THE festive ice rink in Bournemouth town centre will be returning next month as Christmas celebrations get underway.

SKATE will be back in the Lower Gardens next month after a year’s hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Following its 2019 upgrade, the impressive space is expected to return to all its former glory with a 1,150 metres squared ice rink as well as the alpine bar.

Building is set to begin on Monday, November 1 with the rink opening on Thursday, November 18.

However, the road back to reopening hasn’t been completely smooth-skating for the organisers who have been hit by a range of supply and staff issues due to the pandemic.

Not only this, but as a result of the pandemic, the organisers have chosen to leave the decision around reopening to the last minute this year - meaning a huge and rapid undertaking for the events team to get the ice rink set up in time for its November 18 opening.

Simon Smith from That Group, organisers of SKATE in Lower Gardens said: “Our decision to go ahead has had to be as late as possible to allow time for us to judge the covid landscape.

“We are therefore facing challenges just to put together what we know. Suppliers, staff, materials - everything is hard to come by so we are aiming just to get what we had in 2019 back up and running.

“We had a huge upgrade and increase in size both to the rink and the bar in 2019 - so it was extremely well attended and well received.

“We feel we got the event right so, in our limited time this year, we will just try and get what we had [in 2019] back together.”

Looking forward to being back in Bournemouth, Simon said: “We are delighted to be back.

“Bournemouth has worked extremely hard to become a huge Christmas draw with the markets, Christmas Tree Wonderland and us.

“It really is a spectacular Christmas offering now and we are really excited to be back on the ice and welcome people back for some festive fun.”