only a week after shutting due to Storm Arwen

 

The skating rink is the centrepiece of Blackpool's Christmas By The Sea village
The skating rink is the centrepiece of Blackpool’s Christmas By The Sea village

A popular outdoor ice skating rink in Blackpool has been forced to close again today (December 4) only a week after shutting because of safety fears due to Storm Arwen.

Blackpool’s Christmas By The Sea village skating rink is not open this afternoon due to ‘high winds’.

Organisers said they are monitoring the weather and will try to reopen the 40-metre long synthetic rink if the weather improves.

Visit Blackpool said in a statement: “Due to high winds, the use of the skating rink on the headland is currently suspended and it will not be able to open as planned at midday.

“We are closely monitoring the weather and will try to reopen the rink later today if conditions improve.”

The Met Office say this weekend will be wet and windy, with hail “possible” with “snow over the highest ground”.

Experts have predicted “frequent” showers and “longer periods of rain” today (Saturday), and it will feel cold in strong and blustery northwesterly winds.

There is a 90% chance of rain until 4pm today, dropping to 10% with winds easing from 6pm tonight.

Conditions are likely to ease on Sunday, but it will remain windy – with further rain expected on Monday.

Organisers confirmed last Sunday that the ice rink would reopen after taking a battering from Storm Arwen.

The popular attraction was forced to shut last Friday due to safety fears as the coastline was battered with gusts of wind of up to 80mps.

The free to use ice rink, which can hold up to 160 skaters per session, is open from Thursday to Sunday until December 27 and then daily (except Christmas Day) until January 3.

 

 

Kirkham’s market switch-on format set to return

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Kirkham’s new-style Christmas lights switch on proved such a success, the format is likely to be repeated next year and a similar event could be held in the town at Easter.

 

Market stalls all along the main Poulton Street were the centrepiece of the day, which culminated in a spectacular fireworks display after the festive lights came on as dusk descended.

In the meantime, Father Christmas and The Grinch mingled with the eager families attending and a host of entertainment added to what organisers felt was a wonderful atmosphere.

After strong overnight winds, the opening of the stalls was put back an hour but otherwise the day went ahead as planned, with the stalls protected from the elements by the building on either side of the street.

The new format proved a big hit in Kirkham

The new format proved a big hit in Kirkham

“It was ideal – and a really memorable day,” said Heidi Hopkinson, chairman of Kirkham and Wesham Business Group and vice-chairman of the event organisers Lytham Christmas.

“We thought the market stalls idea was a better one than the conventional stage format this year for Covid safety reasons and it certainly proved a big hit.

“We are already thinking of repeating it next Christmas and it might well be back in a similar form at Easter.

“The market comes to the Market Square in town every month and is very popular but it struck us that ironically for a market town mentioned in the Domesday Book, Kirkham as far as we can tell has never previously market stalls along its main street and it went so well.

“It worked well for the shops and the response from the public was wonderful. After missing out on Christmas last year, everyone was so pleased to be involved in such an event.”

 

 

IN PICTURES: Christmas wonderland opens at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Find your festive spirit at the Winter Gardens this Christmas!

 

The famous Winter Gardens has been transformed into a festive wonderland, complete with fairground rides, Bavarian-style Christmas market stalls, and a Santa’s Grotto with twinkling fairy lights.

 

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Blackpool ice rink re-opening date confirmed after Storm Arwen causes damage

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The attraction, which is part of the town’s Christmas By The Sea offering, needed some ‘care and attention’ after the severe weather conditions hit Lancashire

 

The skating rink is the centrepiece of Blackpool's Christmas By The Sea village
The skating rink is the centrepiece of Blackpool’s Christmas By The Sea village

The reopening date for Blackpool’s ice skating rink has been confirmed.

The attraction, which is part of the town’s Christmas By The Sea offering, needed some ‘care and attention’ after the severe weather conditions hit Lancashire.

The closure was confirmed on Friday (November 26) for safety reasons.

A yellow weather warning was active across the county with experts warning that injuries or danger to life from flying debris is possible, as well as damage to trees and buildings.

However, Visit Blackpool has now confirmed plans to reopen the rink on Sunday (November 28).

It is thought that the free sessions will continue until 9pm.

A spokesperson for Visit Blackpool said: “After taking a battering from #StormArwen, our Christmas By The Sea skating rink is getting some much-needed care and attention.

“We are now planning to reopen early afternoon on Sunday (28 November) with free sessions continuing until 9pm.

“Thanks for your patience!”

 

 

Kirkham traders delighted as the town prepares to host its biggest Christmas market

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Kirkham is to host its largest festive market yet as the historic Fylde town gears up for a merry Christmas.

