THE MAMMOTH task of converting Jubilee Square into Leicester’s spectacular Christmas ice rink is now well under way.
Contractors working for the city council have started to construct the 40m x 17m real ice rink that will open to the public on Thursday 2 December.
As in previous years, the rink will be enclosed in a huge marquee so that skaters can enjoy a session on the ice, whatever the weather.
The marquee’s clear roof will allow skaters to get a glimpse of the stars, or even a flurry of snow, as they glide under the winter skies.
Skating aids for young children – in the shape of penguins and seals – will be available and can be hired on the day at the ice rink, subject to availability.
Wheelchair users can join in the fun on the ice at any session at any time, while quiet sessions will take place at 1pm on 20, 27 and 29 December.
Tickets for Leicester’s real ice rink are now on sale, with heavily discounted tickets available for preview sessions on 2 December (5pm-8pm) and 3 December (11am-8pm). Tickets at these sessions cost just £5.
Standard ticket prices remain unchanged from 2019, with individual adult and child tickets priced at £10 and £8.50 respectively. Group tickets (four or more people) will benefit from discounts, so an adult with three children can skate for £33, while skating at off-peak times is a flat rate of £7.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “After last year’s scaled-down Christmas programme, it’s great to be able to bring back the attractions that help create such a wonderful festive atmosphere in Leicester.
“The return of the ice rink to Jubilee Square is a really positive sign that Christmas in Leicester is back – and I’m sure people will be looking forward to getting back on the ice again after a two-year break.
“Although things feel more normal this year, COVID hasn’t gone away, so we’ll be keeping an eye on local infection rates as we head into winter, just in case we need to amend our plans to keep people safe. But our intention is to celebrate Christmas in style this year, and give families and friends plenty of opportunities to have fun together in Leicester city centre.”
Another attraction getting ready to open is the magical Christmas grotto that will be Santa’s Leicester home in the run-up to Christmas.
Santa’s helpers will start to build the snow-covered chalet in Green Dragon Square on Friday (26 November), so that it’s ready to welcome children of all ages from Saturday 4 December.
Visits to Santa and his elf will be free of charge – and Santa will make sure that every child goes home with a small gift.
Santa in the Square will be open every day from Saturday 4 December until Thursday 23 December. Opening hours are 11am-6pm on Saturdays, 11am-4pm on Sundays, and 12 noon until 6pm from Monday-Friday.
Local artists and makers will take over the medieval building on Saturday and Sunday (27-28 November), offering plenty of inspiration and festive ideas with unique and handmade gifts. Admission is £1 per adult.
Also on Saturday (27 November), families can also enjoy a free outdoor screening of Christopher Robin in Green Dragon Square. The family film will be shown at 5pm on the Corn Exchange outdoor screen.
Other festive attractions now open in the city centre include a funfair on Humberstone Gate, a 22m-high ‘Happy Wheel’ in Jubilee Square, and a spectacular overhead light installation, Rhizome, in Orton Square.
In Town Hall Square, families can also enjoy an animated tableau scene – this year featuring a new augmented reality experience for youngsters – and see the story of Christmas, depicted in Leicester’s traditional nativity scene.
People heading for the city centre from outside the city are encouraged to use Leicester’s Park & Ride services. A return ticket for up to five people in one car costs just £3.
More information about Christmas in Leicester is available at christmasinleicester.co.uk
Leicester City Council is grateful for the support of its sponsors this Christmas:
Octopus Energy • Goldsmiths • CityFibre • Gem
‘£’ denotes a charge applies or a ticket is required:
Now open: ‘Happy Wheel’ in Jubilee Square (£). Open 7 days a week: 12pm-8pm weekdays; 12pm-10pm weekends.
Until 2 Jan: Town Hall Square:
- Traditional nativity scene and the story of Christmas
- Christmas tableau and Interactive Adventure, featuring an augmented reality experience for children
Until 2 Jan: Billy Bates’ Festive Funfair on Humberstone Gate (£)
Until 5 Jan: BID Leicester presents Rhizome in Orton Square
Until 20 Feb: The Snowman™ and The Snowdog: Exhibition at Newarke Houses Museum
27-28 November: Christmas Craft Fair at the Guildhall (£)
27 Nov: Festive film in Green Dragon Square at 5pm: Christopher Robin
2 Dec–3 Jan: Christmas ice rink in Jubilee Square (£)
4–23 Dec: Santa in the Square (Green Dragon Square)
4 Dec: Festive film in Green Dragon Square at 5pm: The Polar Express
4-5 Dec: Christmas Craft Weekend at Newarke Houses Museum (£)
5-24 Dec: Let it Snow at Highcross
11 Dec: Frosty Fun Day at the Guildhall (£)
11 Dec: Festive film in Green Dragon Square at 5pm: Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
11-12 Dec: Christmas Craft Weekend at Newarke Houses Museum (£)
12 Dec: The Muppet Christmas Carol at the Guildhall (£)
12 Dec: Magical Christmas Film Shorts at the Guildhall (£)
12 Dec: It’s a Wonderful Life at the Guildhall (£)
15 Dec: Two Ghost Stories by MR James at the Guildhall (£)
18 Dec: Festive film in Green Dragon Square at 5pm: The Santa Clause
18-19 Dec: Christmas Craft Weekend at Newarke Houses Museum (£)
23 Dec: A Christmas Carol with Gerald Dickens. The Guildhall (£)
Christmas Park & Ride services
December: Park & Ride services will operate every day in December, apart from Christmas Day. The extra services will be running every Sunday in December, including Boxing Day. On those Sundays (December 5, 12, 19 and 26), buses will be running every 15 minutes between 10am and 5.30pm from the sites at Meynell’s Gorse, Enderby and Birstall.
The services on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 December will also be running from 10am to 5.30pm, with the 7am-7pm buses resuming on Wednesday 29 December.
1-31 Dec: The Smeds and The Smoos at Curve (£)
3-31 Dec: A Chorus Line at Curve (£)
4 Dec: Christmas Music by Candlelight at Curve (£)
4 & 8 Dec: Christmas with André – stage on screen at the Phoenix (£)
10-11 Dec: Santa’s Best Ever Christmas at the Y Theatre (£)
10 Dec – 2 Jan: Cinderella at the Little Theatre (£)
11 Dec–3 Jan: Sleeping Beauty at De Montfort Hall (£)
19 Dec: Adam Kay: Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas at Curve (£)
19 Dec: Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker – stage on screen at the Phoenix (£)
Picture caption: Contractors start work on Leicester's ice rink in Jubilee Square