THE finishing touches are being put to a new winter ice rink in Darlington town centre ahead of an evening of festive fun.

The town’s Christmas lights will be switched on tomorrow (Thursday, November 29) by Rhys Williams, captain of Middlesbrough FC, and Darlington FC manager Martin Gray following an afternoon of activities.

The celebrations will begin at 3pm with stilt walkers around the town centre, before a roadshow, hosted by TFM presenters Tim Lichfield and BenWeston, that will feature dance competitions, games and music from Whinfield Primary School Choir and X Factor contestant Dale Ali.

After a guest appearance by Father Christmas, the Darlington Town Rangers pictured at The Ice Rink being built at Darlington Market Square, from left Michael Oakley,Helen Surma, Martin LawChristmas lights will be switched on at 6.30pm. 

The ice rink, in Market Place, will open at 7pm, with two sessions between 7pm-8pm and 8pm-9pm. Tickets will be available from the Dolphin Centre from 6pm.

To add to the festive atmosphere, the team behind the successful Sunday People's Market has also decided to hold its first night market, in Blackwellgate, from 3pm to 8pm, with a number of craft and gift stalls, as well as specialist food producers.

Parking in council car parks around the town will be free after 3.30pm.

Alex Swan, manager of Darlington BID, which has organised the ice rink, said: “We’ve had a lot of interest about the ice rink but now that it has been built it’s certainly caught a lot of people’s eye. We’re hoping that people will take the chance to come and have a go while its open.”

For full details on the ice rink opening times and ticket information visit