Stallholders hoping for more Christmas cheer at Taunton's Winter Wonderland

This is The West Country: Ice rink manager Martyn Edworthy. Ice rink manager Martyn Edworthy.

STALLHOLDERS and on-site staff at Taunton’s Winter Wonderland admit it has been “dreadfully quiet” so far but hope numbers will pick up when the Christmas holidays start.

Set up by Taunton Town Centre Company, the Castle Green ‘Wonderland’ features an ice rink, Ferris wheel and German-style gift and treat stands.

However since opening on November 21, weekday visitors have been disappointingly sparse, say the on-site team.

Site manager Stephen Pike said: “You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth.

“But it’s the same with the shops – you can’t tip people out and get them spending money they haven’t got.”

Martyn Edworthy, who mans the temporary ice rink, said: “During the week it’s quite slow, which is a shame because obviously we are open daily.

"Weekends are busier for us. I like them because a lot more people turn up.

“I think it’s because not a lot of people tend to take notice of it, looking through the archway.

"If you’re not actually physically walking through here you’re now going to know it’s here.”

He added: “I don’t think a lot of OAPS will want to get on the ice rink.”

Stallholder April Thornton said it had been “dreadfully quiet”.

“People haven’t come and supported it to be honest… I spend an hour and 20 minutes on the motorway to get here.

"I honestly thought it was going to be much more festive. But it’s really a sign of the times.”

Last week town centre manager Graham Love told the County Gazette: “We are hoping that during the school holidays people will get along and visit the Winter Wonderland as part of their visit to the town.

"It’s open seven days a week; it’s quiet during weekdays but busy at weekends.”

Comments (11)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:43pm Fri 20 Dec 13

swjoduk says...

Maybe a temporary 'real' ice rink would help. My good lady said they have one of those up at Cadbury Garden Centre and it is proving very popular.

Its not the same on these artificial ones
Maybe a temporary 'real' ice rink would help. My good lady said they have one of those up at Cadbury Garden Centre and it is proving very popular. Its not the same on these artificial ones swjoduk

12:15am Sat 21 Dec 13

Useacarpark.com says...

Because it's ****!
Because it's ****! Useacarpark.com

8:41am Sat 21 Dec 13

Dr Dave says...

I can't help thinking that it is in the wrong place; there isn't a great deal of footfall through Castle Bow these days, it is on a side street in reality where the only footfall is perhaps people from the Tangier car parks (but most use Goodland Gardens, far nicer) and passengers from the bus station. Those wanting a real (temporary) ice rink - try looking at the costs involved in that..High Street is the obvious place for this attraction to be.
I can't help thinking that it is in the wrong place; there isn't a great deal of footfall through Castle Bow these days, it is on a side street in reality where the only footfall is perhaps people from the Tangier car parks (but most use Goodland Gardens, far nicer) and passengers from the bus station. Those wanting a real (temporary) ice rink - try looking at the costs involved in that..High Street is the obvious place for this attraction to be. Dr Dave

8:50am Sat 21 Dec 13

Little_Owly says...

I think it has failed because half the stalls are closed up and those that are open are hardly what you would expect to find in a proper German style market. Where are the German sweets, cakes, breads, decorations that are found at other German style markets? A bratwurst sausage was the onlyy German thing there. Stalls that you would expect to find at a fairground do not fit the bill really. The only interesting things to look at were the wooden items. A traditional Christmas market should have been more "Christmassy". Perhaps the organisers should have visited Bristol, Oxford or Birmingham to see how it should be done.
I think it has failed because half the stalls are closed up and those that are open are hardly what you would expect to find in a proper German style market. Where are the German sweets, cakes, breads, decorations that are found at other German style markets? A bratwurst sausage was the onlyy German thing there. Stalls that you would expect to find at a fairground do not fit the bill really. The only interesting things to look at were the wooden items. A traditional Christmas market should have been more "Christmassy". Perhaps the organisers should have visited Bristol, Oxford or Birmingham to see how it should be done. Little_Owly

9:47am Sat 21 Dec 13

prickles says...

I went there the other Sunday with my son half the stalls weren't open and the Ferris wheel was broken. And the ice rink looked very bumpy. With just a bored looking assistant stood in the middle of the rink. No interaction from him with customers that were on there. Went to hestercombe instead. Well worth the couple of extra quid.
I went there the other Sunday with my son half the stalls weren't open and the Ferris wheel was broken. And the ice rink looked very bumpy. With just a bored looking assistant stood in the middle of the rink. No interaction from him with customers that were on there. Went to hestercombe instead. Well worth the couple of extra quid. prickles

9:59am Sat 21 Dec 13

katykitkat12 says...

