Christmas market helps to ensure Granite City glitters with real yuletide sparkle

Hundreds of festive funseekers watched in awe as the city’s Christmas market was launched with aplomb.

Revellers of all ages flocked to Broad Street last night as the Winter Wonderland shopping village was officially opened to rave reviews from shoppers.

The village is crammed with Christmas attractions, including an ice rink, fairground rides, gift stalls, a mince pie stand and a bar set in a marquee tent.

It will be open daily until New Year’s Eve – except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day – and will be open from noon to 10pm on weekdays, 11am to 10pm during the school holidays and from 10am to 10pm at weekends.

Now in its third year, the wonderland has moved from Union Terrace in a bid to improve the setting.

Familiar favourites have made a welcome return, including, the helter-skelter, cups and saucers and the Blizzard ride, while a traditional carousel is new for this year.

Pictured from left, Councillor Douglas Lumsden, dancers Sophia Codona, 11 , Eryka Innes, 11 and Adrian Watson from Aberdeen Inspired.

Enjoying the opening night was Lynne Carden, 63, of Bridge of Don, who brought along her eight-year-old granddaughter, Grace.

“We both love it. The new location is better and there is a lot to do. I can see it being really popular when the Christmas shopping season starts,” said Mrs Carden.

Simon McDonald, 38, of Aberdeen, said: “They’ve added a lot more in this year. I think the kids will love it, especially the rides. It’s nice that there’s an indoor bar.”

The wonderland is a partnership between Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen Inspired, Codona’s and other organisations.

It was launched last night with a performance of ballet and modern dance from Academy Street Dance Studio, whose talented youngsters also sang Christmas songs to a crowd of around 200 people.

City council co-leader Douglas Lumsden said: “What a great performance from the dancers. The backdrop here is fantastic and the girls did themselves proud.

“There has been a lot of planning to bring this together. It has come together really well and is really busy.

“Visitor numbers will be key and the feedback from all the people who will visit will be the marker of success for the winter wonderland.”

McCaulley Walker 10, left and Jamie-Lee Gilmore 13.

Aberdeen Inspired chief executive Adrian Watson said: “The atmosphere is absolutely fantastic.

“It certainly has met our expectations and more. The great Aberdeen and North-east public are here in numbers and we hope that continues right through until December 31.

“Taking nothing away from last year’s event, I think this one is better. We listened to feedback and part of it was about building some quality into the market, and I hope people can see that we’ve done just that.”

There will also be a community Christmas market in Marischal College Quad throughout this weekend featuring entrepreneurial schoolchildren and local start-up business owners.