Voted the UK’s best seaside resort and boasting the best beach*, the South’s most celebrated coastal town has welcomed the return of the magical Christmas Tree Wonderland. Led by BCP Council, with the support of local, regional and national businesses – notably Town Centre BID, Coastal BID, Yellow Buses, Vodafone, PayByPhone and South Western Railway, the award-winning festival is back for a second year.
With a fantastic opening night attended by thousands of people – footfall counters indicated this was more than 65,000 people, and the announcement of a Highly Commended at the recent ‘International Travel and Tourism Awards’ the six week festival has certainly kick started the festive season!
Up against Vilnius (Lithuania), Liverpool 2018, Visit Dallas and Forth Worth and ‘Only Vegas Moments’, Christmas Tree Wonderland was amongst big names in a hotly contended category. Jon Weaver, Head of Resort Marketing & Events, BCP Council, said; “We’re all very excited to welcome back Christmas Tree Wonderland and our ‘Highly Commended’ award in the ‘Best Destination Campaign – City’ category is a fantastic credit to everyone involved. It again reinforces our status as a truly eventful destination.”
The return of the festival has also secured some big names in sponsorship – the PayByPhone Bethlehem Tree, South Western Railway St Petersburg Tree and, new for 2019, the Vodafone Gigafast Tree of Light.
Sarah Chandley, Vodafone Gigafast City Manager Bournemouth said; “The wide appeal of Christmas Tree Wonderland offers a great opportunity for us to engage with local residents and promote our game changing full fibre home broadband service – Gigafast. What better way to celebrate the launch of full fibre connectivity in Bournemouth than by having our very own Vodafone red Gigafast tree!”
Along with the trees, lights and the sensational 60ft Bournemouth Wonderland Tree, new installations for this year are the stunning seven-metre reindeer in Beale Place, illuminated stems in Horseshoe Common and Polar Walk in the Lower Gardens.
Returning to support the festival for a second year is PayByPhone. Anthony Cashel, PayByPhone UK Marketing Manager, said: “We were involved last year and saw the potential for even better brand engagement, so it was an easy decision to take ownership of one of the beautiful trees this year. For people driving to Bournemouth and Christmas Tree Wonderland, we offer them a quick and easy way of paying for and extending their parking, via our app, and this is a great event for us to highlight our service.”
Martin Davis, Town Centre BID Chairman, said: “Bournemouth’s profile has been raised enormously in recent years and after the incredible success of last year’s Christmas Tree Wonderland it’s another giant leap forward for increasing the town’s appeal among residents and visitors alike. Last Christmas it attracted in excess of 3.3million people over the six-week period, we hope to achieve significant figures again for 2019”.
The vast expanse of the attraction takes in key commercial hubs of Triangle, Horseshoe Common, Lansdowne, Westover Road and coastal villages of Westbourne and Southbourne. Local operator Yellow Buses is the Exclusive Bus Transport Provider to help residents and visitors travel around the destination.
David Squire, Yellow Buses Managing Director, said: “As confirmed Christmas Tree Wonderland partners until 2021 we are delighted to be part of the festival – really demonstrates the magic we can create when we all work together. Weather permitting, we intend to run an open-top bus decorated with lights to link the Christmas offer in Boscombe, Southbourne and Westbourne with the town centre so customers can immerse themselves in the complete experience.”
Running until 2nd January, the free trail weaves through the historic Lower Gardens with a series of enchanting illuminations, dotted around the town, including a giant bauble, gingerbread people, Polar Walk and a new home for Santa’s grotto at Beales Department store.
Of course, there is the traditional Alpine Market – with a two-storey lodge-style bar and visitors can, once again, enjoy skating under the stars in the fairy-tale setting of the town’s Grade II-listed Victorian gardens at the SKATE ice rink and warming hot chocolate or mulled wine in the Moguls Bar. Not forgetting the intriguing ‘Living Advent Calendar’ (18th November – 24th December) in Bournemouth Town Square, Victorian Christmas celebrations on Westover Road (30th November and 7th, 14th and 22nd December) and fireworks Thursday 19th December at 9.30pm.
For details of the full Christmas Tree Wonderland experience and entertainment line-up follow the festive elves on social media:
FB & Instagram: @xmastreewonderland