Expanded Lancaster on Ice to double visitor numbers

Europe’s largest portable observation wheel is heading to Lancaster this December in a bid to attract 70,000 visitors to the city centre.

Lancaster on Ice, which centres around an outdoor ice rink, drew in 35,000 visitors in 2018. Now the organisers have applied for permission to fully pedestrianise Dalton Square, have secured the rights to the big wheel, and will bring in a number of market stalls.

The event’s organisers are Martin Horner and Hannah Horner, who own The Borough on Dalton Square, along with Dan Knowles and Chris Selkirk.

Martin said: “We had to go bigger and better this year. At the start of this year we took a few weeks to reflect on last year's event. There are some structural changes to make but most importantly the event has to have the 'wow factor'.”

This year's event is expected to attract 50,000 skaters with at least 20,000 more coming to visit the observation wheel and festive markets. The organisers plan to work closely with Lancaster BID and the city council to ensure visitors to the city also venture on to other attractions.

Dan added: "Last year was about people visiting Lancaster for a couple of hours, this year we want to work with the city to make it a day out."

Last year was about people visiting for a couple of hours, this year we want to make it a day out.

The successes of last year’s event included over £6,000 raised for St John’s Hospice, as well as free skating sessions for the charities Unique Kidz and Co and Morecambe Bay Foodbank.

"Charity will remain a focal point; this is certainly a city-wide event,” said Hannah.

The event is due to launch on November 23 and run for six weeks until January 5.