There are empty stalls & in the stalls that are open is fairground stuff, I travel to bath every year for their Christmas market & was really excited to hear Taunton had finally caught up & it might put Taunton back on the map but feel that the stalls are too gimmicky & cheap looking. My friends have been over visiting from Vienna & I told them about the market before going to see it myself & they took one look at it, turned around & left. I understand the thought & effort gone into it & hope the feedback is taken on board & next years will be fantastic.
There are empty stalls & in the stalls that are open is fairground stuff, I travel to bath every year for their Christmas market & was really excited to hear Taunton had finally caught up & it might put Taunton back on the map but feel that the stalls are too gimmicky & cheap looking. My friends have been over visiting from Vienna & I told them about the market before going to see it myself & they took one look at it, turned around & left. I understand the thought & effort gone into it & hope the feedback is taken on board & next years will be fantastic. katykitkat12

2:29pm Sat 21 Dec 13

duckface08 says...

Lets turn the site into a Christmas shoppers car park, this would have more appeal if signposted properly. This suggestion will go down like a lead balloon at the council offices as they have already ignored what the people of Taunton wanted when this site was first created.
Lets turn the site into a Christmas shoppers car park, this would have more appeal if signposted properly. This suggestion will go down like a lead balloon at the council offices as they have already ignored what the people of Taunton wanted when this site was first created. duckface08

7:02pm Sat 21 Dec 13

FreeSpeech? says...

First I've heard of it, but must admit by the looks of it I wouldn't waste my time going to see it. Looks like the same crappy plastic sheets they used for an ice rink at another Winter Wonderland that went under this week, not surprised it rubbish though as the only one who has put a little thought into anything in Taunton is Kelly Durdan.
First I've heard of it, but must admit by the looks of it I wouldn't waste my time going to see it. Looks like the same crappy plastic sheets they used for an ice rink at another Winter Wonderland that went under this week, not surprised it rubbish though as the only one who has put a little thought into anything in Taunton is Kelly Durdan. FreeSpeech?

1:55pm Sun 22 Dec 13

prickles says...

Went again today thinking everything should be open as last Sunday before Xmas. But no. Wasnt even any graders selling stuff, all was there was some tombola type stall, another one knocking cans off a shelf and a burger wagon. How are these German style. And looked again at the ice rink after going to hestercombe gardens one. Hestercombe rink has no bumps in it, one in town is a joke more uneven than the pavements in town. Whole thing disappointing.
Went again today thinking everything should be open as last Sunday before Xmas. But no. Wasnt even any graders selling stuff, all was there was some tombola type stall, another one knocking cans off a shelf and a burger wagon. How are these German style. And looked again at the ice rink after going to hestercombe gardens one. Hestercombe rink has no bumps in it, one in town is a joke more uneven than the pavements in town. Whole thing disappointing. prickles

3:08pm Sun 22 Dec 13

Cynic1 says...

It's rubbish. Epic town centre committee fail as they fail with everything they try.

The town is failing, and the only attraction they can think up is a fake ice-rink and reindeers made out of old logs.
It's rubbish. Epic town centre committee fail as they fail with everything they try. The town is failing, and the only attraction they can think up is a fake ice-rink and reindeers made out of old logs. Cynic1

10:12pm Sun 22 Dec 13

littletosh says...

The reason it hasn't worked is a load of rubbish, it's like everything Taunton does its second rate. The ice rink is cheap & rubbish & the stalls well they're just crap. Can I suggest that some from the committee goes to Exeter by the Cathedral to see how a German market is done properly. You have all that space & fill with a rubbish ice rink, ferris wheel & a couple of sheds selling tat. Make an effort Taunton, when I first saw it setup I was excited. How wrong was I
The reason it hasn't worked is a load of rubbish, it's like everything Taunton does its second rate. The ice rink is cheap & rubbish & the stalls well they're just crap. Can I suggest that some from the committee goes to Exeter by the Cathedral to see how a German market is done properly. You have all that space & fill with a rubbish ice rink, ferris wheel & a couple of sheds selling tat. Make an effort Taunton, when I first saw it setup I was excited. How wrong was I littletosh

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree