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Britain’s first dedicated ice attraction comes to Manchester this Christmas

Britain’s first dedicated ice attraction is coming to Manchester for Christmas 2018. Opening 9 November, Ice Village Manchester is a frosty family-friendly attraction, produced in partnership with Manchester City Council.

A team of the UK’s premier ice sculptors will transform Cathedral Gardens in Manchester city centre into Britain’s first ever Ice Village – a frosty Christmas village with breathtaking ice attractions at its heart, and with something for all the family.

The showpiece attraction takes visitors into the Ice Cavern. 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, but here each detail is stunningly realised in ice and snow. Some of the world’s best ice artists have already begun to hand carve hundreds of intricate ice sculptures especially for Ice Village Manchester (work begins as early as July for a November opening).

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 in fact be woven throughout the Ice Cavern, with ice sculptures referencing famous local figures from history including a female train driver with a ‘Votes For Women’ badge as a nod to suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, as well as other legendary Mancunian symbols like football, music and Manchester’s worker bee emblem. Incredibly, everything from the most delicate ice robin to Santa’s frozen throne is carved using 250 tonnes of solid ice.

An immersive walk-through experience, the minus-10º Ice Cavern has something for everyone, from interactive photo ops 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 wishlist.

You can’t have an Ice Village without an Ice Rink – here it’ll be the premier spot for demonstrating your ice skating prowess. Further 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 Arctic Tavern is the place to enjoy a rich hot chocolate or a mulled wine. Snug little Ice Village chalets may also be reserved for private gatherings (ideal for 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.

Ice Village Manchester is produced in partnership with Manchester City Council, and operates alongside the award-winning Manchester Christmas Markets (voted one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe) – altogether making Manchester a favourite Christmas break destination, and the ideal spot for Britain’s first ever Ice Village.


Manchester Cathedral Gardens, 9 November 2018 – 5 January 2019