Bolton town centre will be transformed into a winter wonderland for four weeks of family fun as part of this year’s Christmas Festival.

Billed as the festival’s main attraction, there will be a roller-skating rink will be in Crompton Place.

Opening on Thursday, December 15 and running until January 8, the rink will be a family-friendly attraction offering school sessions, group bookings and themed nights.

The tipi bar will make a welcome return to this year’s festivities from December 9 to January 8, featuring seating areas and a performance space.

The tipi will host a variety of performances, from local bands and artists to community choirs and carol singing.

It will also be home to Bolton FM’s "Bolton’s Got Talent" competition, with the winning act earning a place on stage of the 2023 Bolton Food and Drink Festival.

This year, Santa’s Grotto will also be based in Crompton Place on the weekends of December 3-4 and 10-11, and then from December 15-24.

Children will have the opportunity to meet Santa in person, as opposed last year’s virtual experience. They will also receive an individual gift.

The Bolton News: Mia Parr, four, from Westhoughton, with Santa and Buttons the Reindeer in Victoria Square at the Bolton Christmas Market. Saturday December 10, 2011Mia Parr, four, from Westhoughton, with Santa and Buttons the Reindeer in Victoria Square at the Bolton Christmas Market. Saturday December 10, 2011 (Image: Matt Simmonds, Newsquest)

Victoria Square will welcome a traditional Christmas market from December 15-18 with 30 chalet-style stalls offering a wide range of gifts.

Traditional fairground rides will also be available from December 3 to January 8, stretching from Newport Street to Deansgate.

Bolton Council’s deputy leader, Cllr Hilary Fairclough, said: “Christmas is such an exciting time in Bolton town centre, and this year’s Christmas Festival promises to be the best yet.

“I’m sure visitors of all ages will enjoy the brand-new roller-skating rink, alongside previous favourites like the tipi bar and Santa’s Grotto.

“We hope to see large crowds enjoying the entertainment, celebrating together and supporting local businesses this Christmas.”

Details on how to book tickets for events and attractions will be released later this month.

The town centre will also look the part with a nativity scene, Christmas trees and a special lighting display projected onto Le Mans Crescent.

The Bolton News: Bolton town hall Christmas lights in 2020Bolton town hall Christmas lights in 2020 (Image: Newsquest)

A council spokesperson said: “Christmas activities, including lighting and decoration, are a key part of our strategy to support local businesses by bringing more people into Bolton town centre.

“Like many other local authorities, we have switched to LED Christmas lighting which is much cheaper to run in addition to being more energy efficient.

“We will also be using less energy by concentrating this year’s Christmas Festival into four weeks of activity.

“We are confident visitors will not notice any difference compared to previous years and there will still be a magical and festive atmosphere in the town centre this December.”

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