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Gloucestershire Business News

Christmas ice rink IS coming to Cheltenham...finally!

After years of waiting, Punchline can reveal that Cheltenham is to get an ice rink this Christmas.

Cheltenham Borough Council's planning committee last night voted in favour of the rink operating at Imperial Gardens from Thursday, November 18, to Sunday, January 2.

The news is likely to be greeted with joy by young and old alike after similar plans last year were scuppered by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Christmas in Cheltenham will be even bigger and better this year after plans for a spectacular new festive ice rink in the town have been given the go-ahead.

Set in the heart of Regency Cheltenham, it will reflect the town's historic Winter Gardens and ice rink that once occupied a site here. The modern-day version, delivered by leading ice rink operator 11th Hour, will be covered, making it Gloucestershire's only all-weather ice rink.

The ice rink is being funded and organised by Cheltenham Borough Council as part of its continued efforts to stimulate and support the town's economic recovery.

It will form part of an enhanced Christmas offering that will see Cheltenham host an extended Christmas market all the way up the Promenade and a festive lights display, making this year's offering the biggest to date.

Tickets for the ice rink will be on sale from next week and visitors are being encouraged to book in advance to avoid disappointment, particularly at weekends. Tickets will be available to purchase in advance at visitcheltenham.com/ice-skating.

Councillor Victoria Atherstone, cabinet member for Culture, Wellbeing and Business, said: "I can't wait for the ice rink to be here in Cheltenham this Christmas season. I'm confident it's going to bring so much delight to our town, enjoyed by so many, as I'm sure it's going to be an extremely popular festive activity for both residents and visitors alike.

"The Christmas sparkle in the area will be enhanced as the extended Christmas market will stretch all the way up the Prom opposite the ice rink in Imperial Gardens.

"After the challenges we've all faced during the pandemic and numerous lockdowns, with many of us having missed out on our normal Christmas traditions, Cheltenham's Christmas offer this year is going to be spectacular. The ice rink will undoubtedly play a much needed role in bringing together families and friends in an outdoor, fun and social activity with festive cheer.

"For those of us who love skating or are up for giving it a try, I'm sure it's going to get us in the festive spirit ready to enjoy the big day itself. "

David Jackson, manager of Marketing Cheltenham, said: "Our retail and hospitality sectors are a really important part of Cheltenham's economy, yet have been amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic over the last eighteen months. With this year's Christmas period taking on even more significance, this investment by Cheltenham Borough Council is an incredibly welcome and positive contribution to supporting the town's economic recovery and will give our local community something to really look forward to.

"It's also worth saying that this has been the culmination of many years of work and attempts to make this happen, not least from Cheltenham BID. We're grateful for everyone's support in finally making this happen and excited to really put on a Christmas to remember."

Keep up to date with ice rink announcements including times and when tickets are on sale via the ice rink Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/477224580179395 

As well as the ice rink, an extended Christmas market will begin on the 20 November and run through to 19 December. There will be stalls offering everything from specialist food items to traditional hand-made gifts and stocking fillers.

Alongside the market, the town's spectacular new Christmas lights, which proved popular in 2020, will return, making the town sparkle with festive cheer.

There will also be events taking place across Cheltenham including The Everyman Theatre's Christmas pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, and GWSR's Santa Special train journeys from Cheltenham Racecourse into the Cotswolds.

Those visiting the town for shopping will be able to enjoy festive lights at The Brewery Quarter and the Regent Arcade. The town will see the return of the Cotswolds Market on the High Street and the popular Suffolks Christmas Market. New events in 2021 will include a brand new artisan market at Pittville Pump Room, organised by the Cheltenham Trust.

For more information and for all the latest updates on Christmas activities and events around Cheltenham see www.visitcheltenham.com/christmas-events 

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