Christmas in Preston promises to be the best ever this year with everything from an ice rink and festive market to a star-studded lights switch-on.
The festive programme kicks-off on Saturday, November 16, with the Christmas lights switch-on with Real Radio, featuring a fifteen-strong line-up. The line-up includes platinum selling singer-songwriter Gabriella Cilmi, The Feeling’s Dan Gillespie Sells, performing an acoustic set, and the Luminites will perform their forthcoming single live.
Mark Whittle, from Preston’s Business Improvement District – which has invested £110,000 into the Christmas programme – said: “We recognise Christmas is one of the most important times of the year for traders and the BID is doing everything it can to ensure we get people in to enjoy Christmas in Preston.
“The Christmas lights switch-on is a hugely important event for the city. Not only does it signify the official start of the festive shopping period, but it brings everyone together to celebrate something exciting.
“Our switch-on event is widely regarded as the best in Lancashire, and is right up there with similar events in many of the country’s major cities. We’ve worked hard, with partners, to secure a really strong mix of talent.”
On the day of the switch-on, there is free parking in the city’s bus station car park from noon.
To top things off, the Flag Market will be transformed into a winter wonderland with an outdoor ice rink.
Opening on Saturday, December 14, for three weeks, the ice rink will be surrounded by traditional log cabins serving festive food and drink, alongside a selection of children’s fairground rides.
The rink will be open seven days a week until 9pm, with a slightly earlier closing time on Sundays. Sessions will start on the hour, allowing people to skate for up to 45 minutes.
Coun Tom Burns, cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “The Flag Market transformed into a winter wonderland will add to the Christmas atmosphere in the city centre.
“Working with the Business Improvement District (BID), we have put together a great city centre offer which will give shoppers a great experience this Christmas.”
Preston BID and Preston Council has produced Preston’s first ever Christmas guide, which lists details of key events, late night shopping, free parking and much more.
Thirty thousand copies are being produced and will be available to members of the public from Monday.
The chairman of BIDS’s Christmas Planning group, Andrew Stringer, of St George’s, said: “The BID is again offering every support to ensure we attract as many people as possible to enjoy Christmas and spend their money in Preston.
“Now we need our traders to make sure they are ready to make the most of this crucial trading period.”
The latest announcements come hot on the heels of the news that there will be free parking on offer on selected days in the city for Christmas shoppers.