Thousands gathered in Pier Approach this evening, Friday 16 November to see the launch of the South Coast’s newest festive spectacle, as Bournemouth’s much anticipated Christmas Tree Wonderland finally arrived in the resort!
Hundreds of families enjoyed early evening music courtesy of local songsters, the Funky Little Choir, before being entertained by panto stars, David Ball and Olivia Birchenough (from Milkshake!) who will play Dame Nursie and Princess Briar Rose in Sleeping Beauty at Bournemouth Pavilion from 8 December – 6 January.
The hosts were then joined on stage by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Lawrence Williams and Deputy Mayoress, Mrs Elaine Williams; Stacey Poole from ITV Meridian; Buster the Bear from Yellow Buses; and Santa – whose grotto opens in the bandstand next week on 23 November.
Crowds waited in suspense for the countdown, which culminated in a firework display on the beach and the lighting of the Moscow Tree at the start of the trail, before the rest of the dazzling attraction illuminated Bournemouth’s Grade II listed, Victorian Lower Gardens as residents experienced Christmas Tree Wonderland for the very first time.
Cllr Pat Oakley, said: “This is a long-awaited moment and we’re thrilled finally to reveal the magic of Christmas Tree Wonderland. Bournemouth is a truly eventful destination and we aim to give people compelling and exciting reasons to visit over and above our enviable location and award-winning beaches. This is just the start of what we hope will become a well-established festive tradition.”
The attraction – described as magical, mystical and memorable – features more than 100 trees of different shapes and sizes, with some themed from around the world, as well as a Tree of Light and canopy of cascading lights over Pine Tree Walk.
Standing at 60ft – the same height as the Angel of the North – and decorated with 30,000 LED lights, the centrepiece of the attraction is the Bournemouth Wonderland Tree. Visitors will be able to capture spectacular light shows – set to a seasonal music mix from Wave 105, the official Christmas Tree Wonderland Radio Partner – from 5pm, and then every half an hour until 8.30pm, each night except Christmas Day.
As well as a series of enchanting illuminations dotted around Bournemouth, there is a busy programme of visits from animated characters in the run-up to Christmas.
The popular SKATE rink is back in the gardens – this year with a skate path off the main rink for the very first time – and the Alpine Market and Lodge return to the town centre.
Martin Davies, Town Centre BID Chairman, said: “After all the planning it is fantastic to see Christmas Tree Wonderland come to life in such a spectacular fashion and provide such a superb showcase for the town. It has created a real buzz which Bournemouth businesses are well placed to capitalise on as the town develops and raises its profile as a Christmas destination.”
As well as sponsoring the core offer in the centre of the resort, the Town Centre and Coastal Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) guarantee added festive fun extending as far as the Triangle, Horseshoe Common and Lansdowne, and beyond into the coastal villages of Westbourne, Southbourne and Boscombe.
Paul Clarke, Coastal BID Chairman, said: “Bournemouth’s coastal villages will be adding real variety and a family feel to the town’s whole Christmas experience. Throughout the festive season there’s a packed programme of magical events with visitors able to enjoy Christmas with a Continental flavour at Boscombe, a vintage feel in Southbourne and a Victorian theme in Westbourne.”
Exploring events in Bournemouth and across Boscombe, Southbourne and Westbourne couldn’t be easier with Yellow Buses, Bournemouth’s Christmas Tree Wonderland Exclusive Bus Transport Provider. Visitors can explore more by downloading Buster’s Christmas Cracker Group Ticket from the Yellow Buses app which allows five people to travel after 5pm for only £6.
David Squire, Yellow Buses Managing Director, said: “It has been wonderful to be a part of such an exciting, new Christmas offer that is putting Bournemouth on the map as a really magical winter destination. Using Yellow Buses to explore Christmas Tree Wonderland and the coastal villages beyond will make sure visitors don’t miss a second of fun throughout the festive season.”