VICTORIA Square looks set to be transformed into an ice-skating winter wonderland this Christmas.

Town centre visitors will be able to try out their skating skills when a festive ice rink opens in the square from November 28 until December 28.

The eight metre by 8.25 metre artificial rink will be surrounded by interlocking barriers and real Christmas trees, covered with artificial snow.

Up to 26 skaters at any one time will be able to use the rink, organised by the Bolton Town Centre Company -- and it will be open to skaters seven days a week.

This icy winter fun proved to be extremely popular when it was staged two years ago.

Bolton Town Centre Manager Cathy Savage said: "The ice rink two years ago attracted visitors from all over and we have been asked by many people if we were going to do it again, so due to popular demand it is back."

The open air rink, which will be known as the Ice Cube is not as big as the previous one but organisers hope the real Christmas trees covered with artificial snow will make it more attractive.

Mrs Savage said: "We hope it will be in-keeping with the rest of Victoria Square. We feel it will be very popular and bring more people into the town centre."

Sponsorship from businesses is expected to fund the £34,000 needed to run the event.

Last year Bolton Town Centre company organised a six metre high snow tobogganing slope in Victoria Square.

Visitors could slide down a synthetic snow tube on a special rubber ring. The tube, from leisure company Alpine Attractions in Birmingham replaced initial plans to have a synthetic ice rink.

But there were some problems when temperatures dropped below freezing and the attraction had to be closed temporarily for safety reasons.

In 2000, an undercover ice rink which could accommodate around 1,500 people was set up in Victoria Square.

Bolton's Christmas lights will be switched-on on Thursday November 21.