Major award win for Bournemouth town centre’s Gardens of Light Festival

Photo: Award winners Top from left: Stuart Alexander, Jack Greener Bottom from left: Gregg Dunnett, Lisa Tucker, Michael Grubb

Bournemouth’s Gardens of Light Festival has scooped the Best Exhibition Award at this year’s prestigious Design Week Awards. 

Commissioned by the Bournemouth Town Centre BID and supported by the Bournemouth Coastal BID, Bournemouth Borough Council and the Lower Gardens Trust Board to attract visitors to the town during the winter season, the Gardens of Light Festival was a major winter event introduced to the town in 2013 and has been recognised as ‘iconic’.

Awarded alongside major brands including Apple for its Iphone 5, ITV, Nissan and Barclays, the Gardens of Light Festival transformed the Grade-II listed Bournemouth Lower Gardens into a winter wonderland with interactive lighting experiences.  Created by renowned lighting designer Michael Grubb, who worked on the master plan for the London 2012 Olympic Park, 10 interactive light pods were scattered throughout Bournemouth’s gardens for visitors to enjoy.

Light pod designs included the HipPODdrome, a beach hut covered in chrome cladding and filled with disco balls, strobes and a DJ, Optical World, a three-dimensional curtain of hanging fibres inside a mirrored pod, and Narnia World, which looked like a beach hut until adventurous children opened the cupboard door to discover a secret world.

Design Week Award judges commented that the Gardens of Light Festival was ‘an iconic, simple idea immersed in nature – a gateway into a bigger idea, attracting and appealing to all generations.’

Lisa Tucker, chairman of the Town Centre BID Board, said: “We’re extremely delighted that Bournemouth’s light pods won this national award ahead of many internationally-renowned brands.  Winning the Best Exhibition Award shows just how far and wide the light pods, and Bournemouth, have been noticed and it’s a fantastic boost for the Gardens of Light event and the town as a whole.”

She added: “Bournemouth is an exciting, beautiful, fun and eventful place to visit in the summer and the light pods in the gardens are part of making it an incredible place to visit in the winter as well.  The first-ever Gardens of Light event saw Bournemouth town centre’s footfall increase by almost 20 per cent compared to the previous year.

“To achieve national recognition so early during the first year of the event is a huge boost and shows we’re on the right track.  We’re looking forward to the light pods returning this year with new, exciting interiors.”

The Design Week Award is the second major national award won by the light pods as they also picked up best outdoor event in the 2014 Lighting Design Awards.  The advertising campaign based on the Gardens of Light event also received three international awards, including gold for the television advert.

Back by popular demand – the bigger and better Bournemouth Gardens Ice Rink Tickets to go on sale Friday October 25.

The Bournemouth outdoor ice rink at night

Due to popular demand, the Bournemouth Garden’s outdoor ice rink is bigger, better and back this Christmas with advance tickets going on sale to the public on Friday October 25.

Commissioned by the Bournemouth Town Centre BID company and operated by Olympic Gold medallist figure skater Robin Cousins’ company, Cousins Entertainment, the ice rink has been extended to 400 square metres and can now accommodate 130 skaters when it opens to the public on Saturday November 16.

Festive shoppers will be able to skate under the stars while spectators enjoy a warming hot chocolate in the nearby café as they watch the thrills and spills out on the ice.

Following last year’s successful launch, the Town Centre BID will further enhance its winter attractions for 2013 by transforming the Grade II listed Bournemouth Lower Gardens into the Gardens of Light Christmas Festival with the addition of a Santa’s Grotto and innovative, interactive lighting installations.

From November 16 to January 6 2014, visitors will be able to wander through the illuminated gardens and experience the Bournemouth Light Pods for free. Designed by local lighting designer Michael Grubb and his team, who worked on the master plan for the London 2012 Olympic Park, each pod is packed with light and colour to delight the senses and enchant visitors of all ages.

Lisa Tucker, chairman of the Town Centre BID Board, says: “After the success of last year’s ice rink, which witnessed tens of thousands of skaters take to the ice, we’re delighted to build on our Christmas offering by lighting up the Gardens with the introduction of our new Gardens of Light Christmas Festival. 

Come to Bournemouth to experience the brightest and most sparkling Christmas ever!” 

Robin Cousins, owner of Cousins Entertainment, adds: “With our vast production experience, award-winning talent and proven success in all aspects of temporary ice rink management, we are looking forward to working with the Town Centre BID to deliver a world class attraction to put Bournemouth on the map for visitors and residents this Christmas.” 

Ice rink tickets are £8.50 per adult and £7.50 per child (age four to 16), and can be purchased in advance from or by calling 02920 230 130 and the price includes skate hire.  Open every day, except Christmas Day and with longer opening hours this year, most days the rink will be open from 10am to 9.45pm, see the website for the full schedule. Ticket holders should arrive 15 minutes before the booked skate time to allow for boot fitting.

Available to buy from tickets for Santa’s grotto are priced from £4.50. The Bournemouth Light Pods and entry into the Gardens of Light is completely free.

Skating stars open Bournemouth’s outdoor ice rink

ITV1’s Dancing on Ice star Michael Zenezini and professional figure skater Lina Szakal dazzled guests when they officially opened Bournemouth town centre’s first-ever outdoor ice rink on December 4.

To open the Christmas season attraction, Michael and Lina took to the real ice rink to perform a three minute festive opening routine, with impressive jumps and twists, in front of a VIP audience.

Commissioned by the Bournemouth Town Centre BID company with support from Bournemouth Borough Council, and operated by BH Live, the ice rink is located under the trees in the town’s Grade-II Lower Gardens and has a capacity of 100 skaters at a time. Skaters of all abilities have the opportunity to take to the ice until January 6 2012.

The ice rink is the perfect destination for a festive experience and features a café, serving tasty hot chocolate and a range of warming drinks.

Tony Brown, chairman of chairman of the Town Centre BID Board and chief executive of Beales, said: “We are thrilled to have made the ice rink one of our essential attractions for Christmas 2012 and wish to thank Michael and Lina for such a memorable routine. Everyone is welcome to make the most of this attraction and experience an exhilarating skate under the stars. We hope shoppers take a moment while gliding through the town centre stores this festive season to glide the ice as well.”

Cllr Rod Cooper, Cabinet Member for Tourism, Leisure and Culture from Bournemouth Borough Council said: “This is a fantastic addition to Bournemouth’s Christmas attractions. I hope that our residents and visitors take the time to enjoy the rink whilst finishing their Christmas shopping.”

Peter Gunn, BH Live chief executive added: “BH Live is proud to be operating the town’s latest leisure attraction. In addition to the indoor RAWK Ice Rink at the Bournemouth International Centre which opens next week and an exciting theatre and show programme at the Bournemouth Pavilion, the new outdoor ice rink gives the town an extra festive sparkle and provides local residents and visitors to the town centre with so much more to do.”

Priced at £8.50 per adult and £7.50 per child (age four to 16), tickets can be purchased in advance from or by calling BH Live Tickets on 0844 5763000.

Open every day, except Christmas Day. Ice skates will be available on site. Each session runs for one hour and ticket holders should arrive 15 minutes before the booked skate time to allow for boot fitting.

Opening of Bournemouth's outdoor ice rink - Professional skater Michael Zenezini, Peter Gunn of BH Live, Tony Brown of Bournemouth's BID and professional skater Lina Szakal