IT WAS beginning to look a lot like Christmas over the weekend as families flocked to the town centre for a festive affair.

Dozens of people descended on Victoria Square for the official opening of the Winter Wonderland festival.

Children were in their element as they visited the snowy grotto and had the chance to meet Santa Claus and his elves as well as posting their Christmas letters.

From sipping mulled wine inside the fairy light-adorned teepee to meeting the event's resident reindeer Freddy, there was plenty of traditional festive fun to be had.

Families also took to the ice rink to showcase their figure skating skills.

Meanwhile, there were fairground rides, family shows and market stalls to browse.

Adding to the cheer, visitors were able to meet three rescue ponies that had been magically transformed into unicorns.

The ponies, from Raspberry Fields Pony Parties, were dressed in floral garlands and turned into unicorns for the day.

Children tried their hand at making their own unicorn fruit cones, using sprinkles, ice cream cones, chocolate and a selection of fresh fruit.

There were also expert face-painters on hand to create rainbow artwork on hands and faces.

A number of charities were on hand at Bolton Market to raise money for various causes, with stalls featuring a giant tombola, raffles and more.