It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Weymouth.

A new, bigger and better ice rink has arrived in Weymouth, meaning the countdown to Christmas has officially begun.

A VIP launch event was held on the real ice rink, located outside Debenhams, yesterday afternoon with special performances, champagne, mince pies and of course, an official ribbon cutting.

The ice rink, which is part of Weymouth BID’s BIG Christmas, was officially opened by South Dorset MP Richard Drax and the Mayor of Weymouth and Portland Cllr Kevin Brookes.

VIPs also enjoyed a very special ice skating performance to ‘Belle’ from Beauty and the Beast from Ava Wilson.

Talented Ava had travelled down from Basingstoke to give the performance after her mother contacted Weymouth BID and asked if she could perform.

Dressed in a sparkly top hat and coat, a second performance was given by Milena Benedetto, who also performed at the opening last year.

Chairman of the BID Steve Newstead said he is very much looking forward to the festivities in the town. 

He said: “This is year three of the real ice rink in Weymouth and it’s bigger and better than last year. Everyone seems to be really enthusiastic about it.

“Everyone in the square has been a massive help.

“This year we’ve turned the rink around so parents can sit and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, or something warm, whilst their children go on the ice rink.

“Weymouth town centre is a great place to shop and the real ice rink really does help draw in the crowds. We are already about 15 per cent up on bookings in comparison to last year, which is fantastic.

“The ice rink puts a bit more fun into Weymouth.”

The VIP launch also saw sponsors of this year’s Weymouth BID’s BIG Christmas, including staff from Asda which is the main Gold sponsor this year.

Today the ice rink will be open to everyone and will remain open until January 1, except Christmas Day.

Today will also see a host of entertainment in the town, including a Santa parade before he makes himself comfy in Cineworld and performances from numerous singers, dancers and groups. The fun will start from 2pm onwards.

The BIG lights switch on will be at 6pm, with the mayor pressing the button.

There will also be free parking from 3pm onwards in town centre council car parks until December 31 and to mark Small Business Saturday tomorrow, there will be free parking all day.

Mr Newstead added: “The council have also been really helpful with the parking offer in December. If we all work together there is no reason why we can’t overcome the problems that have been raised.”