 

More than 40 stalls will line Poulton Street and fill the Market Square on Saturday, November 27 as the town’s Christmas lights are switched on.

A day of festive entertainment between 11am and 7pm will include food and drink, live music from street performers situated around the town – including the Worldwise Samba Drummers

performing two sets (between 1pm and 2pm) – as well as Father Christmas (between 2pm and 3pm), a snow machine, and photo opportunities with cartoon characters The Grinch and

Karl Swan, Heidi Hopkinson and Jenni Conway at the 2019 Christmas Lights Switch-On

Karl Swan, Heidi Hopkinson and Jenni Conway at the 2019 Christmas Lights Switch-On

The Christmas Elves (between 2pm to 5pm).

Davey Dee children’s entertainer will spread some fun and laughter between 11.30am and 12.30pm, and a festive firework finale will begin at 6.30pm.

Karl Swan, chairman of the Kirkham’s Christmas Lights, said the volunteers behind the event were delighted to be bringing the switch-on back this year.

He said: “We are so happy to be able to announce Kirkham’s Christmas Switch-On event is back for 2021!

“It was bitterly disappointing to have to cancel last year’s event after such successful switch-ons in 2018 and 2019, when 2,000 people attended each event.

“Unlike previous years, which have been about a big party in Market Square, we have decided to incorporate as much of the town centre as we can.

“Therefore, we are delighted to reveal Kirkham will be hosting its biggest ever Christmas market.

“Not only will Lancashire Artisan Traders be bringing a number of stalls here, but many of the local shops will also come out onto the high street to join the fun. It’s going to be a real festive

celebration. There will be lots for families to enjoy in a safe and secure way before the day is rounded off by a firework finale.”

Poulton Street will be closed throughout the event to help create a safe and secure space for people to browse the market stalls and enjoy the fun. Local traders, who support the festive

lights through sponsoring illuminated Christmas trees on the high street, have welcomed the return of the switch-on.

Heidi Hopkinson, co-owner of Serendipity House gift shop on Poulton Street, chairwoman of Kirkham Business Group and member of the switch-on committee, said: “It has been such a

tough couple of years for local businesses and the community. Kirkham, like every town, missed its big Christmas event last year.

“The emphasis this year is on families and the local community so it would be great to see as many local people as possible head onto the high street on Saturday November 27 and enjoy

a really festive and fun day out celebrating our wonderful town.”

If you are interested in having a stall at the market, email Heidi Hopkinson at serendipitykirkham@gmail.com

 

 

Blackpool’s Winter Gardens Wonderland cheapest Christmas attraction for families in UK

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

A study discovered that the total cost is £37 for a family of four – two adults and two children

 

Bavarian-style Christmas markets are coming to the Winter Gardens
Bavarian-style Christmas markets are coming to the Winter Gardens among other festive treats (Image: I Love Blackpool/Facebook)

Blackpool’s Winter Gardens Wonderland has been named as the cheapest Christmas attraction for families in the UK.

The attraction earned top spot as the best venue for money for a Christmas day out with the family in 2021.

A study discovered that the total cost is £37 for a family of four – two adults and two children.

The £15 per child fee includes visiting Santa’s grotto, getting a hot chocolate and a ride on Alice in Wonderland and and car parking. Two adults can accompany one child for no extra charge, while car parking works out around £7.

The town is also offering a variety of activites including – skating, snowfalls, projection show and magic forest which are all free to access.

With Christmas markets mostly cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, families will want to make the most of the festive markets reopening this year.

A light display on Blackpool Promenade
A light display on Blackpool Promenade

However, with mounting costs around the holidays, a day out is an indulgence many families may be wondering if they can afford.

Here are the top five in the UK – with Blackpool being crowned best value:

1.Blackpool Winter Gardens Wonderland

Total cost: £37

Blackpool Winter Gardens Wonderland has earned the top spot as the best value for money Christmas day out with the family in 2021.

Paying a visit to Santa’s grotto costs £15 per child – which includes meeting Santa, a hot chocolate and a ride on Alice in Wonderland. For a family of two adults and two children, this would cost £30.

Parking at Houndshill Shopping Centre is available for £7 for six hours – bringing the total to £37 for a festive family day out.

The seaside town is also offering a variety of activites including – skating, snowfalls, projection show and magic forest with are all free to access.

On top of the excellent prices at Winter Gardens Wonderland, you can also view the world-famous Blackpool Illuminations completely free after 5pm from November 1 to January 3, 2022.

2.Yorkshire Winter Wonderland

Total cost: £53.00

Yorkshire Winter Wonderland only charges for its experiences, such as entrance to The Ice Factor and Santa’s Grotto.

