Christmas in Manchester is always a magical time of year. This year it looks like being even more special, because Britain’s first dedicated ice attraction is coming to town, transforming Cathedral Gardens into Britain’s first ever Ice Village.
The icy domain will feature an Ice Sculpture Cave, Ice Bar, Ice Rink, Santa’s Grotto and a
Woodland Market with winter games, Christmas market stalls and live entertainment.
The showpiece attraction takes visitors into the Ice Cave. A vast steam train crafted entirely from ice is the starting point of this unforgettable journey, continuing onto a frozen toy factory where Santa’s team of helpers are busy making toys in time for Christmas – an iconic festive image stunningly realised in ice and snow.
Everything from the most delicate ice robin to Santa’s frozen throne is carved using 250 tonnes of solid ice.
There’ll be mischievous elves, enchanted toys, and arctic animals including snow foxes and polar bears, with each piece hand carved from huge blocks of ice, all set against a factory backdrop of ice cogs and pistons to pay tribute to Manchester’s industrial heritage.
The story of Manchester will be woven throughout the Ice Cave, with ice sculptures of famous local figures from history, including a female train driver with a ‘Votes For Women’ badge as a nod to suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.
An immersive walk-through experience, the minus-10º Ice Cave has something for everyone, from interactive photo opportunities for a cool #iceselfie to a chilled Ice Bar with frozen barrels, frosted ice fixtures, and a menu of special festive drinks and cocktails – served over ice of course.
Santa’s icy toy factory is where the magic of Christmas begins, but a visit to the Ice Village wouldn’t be complete without paying a visit to the man himself.
An essential part of the festive season, Santa’s Grotto in Ice Village Manchester is an opportunity for your little ones to meet Father Christmas in his wintery log cabin, to sit on his armchair and let Santa know what’s on your Christmas wish list.
You can’t have an Ice Village without an ice rink. More winter games and activities can be enjoyed throughout Ice Village Manchester, including vintage fairground games like hook-an-iceberg (a bespoke Ice Village interpretation of hook-a-duck).
Set amidst a grove of snow covered trees and twinkling fairy lights, the Woodland Market is a hub of village activity with market stalls selling souvenirs, Christmas gifts, food and drink. Featuring rustic log benches arranged beneath an all-weather canopy, the Polar Bar is the place to enjoy a rich hot chocolate or a mulled wine.
Snug little Ice Village chalets can be reserved for private gatherings like work Christmas events or festive family get-togethers . Ice Village Manchester also has its own stage, with a daily programme of free festive activities and entertainment for all the family, ranging from craft sessions for kids to live performances by local Christmas choirs.
A team of the world’s best ice artists have already begun to hand carve hundreds of intricate ice sculptures especially for Ice Village Manchester. It’s the most ambitious undertaking to date by Hamilton Ice Sculptors, the UK’s premier ice sculptors.
Every year since 2011 they’ve created the Magical Ice Kingdom, a centrepiece of Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park and the biggest ice exhibition of its kind anywhere in the world.
Now they’re bringing that ice sculpting magic to Manchester to create Britain’s first ever Ice Village in partnership with Manchester city council.
9 November 2018 – 5 January 2019. Tickets go on sale on 27th September.