Hundreds of people enjoy Great Yarmouth's ice rink
(C)James Bass 2017
More than 800 people glided out onto the real ice rink during its first three days of opening in Great Yarmouth town centre. And delighted council bosses say footfall during the town's Christmas Fayre was up this year with record attendance at the Christmas lights switch-on and fireworks on Friday night
Organised by Great Yarmouth Borough Council, the rink opened in the Market Square on Friday to co-incide with the three-day Christmas Fayre – and welcomed a total of 824 skaters.
Sunday was the most popular day, with nearly 300 skaters.
The rink is open until Tuesday, January 2, and is sponsored by the Town Centre Partnership, Market Gates, Proserv, Palmers, Norse and the Mercury, with media partner The Beach.
Meanwhile, town centre footfall during the Christmas Fayre was up 8pc compared to the same three days last year, with Friday up by 10pc on last year and Sunday up by 21pc.
Families got into the festive spirit in the Market Place, Minster and Priory Centre, enjoying free live entertainment, festive food and special covered stalls selling handcrafted gifts and treats. In addition, Sunday saw the start of free all-day parking every Sunday in most town centre surface car parks, until Sunday, December 31.
Promoted jointly with Great Yarmouth Town Centre Partnership under the slogan Skate Yarmouth, the festive extravaganza aims to support town centre footfall and trade this Christmas as part of the council’s year-round Town Centre Initiative.
Barry Coleman, chairman of the council’s economic development committee, said: “The town centre had a truly magical atmosphere at the weekend. I was so pleased to see so many people taking a spin on the ice, visiting the fayre and shops and market stalls, and supporting the town centre.
“If you couldn’t get into the town centre over the weekend to start your Christmas shopping, there is still plenty of festive fun and lots of special reasons to visit, including the real ice rink and hockey tournament, the beer and cider festival, lantern parade and late-night shopping.”
Town centre manager Jonathan Newman, of Great Yarmouth Town Centre Partnership, said: “This weekend saw record numbers of people attending the Christmas Lights Switch-on since it has been held on a Friday, and significant increases on last year’s attendance of the Great Yarmouth Christmas Fayre overall.
“Whilst it was quite cold, the bright and dry weather seemed to encourage more people to come out and enjoy the festive events held in the town centre over the weekend.”
Visit www.great-yarmouth.co.uk/SkateYarmouth to book ice rink tickets, find out about the offers available on tickets and discover more about Skate Yarmouth.
Tickets can also be purchased at the rink office.
Upcoming Skate Yarmouth attractions:
The Great Yarmouth Winter Beer & Cider Festival will be staged at St George’s Theatre, from Friday, December 1 to Sunday, December 3, offering a selection of real ales, craft beers and ciders.
Santa’s Grotto will welcome the arrival of Father Christmas on Saturday, December 2, whilst children will be able to write their letter to him at Santa’s Post Office. Christmas late-night shopping will get underway every Wednesday from November 29 through to December 20, with shops open until 8pm. The rink will also open especially late on these days.
The annual Lantern Parade, from Christchurch to the Christmas tree in the Market Place, will take place on Wednesday, December 6, at 6pm. The carol-singing will continue with the Civic Carol Service in the Minster on Monday, December 11, at 7pm.
The Minster will also be the venue for the popular annual Tree and Crib Festival, which will bring additional festive colour to the Minster from Friday, December 8 to Sunday, December 17, from 10am to 3pm (starting 11am on Sundays). Tickets are £2 on the door. Children free-of-charge.
A fast-paced ice hockey tournament will take place on the ice rink on Sunday, December 10, from 8.30am to noon. Organised jointly with Hockey Tutorial, the UK Winter Classic will be free to watch and involve teams from across the UK.