10,000 attend Christmas Lights Switch-on. Record breaking year for Christmas Markets. 20,000 on the Snow-Slide in Piccadilly Gardens and 20,000 at the Spinningfields Ice-Rink so far…
So, due to extreme popular demand, the outdoor ice-rink in the city has been given a three-week extension after proving to be a massive winter hit with skaters.
Thousands of people have taken to the ice, which is sited in the Spinningfields business district for the first time this year.
The rink was due to close on 4 January but it will now remain open until 25 January to give more visitors a chance to sample the popular winter wonderland on Hardman Boulevard, just off Deansgate.
The ice rink is part of a range of festive attractions in the city centre, which have enjoyed unprecedented success. More than 10,000 people attended the Christmas lights switch-on in Albert Square, headlined by last year's X-Factor winner Leon Jackson, and the Spinningfields Ice Rink and alpine Snow Slide in Piccadilly have each welcomed over 20,000 visitors.
The 50m (165ft) long slide in Piccadilly Gardens is a new addition to Manchester's festive attractions and an adrenaline-fuelled thrill in the winter chill. Coronation Street actress Brooke Vincent, who plays Sophie Webster in the soap, is one of the many visitors to have sampled the snow slide.
Shoppers have also packed into the Christmas Markets, which were extended to more locations in Manchester this year.
The markets reported their busiest opening weekend and the highest visitor numbers in their 10-year history. An estimated one million people have enjoyed the Christmas fayre on offer in Albert Square alone, with last year's record number of visitors across all the market sites well and truly broken.
Kendra Kennedy at Manchester Markets said: "Christmas 2008 has been fantastic for our market traders who have reported their most successful year to date. Before we opened there was some apprehension among stall holders as to the negative impact the current economic climate may have on visitor numbers. The people of Manchester have however bucked the trend of financial doom and gloom and have turned out in force determined to have a good time and celebrate."
Councillor Pat Karney, City Centre Spokesperson for Manchester City Council said: "These record attendances prove that Manchester is the UKs number one Christmas city. Nobody does Christmas like Manchester and personally speaking I would like to keep the celebrations going until Easter. The tremendous range of attractions on offer this year have certainly spread some Christmas cheer and we're delighted to be able to extend this well into January by adding extra dates for the Spinningfields Ice-Rink, which has been fantastic."
With the brand new Snow Slide in Piccadilly Gardens, it was possible to re-locate the ice-rink to Hardman Boulevard in the heart of Spinningfields. Situated just off Deansgate, Spinningfields is ideally located close to the city's main shopping areas and offers an array of quality eateries including Giraffe, Carluccios, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Strada.
Mark Burgess, Estates Director at Spinningfields said, "Following an unprecedented demand for the ice rink, we are delighted to announce that it will remain open until 25 January. The rink's new location has proven popular with visitors and we have received extremely positive feedback on both the rink and restaurants located within Spinningfields."
Claire Keegan, Press Office tel: 0161 234 4014