Birmingham prepares for record festive season

Frankfurt Christmas Market leads packed festive events calendar.

Birmingham and its surrounding areas is getting ready to celebrate its biggest-ever festive season with a spectacular series of Christmas attractions set to draw in record numbers of visitors.

The city’s 2015 Christmas offering includes the famous Frankfurt Christmas Market, its biggest ever pantomime, show-stopping shopping and cultural highlights. It is expected to tempt a record-breaking number of festive visitors – following last year’s all-time high of 5.5 million.

The centrepiece of Birmingham’s festive events calendar, the Frankfurt Christmas Market and Craft Fair, returns from November 12th to December 22nd. Established for over a decade as the largest Christmas market in the UK, its 180 stalls and festive atmosphere have become firm favourites with both residents and visitors to the city from all over the UK and Europe.

The return of Ice Skate Birmingham and the Big Wheel to the city’s Centenary Square will also bring further seasonal fun from November 14th to January 10th.

This winter will also see the return of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s critically-acclaimed production of Wendy & Peter Pan, which will be showing at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Other festive spectacles set to entrance audiences this Christmas include the ultimate festive ballet The Nutcracker, performed by the Birmingham Royal Ballet in what is the company’s 25th anniversary year, and the world’s biggest ever pantomime – Cinderella, which will see a cast of over 100 performers at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena.

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services at Marketing Birmingham, which operates the leisure tourism programme Visit Birmingham, said: “Christmas in Birmingham is always spectacular, and this festive season will be no exception. “The city’s new retail openings and refurbishments in 2015 – including Grand Central, Resorts World Birmingham and The Mailbox – are set to draw Christmas shoppers from across the UK and beyond.

“Throw in a collection of cultural events and a feast of festive fun at some of the city’s most popular visitor attractions and we anticipate welcoming more visitors than ever before this winter.”

The city’s outstanding shopping offer is being championed by Retail Birmingham’s The Biggest Names All Together for Christmas campaign, which will highlight Birmingham’s hundred-strong independent shops, five department stores and three shopping centres, all within a five minute walk. Following the launch of the Grand Central development in September, Birmingham is now the only UK regional city with a John Lewis, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

Steve Hewlett, Retail Birmingham BID Manager, commented: “This year sees Birmingham bring its best ever Christmas shopping offer – and one which is truly unique. Shoppers can access all five major department stores, three fantastic shopping centres with flagship stores and hundreds of exciting independents all within moments of one another. Birmingham really does have it all and we are encouraging visitors and residents alike to explore this incredible Christmas shopping experience.”

The improved connectivity provided by Birmingham’s infrastructure developments in 2015, including the £600 million transformation of New Street Station, the Midland Metro Link extension from the city’s Snow Hill station and new routes into Birmingham Airport, are all anticipated to bring more visitors to the city over the festive period.

Penny Allen, Senior Marketing Manager at London Midland said: “Birmingham’s popularity is soaring right now, with the opening of a world-class station – Grand Central – adding to the excitement. Festive travellers can now enjoy arriving into the city centre by train; in fact they may not want to leave when they see all the great shops and places to eat in the station!”

Visitors can find more information on Birmingham’s dedicated Christmas website – or can follow the hashtag #ChristmasInBham on twitter