Town centre footfall bolstered by ice rink in Great Yarmouth

Children, teachers and parents from St George's Primary school trying out the real ice rink which is

Children, teachers and parents from St George's Primary school trying out the real ice rink which is opening to the public on Friday in Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

More than 850 people enjoyed Great Yarmouth's real ice rink during its first three days of opening in the town centre.

Christmas has been declared a success so far in Great Yarmouth with figures showing more people are

Christmas has been declared a success so far in Great Yarmouth with figures showing more people are visiting the town lured by free parking, ice skating and special events. - Credit: Archant

Figures show that 296 adult, child and group tickets were bought for Friday, with 277 tickets sold for each day of the weekend.

The first day of the Christmas Fayre, which coincided with the lights switch-on and the opening day of the rink, saw Friday's footfall in the town centre up by 26pc against the same week last year – and 30pc compared to the previous Friday, according to the borough council.

The Cool Christmas festivities are part of the Town Centre Initiative, the council's bid to boost footfall, trade and the local economy, launched in response to a consultation, which identified the town centre as a top public priority.

Under the initiative, shoppers can also benefit from a free weekend parking trial in six town centre car parks, and free parking in all town centre car parks on weekdays after 4pm. Town centre manager, Jonathan Newman, said: 'Friday was the biggest turnout we have seen for a Christmas Lights Switch-on in Great Yarmouth town centre for at least ten years – maybe ever.

'Many people stayed in town, visiting the Christmas stalls in the Minster and marquees, enjoying Great Yarmouth Brass on the stage or simply enjoying the ice rink, long after the light switch-on and fireworks at 7pm.'

Further Christmas activities are planned over the coming weeks.

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Opening today and continuing over the weekend is the first Great Yarmouth Winter Beer and Cider Festival, taking place at St George's Theatre.

The event, organised by the Town Centre Partnership and beer sommelier, Day Harvey, will get people into the festive spirit with more than 50 real ales and ciders to sample.

Other forthcoming festive attractions include the traditional carol service with mulled wine and mince pies, at the Minster, on Monday, December 14, at 7pm, and the Tree and Crib Festival, at the Minster, running from 10am to 4pm, between Friday, December 11 and Sunday, December 20.

Then on Wednesday, December 23, at 6.30pm, there will be a Lantern Parade from St George's Theatre Plan to the Market Square, finishing with carol-singing around the Christmas Tree.

Tickets for the real ice rink can be booked for a specific session at www.great-yarmouth.co.uk/gyChristmas or at the rink's box office, which is open during the rink's scheduled opening hours.

Costs are £6 per adult, £5 per child aged four to 16, and £26.50 for a group of up to five people.

Prices for schools are £3 per child and for pre-booked youth groups are £4 per child and £5 per helper. Corporate sessions are also available.