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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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