Ice skating rink returns to Derby as fun-filled family activities count down to Christmas

A popular visitor attraction will be gliding into Derbyshire to launch the countdown to Christmas.

The Cathedral Quarter Ice Rink will return to Derby Market Place from December 3 to 31 where familes will be able to spot Santa – aka Skater Claus – on various dates throughout December.

There will be tipis aongside the ice rink, offering a cosy Nordic bar, a roaring fire pit and entertainment including music, comedy, quiz nights and more. Younger visitors will be entertained in the tipis with Winter Stories by AVP Theatre and a book reading with local author Kat Quarmby.

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Outdoor entertainment includes Invisible Friends, the Duffield Singers, Derby Concert Band, Shannon Elmore and the Derwent Valley Wind Band.There will be lots of tasty treats to indulge in, including German sausage, donuts and crepes, plus fairground rides for the children. Plus you can spot colourful characters including Naughty Elves, the grumpy Grinch and the Ice King and Queen as they appear in St Peter's Quarter and the Cathedral Quarter.

Keep the little ones entertained with the Christmas Elf Trail, snow globes and the Nordic Express – Derby’s very own land train – all in the city centre. The Nordic Express Station will be located opposite QUAD and will run on weekends in the lead up to Christmas, as well as Friday, December 22 and daily from Boxing Day until New Year’s Eve.

The festive fun kicks off on December 2 with the Christmas Light Switch-On with Smooth Radio and a city lantern parade with Surtal Arts.

There will also be free family festivities at Markeaton Park on December 2 and 3. For those children who haven’t quite made it onto the nice list yet, see how they compare to the naughtiest girl in the world in Babbling Vagabond’s Naughty Meg and the Christmas Elves at Derby Museum and Art Gallery on the Wardwick. Inspired by The Tiny World of Toy Theatre, step into Christmas at Pickford’s House for a fairy tale day of festive fun and games for all the family, with Pinocchio themed activities.

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There are also plenty of opportunities to see the big man himself – step into a realm of pure enchantment as you enter the extraordinary Cathedral Quarter Christmas Grotto at Derby QUAD! Brace yourself for the mesmerising “Northern Lights” experience that transports you straight to Santa’s magical grotto in the North Pole. Join Santa for Breakfast at QUAD, or if the early morning wake-up is too much for you then check out Santa’s Magic Cabin at Derbion and experience a virtual reality sleigh ride.

Arts and crafts lovers can get stuck in with seasonal crafts and craft fairs at Artcore and you can get your Christmas shopping done whilst supporting local artists at Banks Mill and the Museum and Art Gallery and the Museum of Making shops.

Theatre fans can catch Derby’s infamous comedic duo The Lost Boys this festive season – join them as they attempt to produce a live audio-play recording of the Christmas movie favourite, It’s A Wonderful Life (LIVE) at Derby Museum and Art Gallery on the Wardwick and experience their new take on the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol at Derby QUAD.

Elsewhere in theatre land you can see Déda’s Twelve Birds of Christmas and take your tiny ones along to their Dinky Disco, watch Three Billy Goats Gruff and Cinderella at Derby Theatre, and of course don’t miss the smash-hit Derby Arena pantomime Mother Goose starring Coronation Street’s Todd Boyce and Derby’s favourite pantomime dame Morgan Brind.Derby QUAD have another season of festive favourites and family friendly films screening daily during December, including It’s A Wonderful Life, The Muppet Christmas Carol and Die Hard.

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And if all that’s not enough, Derby Cathedral, St Werburgh’s and Jubilee Church at QUAD have a fantastic line up of Christmas carol concerts, special services and parties. The Cathedral’s programme includes the return of G4’s Christmas Concert and, new for this year, Bublé Christmas by Candlelight.

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