Since the 975 square metre ice rink is the main attraction, this is the most expensive activity at £21 each, but the vintage funfair and free views of the 30ft high Christmas tree surrounded by illuminated trees and cosy log cabins are worth the visit even if you don’t intend to spend money on the other attractions.

3.Edinburgh Christmas Market

Total cost: £66.00

Hosted in the heart of the city, Edinburgh’s Christmas is a six week season of festivities that features plenty of activities for the family to enjoy. Those wishing to take little ones to meet Santa or to enjoy ice skating are sure to be happy with the prices on offer – a family of four can enjoy both activities for a grand total of £41!

Plus there are plenty more rides and attractions to choose from all around the city from the Christmas tree maze to fairground rides including bumper cars and a big wheel. Need a break from the festivities? The City of Edinburgh offers many free attractions such as the Botanical Gardens to enjoy.

4.London Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Total cost: £72.50

As the nation’s capital, it stands to reason that London’s Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is a little more costly. There’s an entry fee that will cost a family of four around £20 and additional costs for many of the attractions.

Once inside, the sights and sounds of Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland are enough to keep kids of all ages entertained, and little ones are treated to a free visit to Santa’s Grotto.

Ice skating is no more expensive than many other venues across the country, so if ice skating at London’s Winter Wonderland is on your festive bucket list, you can do so without blowing the Christmas budget!

5.Winchester Christmas Market

Total cost: £76.90

Held in the Inner Close of Winchester Cathedral, Winchester Christmas Market is certainly one of the most historic settings for a Christmas Day out on our list.

Offering hundreds of market chalets selling everything from arts and crafts to Christmas decorations and food and drink, the festive stalls lead to an ice rink in the heart of the market where a family of four can enjoy skating for a low fee of £35.90!

 

 

Blackpool’s giant Star Flyer ride loses power on opening day leaving thrill-seekers stranded in the air

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Thrill-seekers taking a spin on Blackpool’s massive new Star Flyer ride got more than they bargained for when the 260ft giant suddenly lost power, leaving families suspended high above the Promenade yesterday (Sunday, November 21).

 

The Star Flyer came to a sudden stop shortly before 5pm on its opening day, leaving dozens of passengers suspended in the air on a bitingly cold day.

The huge swing, which costs £7 for a 5 minute spin, was out of operation for around 10 minutes after its power reportedly cut out mid-spin.

Riders were left perched on their seats around 40ft above street level before they were lowered safely to the ground when staff took control of the ride’s manual system.

The Star Flyer came to a sudden stop shortly before 5pm on its opening day (Sunday, November 21), leaving dozens of passengers suspended in the air

The Star Flyer came to a sudden stop shortly before 5pm on its opening day (Sunday, November 21), leaving dozens of passengers suspended in the air

Event organisers Blackpool Promotions described the ride’s power outage as a “very minor issue”.

Today, a spokesman for the company, said: “The ride was not operational for a matter of minutes and fully open for around 9 hours on the day.

“All people were brought down safely by the rides manual system and exited the ride within a few minutes.

“This was a very minor issue in what was a fantastic day for Blackpool with many thousands of people coming and supporting the Star Flyer ride and wider Christmas offer in Blackpool.”

The huge swing, which costs £7 for a 5 minute spin, was out of operation for around 10 minutes after its power reportedly cut out mid-swing yesterday (Sunday, November 21)

The huge swing, which costs £7 for a 5 minute spin, was out of operation for around 10 minutes after its power reportedly cut out mid-swing yesterday (Sunday, November 21)

The white-knuckle ride – half the height of Blackpool Tower – opened at the Tower Festival Headland on Sunday after being moved from its original location in St John’s Square last week.

The largest of its kind in Europe, the giant swing was moved under orders from Blackpool Council on Thursday (November 18).

The Council expressed safety concerns after it realised the footprint of the ride “was significantly bigger than envisaged”, with workers told to dismantle the giant before a new space was found for it on the Prom.

The ride has been a huge hit since it welcomed its first riders onboard on Sunday morning, attracting hundreds of thrill-seekers to the resort for its first weekend.

A Blackpool Promotions spokesman added: “We are delighted to have the ride operating and providing a spectacular experience in Blackpool this Christmas.

“The next stage of the wonderland opens on Friday this week with food stalls in St Johns Square, traditional rides, Santa’s grotto, VR experiences inside the winter gardens and much more.

“All we want is for the town to have a successful Christmas, for businesses to be able to gain additional revenue after a horrendous 18 months, children to be excited for Christmas and for everyone to have a great time.”

 

 

Star Flyer ride: Europe’s tallest white knuckle ride goes back up in Blackpool after a change of location

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Europe’s tallest fairground ride was going back up in Blackpool today, not far from the site where it was taken down yesterday.

