Voted the UK’s best seaside resort and boasting the best beach*, the South’s most celebrated coastal town is set to seal its reputation as the ultimate year-round destination with the arrival of a brand new winter attraction for 2018 – Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland.
In a partnership supported by Bournemouth’s Town Centre and Coastal Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) as well as Bournemouth Borough Council, the attraction represents a four-year investment in the town. Delivered by the team behind the town’s award-winning international air festival, the Christmas Tree Wonderland is a unique trail featuring more than 100 glittering trees and illuminations.
Opening on 16 November and running through until the beginning of January, the free trail will start with an illuminated big wheel at the resort’s award-winning seafront, before weaving through the historic Lower Gardens – and features iconic themed trees from cities around the world including Moscow, St Petersburg, Bethlehem, Seattle and Warsaw, as well as a Tree of Light and canopy of cascading lights over Pine Tree Walk.
The centrepiece of the attraction will be the Bournemouth Wonderland Tree – a 60ft LED spectacle comprising 30,000 individual lights programmed for regular sound and light shows.
A famously family-friendly resort, dotted around Bournemouth will be a series of enchanting illuminations including a giant teddy bear, gingerbread people and a giant bauble, as well as animated polar bears, a snow lion, fairies and elves. There will also be a magical Santa’s grotto along the trail in the Lower Gardens and entertainment across the resort at specific periods.
Martin Davis, Town Centre BID Chairman, said: “Bournemouth’s profile has been raised enormously in recent years and Christmas Tree Wonderland represents another giant leap forward for increasing the town’s appeal among residents and visitors alike. Town centre businesses are seizing this fantastic opportunity to create something truly magical in the heart of the resort.”
As well as sponsoring the core offer in the centre of the resort, the BIDs’ support guarantees added festive fun, as themed attractions extend to key commercial hubs, the Triangle, Horseshoe Common and Lansdowne.
Paul Clarke, Coastal BID Chairman, said: “Bournemouth’s coastal villages have distinct identities and enthusiastic communities which combine to bring variety and passion to our unique stretch of the South Coast. We’re excited and proud to be able to capitalise on this, enhancing the Christmas Tree Wonderland through a packed programme of themed events including Victorian, continental and vintage attractions in Boscombe, Southbourne and Westbourne.”
With such an expansive attraction, local operator, Yellow Buses has jumped on board as Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland’s Exclusive Bus Transport Provider to help residents and visitors travel around the destination.
David Squire, Yellow Buses Managing Director, said: “Yellow Buses is very pleased to support Christmas Tree Wonderland, we see this as a unique event to separate Bournemouth from competing towns. Having seen the fantastic trees, we think it will generate visitors and income to the area. We were so impressed that we committed to the whole four years as we believe each year will get bigger and better.
“Weather permitting, we intend to run an open-top bus decorated with lights to link the Christmas markets in Boscombe and Westbourne with the town centre so that customers can immerse themselves in the complete experience.”
Of course, there will be a traditional alpine market – with a two-storey lodge-style bar.
Visitors to Bournemouth can, once again, enjoy skating under the stars in the fairy-tale setting of the town’s Grade II-listed Victorian gardens. SKATE is back with the addition of an ice path allowing skaters to venture off the main rink.
Elsewhere in town, Rita Simons stars in Sleeping Beauty at the Pavilion Theatre, Eve Bunting’s book Night Tree is brought to life in a magical interactive performance at Pavilion Dance South West and the Bournemouth International Centre hosts its Cool Coast indoor ice rink.
Jon Weaver, Head of Resort Marketing & Events, said: “We’re all very excited about the arrival of the Christmas Tree Wonderland! It’s an awesome undertaking for the team and promises to be a fantastic attraction as well as a memorable addition to Bournemouth’s year-round events calendar, building on our status as a truly eventful destination.”
*British Travel Awards 2017 & TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2018