PUT on your parka and grab your gloves because there’s going to be snow and ice in Leicester this Christmas – guaranteed.
The frosty festive theme has been adopted across the city this year, with decorations and events inspired by the beauty of winter.
There will be delicate snowflake decorations across the street, a dusting of snow on Leicester’s giant Christmas tree, a visit from an Ice Prince and a Snow Lion, and even a flurry of real snow over Humberstone Gate as the Christmas lights are switched on.
Twinkling white lights will surround the Alpine-style chalets of Leicester’s first Christmas Market, while – from 9 December – a real ice rink will form the centrepiece of the city’s winter wonderland.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “With an ice rink, a big wheel and a month-long Christmas Market, this year’s Christmas programme is shaping up to be the best we’ve had in Leicester for years.
“The city’s new market square provides the perfect setting for our first Christmas Market, while Jubilee Square will be transformed for Christmas with the first real ice rink we’ve had in the city since 2008.
“I hope that people will enjoy everything our city centre has to offer this Christmas, whether they’re doing their Christmas shopping, watching a show, or simply enjoying the city’s Christmas lights.”
The city council has spent an extra £50,000 this year replacing worn-out fixtures and fittings and updating the city’s stock of decorations. The additional funding means there are brand new decorations for Belvoir Street and Halford Street – featuring white snowflakes and sparkling stars – and thousands of twinkling pea-lights that will give a festive look to the trees in Jubilee Square and the new market square.
In total, more than 13,000 lamps will light up Leicester this Christmas, with the big switch-on taking place as part of a packed evening of entertainment on Thursday 23 November.
From 5pm, there will be street entertainers in the city centre, live music on the Humberstone Gate stage, and a chance to meet the stars of De Montfort Hall’s Christmas pantomime, Beauty and the Beast.
A 50ft spruce at the Clock Tower will be lit up with thousands of white and blue lights, while a thick coating of snow will dress it for Christmas.
In Town Hall Square, an animated tableau scene will bring The Chronicles of Narnia to life, with a twinkling winter woodland providing the setting for the city’s traditional nativity scene.
In Leicester’s new market square, around 40 wooden chalets will be filled with gift ideas and tasty treats as the city’s first Christmas Market gets under way.
In Jubilee Square, people will be able to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the lights from the Wheel of Light – the 110ft-high ferris wheel that will be back in the square for the Christmas period.
And in St Peter’s Square at Highcross, there will be snow-and-ice-inspired performances – including a frosty Ice Princess, some magical winged dancers and a friendly Snow Lion – as part of the ‘Frostival’ event.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “We hope that there will be something for everyone to enjoy in our packed programme of Christmas events.
“From ice skating to wreath-making, there will be plenty of family-friendly activities taking place in Leicester this Christmas.”
Full details of all the events taking place in Leicester this Christmas will be in a free guide – available from 16 November – and at www.visitleicester.info