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Cllr Pauline Church is Wiltshire Councillor for Wilton and Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Salisbury Recovery

Monday, 17 December 2018

Santa Claus is coming to town

Just over two weeks ago the Christmas market and ice rink opened in the city centre and it’s been busy and some traders are saying the best so far!

This is great news, given the year we’ve had and the need to encourage and welcome visitors.

As the big day is now just over a week away, the market and the rink will be even busier especially when the schools break up for the festive holiday. At weekends and peak times the rink sessions are starting to sell out fast and there’s still the magical Skate with Santa sessions to come – so to avoid disappointment don’t forget to pre-book your space on line for the Skate with Santa sessions, which run from 22 December to Christmas Eve. All children will not only get to see Father Christmas as he makes a special visit to Salisbury on his sleigh but will receive a gift from him. And, for the more mature, there’s still time to dig out the legwarmers to enjoy a night of nostalgia at Back to the 1980s night with DJ Dion on Wednesday 19 December. Book online at

The public response to Christmas in Salisbury has been positive. It’s been wonderful to see so many people returning to our beautiful city to enjoy it this festive season. I’m in the city a lot and it’s been heartening to hear people saying how lovely Salisbury is looking and how good it is to see it back to normal. The live entertainment at the market has been uplifting and has generated a wonderful community spirit that is so good to see and so representative of the stoicism that has been apparent throughout this year.

It was, therefore, disappointing there was some anti-social behaviour at the ice rink during the first few days. These incidents are in the hands of the police. As the event organisers, we responded immediately and made some operational changes to ensure that everyone that visits has an enjoyable and safe experience. Our message and the actions we’ve taken are clear – we won’t tolerate any anti-social behaviour.

There’s so much on offer this Christmas across the city and so much work has gone in to putting together a wonderful festive programme of events and live music – from the magic of the Lantern Parade and the nutcracker trail to the beauty of the From Darkness to Light illuminations at Salisbury Cathedral.

Many people have, and continue, to work hard to make this Christmas a great one in Salisbury.

Friday, 7 December 2018

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

Just a week ago the Christmas market and ice rink opened with a wonderful festive performance on the ice from 11-year-old local skater Amelia Morris.

It was great to be involved in the launch of this big event for the city and while we all realise that the market and ice rink will be judged on the number of visitors and their experiences through to 6 January, the initial signs of their popularity are extremely positive.

Many traders reported that the opening weekend was the best they’d ever had in the six years of the market taking place. Blacks Cheese sold three-quarters of a ton of cheese – wow, that’s a lot of cheese!  And, on Saturday and Sunday, Downton Distillery sold out both days – a great success for this new company. The wafts of mulled wine and fragrant cinnamon and orange reminds us just how special this time of year really is.

The city centre car parks were full too - don’t forget the free park and ride Monday-Saturday for a stress-free shop - and we have seen lots of coaches visit the market, dropping off their Christmas shoppers at Blue Boar Row.

We’re pleased with the first few days, but we’re not complacent. We know how vital the Christmas trading period is to the city and to all its businesses. The programme of events and live music has been designed to offer something for everyone. From live music, to the exciting Lantern Parade, the nutcracker trail and of course this year’s added attraction – the ice rink.

While there has been a few initial teething problems at the rink, we are on the case and have ensured additional resource and security is in place for the busiest times.

I am aware that the pre-book tickets are selling well and several sessions are now fully booked. There are a number of themed events coming up and I would highly recommend booking up quickly if you want to experience the ice rink this festive season. You can book online 

The themed events are:
  • Skate with Santa (Saturday 22, Sunday 23, Monday 24 December) – with all children receiving a gift from Santa as he makes a special visit on his sleigh to Salisbury
  • 1980s DJ Night (over 18s only) (Wednesday 19 December) – enjoy 80s music on the ice, plus a beer and a bratwurst are included in the price of the ticket
  • Christmas Party Night (over 18s only) (Wednesday 12 December) – skate the evening away to top tunes, plus a beer and a bratwurst are included in the price of the ticket
  • Wear your Christmas Jumper Day (Friday 14 December) – don your favourite festive sweater and get skating.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

It's the most wonderful time of the year

As the song says ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’, Christmas is fast approaching and this week Salisbury opens its winter wonderland to welcome in the festive season.

Our beautiful city has become used to being in the news over these last nine months so it’s good to see that spotlight is focusing on Christmas in Salisbury and all it offers over the festive period and new year.

The city was featured in The Observer last Sunday. I was interviewed and, hopefully, did my bit to promote #ChristmasinSalisbury and encourage shoppers and visitors to visit

Wiltshire Council has suspended Sunday car parking charges in its car parks, not just in Salisbury, but across the county.

Here in Salisbury we’re also promoting the free after 3pm parking and all day free parking at the five park and ride sites, Monday to Saturday. It all helps to bring people back into the city, Amesbury and south Wiltshire.

I was asked by The Observer reporter what the mood was like in the city. If the comments on social media are an indication, it’s clear there’s a positive buzz building with a lot of excitement and anticipation about the ice rink.

It’s been exciting to watch the rink and the Christmas market being installed ready for the opening on Thursday this week

As I write this, tickets are selling fast for the ice rink with more than 3,000 already sold.

There are some great themed events from a 1980s DJ night (time to dig out the legwarmers), a Christmas jumper day and Skate with Santa sessions. These are sure to be a huge hit with our younger residents. They run from 22 December to Christmas Eve.

