Ultimate guide to Christmas in Blackpool 2021: Free ice skating times, fake snow cannons, lights switch-on details, Ride the Christmas Lights, fireworks, late night shopping, £1 parking offer, and more
Blackpool’s Tower Festival Headland will host the launch of festive celebrations in the town centre this year – meaning a traditional Christmas lights switch on will not be held in St John’s Square.
Instead there will be a launch event on Friday, November 19 for winter attractions on the Promenade in front of the Tower including a festive village, log cabins, light shows, illuminated Christmas trees and a skating rink.
The Christmas lights will come on at the same time.
Michael Williams, chairman of the Blackpool BID (Business Improvement District) said it had been decided to hold the launch event at the headland this year.
This was partly due to log cabins also being installed in St John’s Square for a Christmas market meaning there would not be room for the usual stage required for a switch-on ceremony.
This year’s display will include three Christmas trees around the town centre - with the return of a 40ft tall tree in St John’s Square despite it being blown down in high winds last year, and trees in Bickerstaffe Square and outside the Town Hall.
Mr Williams said Blackpool BID had teamed up with Visit Blackpool, Blackpool Promotions and Blackpool Council 'to create a fantastic festive offer'.
He said: “A synthetic ice rink is offering free skating and will be the centre piece of the festive village on the Tower Festival Headland which will include festive shopping and refreshments.”
The BID has contributed financially to the Christmas lights and towards discounted town centre parking for shoppers.
The offer of three hours parking for £1 on selected council car parks will also launch on November 19.
From December 9 to January 3, the Winter Gardens will also host a Bavarian-style Christmas market with themed stalls, fairground rides, live entertainment and Santa’s grotto.
Blackpool’s last festive town centre launch in in 2019 saw Gogglebox star and television presenter Scarlett Moffat switch on the Christmas lights.
OUTDOOR SKATING RINK
For the first time, an outdoor skating rink will open on the Prom on Friday, November 19 – and it will be free.
It will be opened by Dancing on Ice champion Dan Whiston, from Blackpool, at 4.30pm, while 17 young cast members from the musical Mary Poppins On Ice will also perform.
Each session lasts 40 minutes with 10 minutes either side to change your skates, with a designated changing facility and skate aids available.
The 40 metre-long rink will be able to accomodate 160 skaters per session and booking is not needed.
The opening hours are as follows, though they are subject to change and weather dependent.
Fri 19 Nov 5pm-9pm
Sat 20 Nov 12pm-9pm
Sun 21 Nov 12pm-6pm
Mon 22 Nov Closed
Tue 23 Nov Closed
Wed 24 Nov Closed
Thur 25 Nov 5pm-8pm
Fri 26 Nov 5pm-9pm
Sat 27 Nov 12pm-9pm
Sun 28 Nov 12pm-6pm
Mon 29 Nov Closed
Tue 30 Nov Closed
Wed 1 Dec Closed
Thur 2 Dec 5pm-8pm
Frid 3 Dec 5pm-9pm
Sat 4 Dec 12pm-9pm
Sun 5 Dec 12pm-6pm
Mon 6 Dec Closed
Tue 7 Dec Closed
Wed 8 Dec Closed
Thur 9 Dec 5pm-8pm
Fri 10 Dec 5pm-9pm
Sat 11 Dec 12pm-9pm
Sun 12 Dec 12pm-6pm
Mon 13 Dec Closed
Tue 14 Dec Closed
Wed 15 Dec Closed
Thur 16 Dec 5pm-9pm
Fri 17 Dec 12pm-9pm
Sat 18 Dec 12pm-9pm
Sun 19 Dec 12pm-8pm
Mon 20 Dec 12pm-8pm
Tue 21 Dec 12pm-8pm
Wed 22 Dec 12pm-8pm
Thur 23 Dec 12pm-8pm
Christmas Eve 12pm-5pm
Christmas Day Closed
Boxing Day 12pm-8pm
Mon 27 Dec 12pm-8pm
Tue 28 Dec 12pm-8pm
Wed 29 Dec 12pm-8pm
Thur 30 Dec 12pm-8pm
New Years Eve 12pm-8pm
New Years Day 12pm-8pm
Sun 2 Jan 12pm-8pm
Mon 3 Jan 12pm-8pm
FAKE SNOW FALL
Regular snowfall will burst out of cannons near the projection unit on the Headland throughout the evening from November 19 until January 3.
Alongside the cabins there will be a Christmas tree forest with 35 trees and twinkling lights. Visitors can walk through a 26-metre light tunnel.
Visitors will be able to drink hot chocolate, eat warm cookie dough, and sip on mulled wine bought from the log cabins. The lit-up cabins will be on the Headline from November 19 to December 12 on Fridays to Sundays, opening from 6-9pm on Fridays, and 12-9pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
From December 17 to January 3, they will open from Monday-Sunday from 12-9pm.
GIANT ILLUMINATED BAUBLE
The seven-metre bauble will be on the Prom next to the ice rink. It will be made up of 7,000 tiny baubles.
FESTIVE TOWER PROJECTIONS
Several projections will be screened onto the outside of the Tower until January 3, including Astral Dreams, a laser show created by Blackpool-born designer Jack Irving, who is best known for creating wacky theatrical outfits for Lady Gaga.
‘Magical Express’ tours will see visitors board Christmas-themed heritage trams for afterdark trips through the Lights. Journeys will last 25 minutes and run every half an hour. They will cost £4 for adults and £2 for children. There’s no need to book. The tours will run from 5-8.30pm Fri-Sun and 1-8.30pm Sat and Sun from November 19 to December 12, and 1-8.30pm Mon-Sun from December 17 to January 3.
