AFTER months of planning and preparation, Colchester’s Winter Wonderland is finally open.

Part of Castle Park has been transformed into a festive attraction, complete with an ice skating rink, fairground rides and stalls.

Invited guests attended a launch event last night, and the site opened to the public this morning.

During last night’s event there were demonstrations from professional ice skaters and Dancing on Ice stars Vicky Ogden, Frankie Poultney and Mark Hanretty, and local skaters.

The man behind the attraction Ben Payne said: “I’m looking forward to people coming in and just enjoying themselves.

“It seems to have a really big buzz in the town.

“It’s great, it’s such a good feeling.”


The attraction is free, but people must pay to go ice skating.

Organisers have already sold 14,100 tickets.

The team has been working on the idea since last year, and it was granted planning permission in the summer.

Mr Payne said: “It’s been very stressful and tense at times.

“The plans have been there for a long time.”

Earlier this month workers moved onto the site to transform it.

As well as ice skating, visitors to the new attraction will be able to explore a winter market and try a variety of food and drink stalls.

The site will be open from 10am until 10pm every day, apart from Sundays when it closes at 9pm.

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