HUNDREDS of people packed out Pier Approach and the Lower Gardens as Bournemouth jumped into the festive spirit.

The town centre became a barrage of colour when Mayor of Bournemouth Susan Phillips launched this year’s Christmas Tree Wonderland.

After the success of last year’s seasonal attraction in the town centre, anticipation has been building for the event and it did not disappoint despite some unsavoury weather conditions before the big switch-on.

Joined on stage by stars of this year’s panto Aladdin, which opens at the Pavilion next month, Cllr Phillips welcomed everyone who braved the rain to join the celebration.

Following a countdown, she activated the plunger to start the Christmas Tree Wonderland, which will remain on display until January 2. This was met with a spectacular firework display from the beach.

Once the entertainment in the sky came to an end, the crowd began to make their way through the packed out Lower Gardens to get a first look at what this year’s Christmas Tree Wonderland had to offer.

The free trail starts at the illuminated big wheel at Pier Approach, before weaving through the Lower Gardens into the Alpine Market in the Square. New attractions include cascading lights and a Santa’s sleigh at the Smuggler’s Cove Adventure Golf at Pier Approach, a seven-metre golden reindeer outside Beales where Santa’s grotto can be found, while a crimson 10-metre Tree of Light is making its debut appearance in the middle of the trail.

The event is organised by BCP Council, with support from Yellow Buses and the Bournemouth Coastal and Town Centre BIDs