Antrim Castle Gardens opened its Barbican gate to 4,000 special visitors from the local community during the opening evening of the Enchanted Winter Garden.
This included 100 guests from Ukraine, who were among thousands getting a first peak of the Borough’s Christmas extravaganza.
Some 120,000 visitors attended this event at Antrim Castle Gardens in 2021. The Council could think of no more fitting way to open this year’s proceedings than by inviting members of the community to a special preview event on the eve of the public opening.
The Council is hoping to welcome record numbers this year, with new delights including an improved Santa’s Grotto and a Whoville village (from How The Grinch Stole Christmas fame).
The 2022 event began on Saturday and runs until Tuesday December 20, beginning at 4.30pm and continuing until 9.30pm daily.
In addition, an ‘Evening of Inclusive Enchantment’, ideal for children and adults with additional needs and sponsored by The Junction, will run on two Wednesdays – December 7 and 14. Those evenings will have reduced lighting and sound levels, as well as a sensory and quiet room.
Tickets for the event are priced at £7.50 per adult and £5 a child. A family ticket (for two adults and two children) costs £22, with free admission for children under two years old.
This year, to offer some extra help to local families during the festive period, residents in the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council area will benefit from reduced prices. Use your postcode at the point of sale to get the appropriate discount – adult tickets are £6, with children costing £4 each and a family ticket is priced at £18.
Alderman Stephen Ross, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, said he was delighted to see the return of the stunning spectacle this year.
“It’s fantastic to see Antrim Castle Gardens become transformed into a magical festive space,” he said.
“This year, I hope families will get out to enjoy some much-needed festive cheer at a time when the cost of living has been making things tougher for almost all our households.
“There’s something for everyone in the Enchanted Winter Garden and we hope to welcome even more visitors to Antrim and Newtownabbey than we did last year.”
He added: “Christmas is a special time of the year and we want to make it as special as we can for residents of the borough and beyond by hosting this magical event for all our loved ones.”
To book, please visit enchantedwintergarden.com. Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Arts and Culture Customer Hub can assist with ticket queries if customers are unable to book online.
The Customer Hub operates from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 5pm. It includes a live chat facility and direct telephone number – 0300 123 7788 – with calls charged at a local rate.