Places are limited so I’d advise you book now at Salisbury Christmas Market. I’m looking forward to getting my skates on and having a go.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Countdown to Christmas

The countdown to Christmas has begun. Last week thousands of visitors saw the lights switched on by Olympic Gold medallist Colin Jackson in the city centre bringing a twinkle and festivity that is very much needed this year in Salisbury, Amesbury and south Wiltshire.

It’s just over a week - Thursday 29 November – to the official opening of Salisbury’s winter wonderland Christmas market and ice rink in the Guildhall Square. This year promises to be a successful festive season for all businesses and retailers in Salisbury and south Wiltshire.

But it’s not just about Christmas, there is a recognition that Wiltshire’s towns and rural communities need support all year round.  Wiltshire Council announced this week that it is allocating £8 million to support local high streets and rural communities.

The allocation of this funding reflects what’s important to local communities and it also recognises the pressures on high streets. Funding from central government and Wiltshire Council will deliver a 12-month programme of improvements.  This includes repairing potholes, improving white lining, removing weeds, improving kerbs and pavements, verges and upgrading road signs - the things that matter to our community.

We’re also suspending Sunday parking charges in all our car parks throughout the county including Salisbury and Amesbury. Encouraging shoppers and visitors is important across Wiltshire but particularly so in south Wiltshire and in the lead up to Christmas for all our local high streets.

As it’s just over a month to Christmas, it must be time to get in the festive mood. A visit to your local high street or Salisbury’s Christmas market is just what’s needed to find those unusual gifts. Don’t forget if you’re planning a visit to Salisbury to book tickets for a skate on the ice rink. You can find out more about the Christmas activities on offer on the Salisbury Christmas Market website.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Counting down to the Armed Forces Day National Event 2019

Following an emotional and reflective week of remembrance, it couldn’t be more fitting and timely to start the countdown to the Armed Forces Day National Event 2019, which is being held in Salisbury.

This major nationally acclaimed event will be a unique opportunity to recognise and celebrate our armed forces and all they do to keep us safe and protect our country.

It’s also our opportunity to pay tribute and say thank you to all those who have played their part in helping Salisbury, Amesbury and south Wiltshire back to get back to normal after the events of this extraordinary year. We’ll be recognising and thanking the specialist military teams, the emergency services and all the organisations that managed the incident and subsequent clean-up and return to normal life.

It will bring a fantastic boost to Salisbury and south Wiltshire and will showcase our beautiful city and Wiltshire to the world.

I was honoured to be playing my part last Friday morning when the Armed Forces Day National Event 2019 was launched nationally from the Guildhall Square in Salisbury. Find out more about the Armed Forces Day National Event.

Still time to get your skates on

There’s just a few days left to book the great early bird ticket offer for the Christmas in Salisbury ice rink. Tickets for the offer are going fast so, if you don’t want to miss out, get online now. The offer of a £15 family ticket for two adults and two children, is available until 22 November. Book now.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

A good week for Salisbury

What a positive week this has been for Salisbury! 

On Monday I was delighted to be invited to speak at the launch to welcome Zizzi back to the city centre.
The theme was ‘Zizzi Loves Salisbury’ and that feeling was well and truly reciprocated - Salisbury is delighted to see Zizzi reopen. The restaurant has been given a bright new look, inside and out. I was touched by the careful thought that had gone into the revamp, particularly the origami birds that mirror this summer’s beautiful Les Colombes art installation of doves at Salisbury Cathedral.
What struck me on Monday was the genuine positivity and excitement of the Zizzi team, led by manager Joe Pegg, to have the restaurant back and open for business.
Zizzi has stuck by Salisbury and shown its confidence in the city.

Get your skates on! 

Christmas is now just around the corner and our sights are on the busy festive trading season and the New Year. It’s so important for Salisbury, Amesbury and south Wiltshire that this year is a successful, busy festive period and that we all do all we can to encourage visitors and Christmas shoppers.
The Christmas market opens on 29 November and this year there’s the added attraction of an all-weather ice rink and live entertainment in the Guildhall Square. A real winter wonderland for everyone to enjoy.
A fantastic early bird family ticket offer went live this week and it’s great to see that tickets are selling fast. The offer, £15 for two adults and two children, is only available until 22 November so, if you don’t want to miss out, do go online and book your slot. You can book on the Salisbury Christmas Market website.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

I’ll be getting my skates on!

There’s something about an ice rink that just shouts winter wonderland. Maybe it’s the festive films which always seem to feature a scene on an ice rink or romantic images of skaters on Christmas cards. Whatever it is, an ice rink adds that extra magic at Christmas.

It’s so exciting Salisbury is hosting its first ice rink in the Guildhall Square as part of the popular Christmas market and it will be under cover so everyone can enjoy all weather skating through the festive season. It officially opens on 29 November and will stay open until 6 January 2019. It’s going to be popular so, if you don’t want to miss out, get online and book your visit and if you’re quick there are early bird offers. Two adults and two children can skate for just £15, saving £5. 
There’s also individual special offer tickets at £6 for an adult and £5 for a child. The special discounted offer goes live soon, visit to book.

The Christmas website will show updated events and activities on offer including what’s happening at the rink – I’m looking forward to special theme nights with leg warmers and an 80s DJ and a Christmas jumper night – you can also make group and school bookings and private events.

Christmas will mark the end of a tough year in Salisbury and Amesbury – this is just what we need, a magical winter wonderland that restores warmth and confidence and shows the world we’ve moved on.