The huge festive fairground at the Trafford Centre has returned - and there's plenty to see and do at this year's Tinseltown. The outdoor funfair features a range of rides suitable for younger kids and older thrill-seeekers too.
There's plenty of Christmassy magic at the event - including a giant 50ft Christma tree-clad bar, life-sized sculptures of Father Christmas, reindeer and polar bears to pose up with for family photos. You can also browse a raft of Christmas Market-style food and drink stalls.
There's also the return of the indoor ice skating rink, while The Big Wheel is back in action too. It will see revellers soar 55ft high to see all the sights and sounds of the festive funfair from on high.
It's the third year Tinseltown is back at the Trafford Centre. You can find it all outside The Great Hall at the shopping mall from now until January 1.
Rides include lots of family friendly attractions like the teacups, caterpillar rollercoaster and funhouse. There is also the exhiliarting Snow Jets ride, the thrilling Starflyer for those who dare as well as a brand new attraction VOID.
The covered ice rink is set under a canopy of twinkling lights, and for ice beginners there is the return of the guiding penguins. Visitors can book for 45-minute ice skating session on the 25m x 20m covered ice rink.
Gandeys Snowstorm 3: Northern Lights returns with a show inside the heated theatre big top on 200 sq meters of shimmering real ice. The new production, which promises amazing special effects, features 16 ice skaters, international circus stars, and the return of the massive ice bears.
Entry to Tinseltown is from £2 per person, and then you buy tokens for individual rides along the way. Tickets for the ice rink and Snowstorm show are also purchased separately.
Tried and tested - what we thought
We headed on opening night to give it a whirl, and my two children aged 3 and 8 were loving all the funfair rides. They were particular fans of the bouncy trampolines just as you head in, and I'm pretty sure they would have stayed bouncing on there on repeat all night if I had let them.
But we continued on to explore more of the rides, including the teacups, the funhouse and the mini rollercoaster. There was also a cute mini Cars ride that my younger boy loved.
And they also loved the giant sculptures all around the fairground of Santa, trees, reindeers and a polar bear. The best thing about the sculputres of course is they're free!
Families should note that this is a fairground where you pay for individual rides with tokens which are £1 each. So you could end up spending possibly more than you intended if you're going with kids who want to go "again, again, again" on the rides.
You can bulk buy a load of tokens on the way in to save going back and to, and rides are between 3-4 tokens per person, per go, which is fairly standard for most fairgrounds we've been to before. You can pay on the day for £1 per token, or buy 25 tokens for £20 if bought online in advance.
How much does food and drink cost?
You can expect a full on Christmas Markets vibe to the food and drink offering here. Think German bratwurst swing grills, chocolate pancakes and Yorkshire pudding wraps.
There are also traditional fairground food stalls where you can get your candyfloss, burgers hot dogs and chips.
Hugely popular with kids on opening night too was the sweet treats stall with a full on chocolate fountain. You can choose from marshamllow kebabs, doughnuts or brownies to be slathered in the sweet stuff.
Here's the pricing for some of the popular items across the Tinseltown site:
- Bratwurst £7
- Burger £5
- Hotdog £5
- Mulled wine £6
- Hot chocolate £4
- Baileys hot chocolate £6
- Pint £6
- Yorkshire pudding wrap £10
- Crepes (with your choice of topping) £5
- 3 sugar donuts £4, 5 donuts with nutella £7
Dates, times and ticket prices
Tinseltown will open from November 17 to January 1. Tickets for ice skating and the fairground must be purchased separately and are available on the website here.
Ice skating tickets are £12.50 for adults and £10 for children off-peak / £15 for adults and £12.50 for children peak, for a 45-minute ice skating session.
Fairground entry is £2 if pre-booked online, or £2.50 on the day, with ride tokens available to purchase separately. Gandeys Snowstorm 3 tickets are available to purchase here, priced from £12.99 with deals to be had on family tickets.
Big Wheel tickets are £8 per adults, £6 per child (under 1.4m) and £24 for a family ticket, tickets can be purchased on the day at the Big Wheel. Find out more here.