WINTER GARDENS WONDERLAND
The venue will have indoor and outdoor Bavarian-style chalets, funfair rides, entertainment, and a Santa’s Grotto, as well as food and drink stalls, from November 26 to January 2. It will run by 11am-8.30pm Mon-Thurs, 11am-10pm Fri and Sat, and 11am-5pm Sun.
Europe's tallest aerial ride will propel riders to heights of more than 210 feet - nearly half the height of the Tower - in St John's Square from Friday.
WHERE TO SEE SANTA
- Winter Gardens, Blackpool, £15, November 26-January 2 excluding Christmas Day, book at blackpoolpromotions.com/santas-grotto-blackpool
- Houndshill Shopping Centre, £5, 10am-4pm, selected dates, book at visitblackpool.com/detail/houndshill-santa-s-grotto-750160
- Pleasure Beach, £15.99, Weds-Sun throughout December and every day in run-up to Christmas eve, book at blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/whats-on/grotto
- Coral Island, £7.99 or £3.99 for children three and under, Sat-Sun 11am-6pm from November 20 to December 19, book at coralisland.co.uk/christmas
- Ribby Hall Village, £22, November 13-December 24, book at ribbyhall.co.uk/eat-drink-play-shop/santas-grotto
LATE NIGHT SHOPPING
The Houndshill will be open until 8pm each Thursday in December, with many other resort shops following suit.
Hot chocolate drinks and shortbreak biscuits will be served in the town centre while stocks last.
The Grinchie will be walking about on December 23 from 5-8pm.
SHOWS AND PANTOS
- FriendsFestive, until November 19, Winter Gardens, £32 plus £2.50 booking fee, see sets from the hit American sitcom Friends, book at friendsfestive.co.uk/blackpool-winter-gardens
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, December 3 to January 2, Grand Theatre, panto, book at blackpoolgrand.co.uk/event/snow-white-new-2021-22
- Aladdin - The Pantomime, November 25 to December 24, Pleasure Beach’s Globe Theatre, panto, book at blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/shows/aladdin-the-pantomime
- Santa’s Magical Workshop, December 19-24, VIVA Blackpool, help elves find Santa, £20 for children plus £10 adults, book at vivablackpool.com/event/santas-magical-workshop
- Hairspray, December 13 to January 2, Winter Gardens, musical, £17.50, book at visitblackpool.com/detail/hairspray-972760
- The Rocky Horror Show, December 6 to 11, Winter Gardens, theatre, £17.50, book at visitblackpool.com/detail/the-rocky-horror-show-988270
- VIVA Christmas Party Nights, December 2 to 24, VIVA Blackpool, from £17.50, vivablackpool.com/event/viva-christmas-party-spectacular-show
- Winter Wonderland Spectacular Showtime, November 14 to January 2, Ribby Hall Village, £12.50 per person, book at ribbyhall.co.uk/winter-wonderland-spectacular
- Sleeping Beauty, November 20, Grand Theatre, £33.50-£39.50 adults, £25.50 under-18s, ballet, book at blackpoolgrand.co.uk/event/sleeping-beauty-2
- New Year’s Eve Northern Soul and Motown Party, 7.30pm, December 31, Winter Gardens, £15, book at wintergardensblackpool.co.uk/whats-on/new-years-eve-northern-soul-motown-party
- Viva New Year’s Eve Gala Spectacular, 7.30pm, December 31, VIVA Blackpool, £34.50, book at vivablackpool.com/event/viva-new-years-eve-gala-show-2021
- New Year’s Eve Family Party Night, 8pm, December 31, VIVA Blackpool (Festival Suite), £30 including food for adults/OAPS, £15 children with under-fives free, book at vivablackpool.com/event/new-years-eve-family-carnival-party-night/
- Gatsby Christmas Dinner Show, December 3 to December 18, Pleasure Beach’s Paradise Room, from £25, blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/shows/gatsby-christmas-dinner-show
- Grand Christmas Concert, 8-10pm, Monday, December 13, Grand Theatre, £17.50 adults, £13.50 for 18-26 year olds (limited to first 50 tickets), £13.50 under-18s, book atblackpoolgrand.co.uk/event/grand-christmas-concert-2021
- The Winter Ball, 6.30pm, Sunday, December 19, Empress Ballroom, Winter Gardens, £45, book at wintergardensblackpool.co.uk/whats-on/the-winter-ball
- The Snow Queen, December 10-13, various times, The Old Electric, production by Community Theatre Company, £5, call 01253 834175
- Jingle with The Jeps, 7pm, Saturday, December 4, Imperial Hotel, £39.95, call 01253 754601
- Kings and Queens New Year’s Eve Special, 6.30pm, December 31, The Showbar on Central Pier, from £20, call 01253 623422
- Saturday Sunday Lunch at the Imperial, 1.30-4.30pm, December 12, Imperial Hotel, £17.50 for adults, £8.75 children aged six-12, call 01253 754612
- Dinner with the Deadbeats, 7pm, December 3, 10, 16, £39.95, Imperial Hotel, 01253 754601
A free display will be held at around 5pm opposite the Tower on New Year’s Eve.
RIDE THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Similar to the late summer event, the Prom will be shut to traffic from 4-8pm on Sunday, December 5, so cyclists can ride through the Lights.
Participants are asked to decorate their bikes with colourful lights and laterns.
Taking part is free.
Note: The trams will be running; all bikes must have a white light at the front and red at the back; helmets are recommended; children must be with an adult; marshalls and first aiders will on hand, as will bike doctors and support vehicles; and the road will reopen at 8pm.
Three hours’ parking will cost £1 from November 17 to January 3 in all Blackpool Council car parks excluding the Talbot multi-storey and Filey Place using the PayByPhone app.
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