IT will soon seem like Christmas in Bournemouth, with the town’s new festive market and Santa’s grotto about to arrive.

A two-storey Alpine bar is under construction at a site in Wallisdown, along with new wooden cabins for the traders.

The company behind the attractions says visitors should notice a big difference as it begins a five-year programme to improve the town’s Christmas market.

The market be trading from Friday, November 17, while Father Christmas will be in his grotto from November 24.

Simon Brooks of Christmas in Bournemouth said: “We are really excited to begin this five-year process of improving the Bournemouth Christmas market.

“We’ve got a brand new Alpine-themed Christmas market sponsored by Health-on-Line, with over 72 per cent of our traders being new for this year – of which 80 per cent are based locally, which is a very important thing for us.

“We’re going to further develop the market year-on-year. In future we want to get more local craft sellers, boutique Christmas present stalls and gift stalls alongside really unique food stalls.

“This year we’ve got a brand new Yorkshire pudding wraps company. I think that will be really popular.

“You’ll also see a brand new custom-built, two-storey alpine lodge that’s going to be installed into the town centre. Downstairs has an apres ski feel, upstairs is a really festive Christmas feel. Upstairs is available for corporate booth bookings, local company parties, team nights out etc.”

The top floor will overlook the Lower Gardens, where THAT Group has built a bigger ice rink, with a dedicated children’s rink and a cafe.

Meanwhile Santa will be returning to Bournemouth after an absence of several years, with the help of sponsor Shorefield Holidays.

“From November 24 to December 24, we’ve got Santa’s grotto in the town centre which is going to be absolutely incredible,” said Mr Brooks, whose company Seventa Events won the contract to take over the market.

“They’ve got an interactive walkway and you get to meet Santa himself and everyone gets a present.”

“We really hope that all visitors to Bournemouth Christmas market see the difference for 2017, and enjoy all of our changes, that they recognise all the hard work that the team sponsors and suppliers have put in but also recognise that this is year one of an incredible five-year project.”

Details of the attractions are at, where tickets for Santa can also be booked.