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Xmas Lights at Barton Square

SPARKLE: At Barton Square.

Well, I think The Trafford Centre has really excelled itself this year with the brand new Christmas lights. What do you think?

They really are the most stunning I’ve ever seen here!

After a fantastic switch on event with X Factor favourite Ollie Murs, everyone around the Centre has been getting used to the new festive outfit adorning every inch of the place.

With lots of time and effort put into this new lights scheme, the designers have done something very new, with the UK’s first-ever animatronic displays creating a dance of light and movement at every turn.

Xmas Lights on the Malls.

Baubles: Dangling on the Malls.

Huge Christmas baubles hang from the atrium of each mall, gently opening and closing to reveal bright, spinning Christmas trees at their centre.

Wreaths of lights decorate the Orient, with gorgeous Christmas trees twinkling away merrily. Every palm tree and every lamp-post it seems is drenched with thousands of bulbs – which are now greener LED bulbs which use far less energy than the old-fashioned bulbs the Centre used to display.

The old favourite talking Christmas tree is back on Lower Peel Avenue, and last year’s highlight the Ferrero Rocher installation in the Main Dome is back – and looking as amazing as ever.

You really can lose yourself staring upwards at that gravity-defying sculpture.

Over at Barton Square we have the multi-coloured conical Christmas trees which are my favourite, I would dearly love one in my own garden. Then the magical Ice Palace grotto takes pride of place in the Square, alongside the classic Victorian Carousel and festive stalls. It’s Christmas wherever you look!

Xmas Lights in the Orient

SLEIGH: In the Orient sky-ceiling.

I’ve gathered some fun facts about the new lights to delight and amaze you – but there is no comparison for coming down and taking a look yourself. Why not bring your camera, and take some fab photos for friends and family elsewhere in the world, to show them how we do it in style at The Trafford Centre? Remember to look up while you’re in the Orient, to spy Santa and his sleigh streaking through the sky!

Let me know what you think of our Christmas lights – any favourites?

Light Fantastic Facts!

WOW – 30,000 Christmas baubles from Finland have been hung around the Centre

GEMS – More than 6,500 sparkling jewels will be glittering into the New Year

CRYSTAL – 5,000 crystal droplets have been polished for the display

HOLLY – 58,000 holly leaves have been used

LIGHT – 280,000 LED light bulbs will shine, using a third of the electricity of the old tungsten bulbs

HUGE – In all, the Centre has strung up more than 10,000m of lights

GOLD – 300m of gold-plated poles hold the decorations in place

ICE – 3000 icicles sprout from balconies and stairways

GIANT – 1,000m of Christmas garland will be used

CRAFTED – The enormous 10 metre Christmas tree has 1,100 branches, individually applied!

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Ice Palace Grotto

MAGICAL: The stunning Ice Palace in Barton Square.

THE elves have been hard at work in Barton Square building the largest, most splendid grotto The Trafford Centre has ever seen!

Sponsored this year by Christmas hit movie Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the brand new Ice Palace Grotto and 4D Cinema opened at the weekend to a flurry of eager families, keen to get inside and meet Father Christmas himself.

Ice palace Grotto and 4D Cinema

ICE: The Snow Queen welcomes guests.

This year, just like the characters from Narnia, our visitors walk through a magical wardrobe door into a surreal world – quite unlike the outside. A fabulous 4D cinema experience awaits, as the hilarious Rocket the Reindeer movie is shown, complete with wind and bubble effects!

After that, children are guided to Father Christmas in his grotto, where they can pose for photos and chat with the man behind the myth, and also receive a lovely present to help them remember their day.

As you can see from these photos, Father Christmas has spared no expense this year in creating his festive outpost at Barton Square. Magical characters and twinkling light displays really transport you into the world of Christmas, and get everyone at the grotto in the mood for this wonderful time of year.

Ice Palace Grotto and 4D Cinema

BEAST: Magical characters abound!

[With our traditional Victorian carousel just next door, and a host of festive stalls selling such faves as mulled wine and bratwurst, the entire square has transformed into a winter wonderland, cascading with lights and the sounds of the Singing Bears dressed in all their festive finery.

I am taking regular walks to the Square to soak up the lovely atmosphere. The only question to ask is: how many bratwursts can one person eat in a day?

* For grotto prices, and to book online to avoid a queue, just click here.

* HAVE you entered the magical Ice Palace Grotto and 4D Cinema? What did you think?

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If I didn’t think Christmas was on it’s way before, I sure do now. It has taken months of preparation, debate and organisation, a synthetic skating rink, a fat man in a red suit and two beautiful reindeer to pull off, but here it is at last – The Barton Square winter wonderland, just in time for Christmas.

Mrs Christmas Pudding on the skating rink

SWEET STUFF: Mrs Christmas Pudding on the skating rink

I’ve sat in so many meetings where the fine tuning of this was being discussed, that I feel Christmas started back in August! My mind is dizzy with pea-lights, polar bear suits and reindeer licenses  – but even the cynical anti-Claus folk amongst us cannot fail but be impressed by the sparkle and glam we’ve brought to the season.

The annual Santa’s Grotto is there, the animatronic Singing Bears Show, the giant Christmas trees and the thousands of lights. More than 9000 people came to opening day, and the feedback was very positive, so it looks as though the gamble of transforming our homewares extension into a winter wonderland for Christmas was the right choice.

Last year, the live reindeer weren’t allowed on site because of the bluetongue epidemic. This year, the experts said it was safe, and two of the cutest reindeer led Santa’s sleigh – and proved a great hit with the kidlets. And the adults, to be fair. See pictorial evidence!

Now, I just need to start the present shopping, which I’ve been putting off for too long.  You know, sometimes I feel that working in a shopping mall can put you off shopping – much like working at McDonald’s must surely put you off burgers.

But the big unavoidable Burger Festival for Jesus is just round the corner. And I feel a Big Mac and fries coming on…

(A late entry from Simon at TCTV, here is me giving an intro to our Winter Wonderland, in sparkly technicolour…you gotta love these pooters!)

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