 

The 260-foot white knuckle Star Flyer is being relocated to the Tower Festival Headland after talks between council officers and the ride’s operators.

The move followed a crisis meeting when Town Hall chiefs ordered the huge structure to be dismantled because of concerns it was too big for its original site in St John’s Square.

It is now being shifted to the Headland in front of the Tower, next to the 40-metre long Promenade Ice Rink which is the centrepiece of the resort’s Christmas By The Sea Village and is free to use.

The Star Flyer is almost half as tall as Blackpool Tower.

The Star Flyer is almost half as tall as Blackpool Tower.

A council statement released today said: “We have been working with the ride’s operators to find a suitable alternative site.

“We are pleased to be able to announce that this ride will now go ahead at its new location – the Tower Festival Headland.

“The ride will be positioned next to the ice rink and will give the rider spectacular views across the town.

“It’s new position will compliment the Winter Garden’s Wonderland and Christmas By The Sea village and all the wonderful Christmassy things they have to offer to all our residents and visitors.”

The view from a Star Flyer ride in Sheffield.

The view from a Star Flyer ride in Sheffield.

Work began today to erect the ride in its new location. It has not yet been announced when it will open to the public.

The Star Flyer is almost half the height of the Tower. But when it was built in St John’s Square this week council officers admitted they hadn’t realised how big it would be.

“We had received no technical specification for the ride prior to its arrival,” said a spokesperson.

“When it arrived in the square, it was clear the overall footprint would have increased significantly when vehicle mitigation measures (safety bollards), which are always required for these sort of attractions, were put in place.

“Hence the view was taken that it would not be safe to operate so close to what is a public highway.”

Blackpool Promotions, the firm responsible for bringing the white-knuckle ride to the resort as part of the Winter Gardens Wonderland festivities, said the setback would delay the opening of the markets.

“We hope to open very soon and will keep you all up to speed on the latest opening dates/times, ” it said.

“We remain committed to creating the best possible experience for everyone in Blackpool and the many thousands of visitors to the resort this Christmas.

“We are more than confident that the Winter Gardens Wonderland will be a huge success and it will still be a magical experience for everyone involved.”

 

 

Christmas By The Sea

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The Christmas By The Sea outdoor village includes a free ice skating rink, simulated snowfalls, log cabins, a forest and light installations and is open until January 3rd.

The Christmas By The Sea outdoor village includes a free ice skating rink, simulated snowfalls, log cabins, a forest and light installations and is open until January 3rd.

Christmas By The Sea: 21 pictures as Blackpool marks the official start of Christmas with the grand opening of its festive wonderland at the Tower Festival Headland

Dancing on Ice star Dan Whiston opened the skating rink at Friday’s grand opening of ‘Christmas By The Sea’ in Blackpool.

The ‘Christmas By The Sea’ outdoor village includes a free ice skating rink, simulated snowfalls, log cabins, a forest and light installations and is open until January 3rd.

We were there getting into the festive spirit with the crowds.

New opening date set for Blackpool’s Christmas Wonderland

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The St John’s Square and Winter Gardens indoor elements of Blackpool’s Christmas Wonderland will now both open on the same day, Friday, November 26, organisers Blackpool Promotions have aannounced..

 

It follows the decision on Thursday to stop installation of the giant Star Flyer ride at the St John’s Square site, which was due to be available from this weekend, and an update on what is happening next with that is still awaited.

John Westhead, Blackpool Promotions’ head of operations, said: “As a local lad who was born and raised in Blackpool, I have been passionate about bringing an experience such as this to the town. Blackpool deserves a Christmas offering to rival other local areas.

“We have had a lot of interest relating to the Star Flyer ride and we hope to have a positive update in due course.

The Star Flyer ride being dismantled in St John's Square on Thursday

The Star Flyer ride being dismantled in St John’s Square on Thursday

“The overarching message for the markets is ‘bringing families together at Christmas’

“The wonderland will be a mixture of traditional food stalls, retail outlets, traditional fairground rides and modern VR experiences whilst also incorporating a Santa’s grotto.

“We have engaged with many local schools to create an artwork competition with displays that will be inside the Winter Gardens.

“We have offered the chance for schools and local clubs to perform at the markets and tried to engage the local community in all aspects of the Wonderland experience.

“All we want is for the town to have a successful Christmas, for businesses to be able to gain additional revenue after a horrendous 18 months, children to be excited for Christmas and for everyone to have a great time.

“We hope that you come and enjoy your time with us and always welcome feedback on how we can improve going forward.

“The intention is to have this event every year to support Blackpool at Christmas.

“As a company, we bring hundreds of thousands of people into Blackpool each year and have done for the last 35 years. We hope to continue to support the town for many years to come.”