Plans for Canterbury’s first Christmas ice rink are taking shape, as the city council begins the process to find a company to supply and set up the rink.
Canterbury On Ice will come to the Dane John Gardens for around five weeks this Christmas. Exact dates and opening times are still to be confirmed.
The rink will be run directly by the city council as a commercial and cultural venture, including the management, booking process, staffing, advertising and security, providing opportunities for local people and businesses.
Tickets will go on sale early in the autumn with adult, child and family tickets all available. Prices will be announced nearer the time.
Around 140 skaters will be able to enjoy the rink at any one time and there will also be a small number of food and drink outlets to provide a full skating experience.
The council has today (Tuesday 14 May) advertised the opportunity for companies to bid for the contract to supply and install the ice rink. Full details are on the Kent Business Portal.
The council’s Head of Commercial and Cultural Development, Caroline Cooper, said: “We’re very aware that a Christmas ice rink in Canterbury has been tried before by a private operator and ultimately failed.
“But what that did show is that there is a massive demand for a festive rink in the city centre and that it would really complement the existing Christmas offer for residents and visitors. Since then we’ve done a huge amount of work behind the scenes looking at the best way to make it happen.
“We have crunched the numbers extensively and believe that running it ourselves is financially viable for taxpayers, and that it will provide a major economic boost for local businesses, as well as adding to the cultural vibrancy of the city.
“Given what happened previously, we are aware the public may be a little sceptical, but we’re determined to make a success of this and give local people a fantastic new experience to enjoy.”