CHRISTMAS has arrived at Golden Square.

Friday evening saw the lights switched on to coincide with the launch of a new video for their Very Caring Christmas campaign.

There was no public event with shopping centre bosses instead supporting charities and good causes.

Ian Cox, centre director, said this year is the perfect time to shop local and support Warrington's businesses.

The Warrington Guardian is running a campaign in the lead up to Christmas to encourage residents to shop in Warrington.

Mr Cox said footfall has picked up in the past six months as lockdown restrictions have eased, adding that Golden Square was performing far better than other equivalent centres across the country.

Interest in longer term lets is currently high with many local businesses moving in during the Christmas period.

He added: "I feel much more optimistic than six months ago with the way trading is going.

"People say it is a shame the high street is dying, but if you are sat at home buying online, that is what will happen.

"People need to come and support us.

"It is a far better experience, a social experience of people coming together.

"When Debenhams closed earlier this year, that wasn't jobs going in London, it was 50 Warrington people who lost their jobs.

"We are well ahead in terms of recovery (compared to other shopping centres) which is great to see.

"To think we lost Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Burtons and all those shops, how big a blow that was. So the resilience has been quite remarkable."

And there will be plenty besides the shops to enjoy in the run up to Christmas and beyond.

Bratwursts, crepes and the like are soon to land in Warrington over December at Golden Square.

‘Christmas in the Square’ will be under way from next Friday, December 3 until December 23 with huts under The Old Market place.

As well as bratwursts, Yorkshire pudding wraps, and churros, more sweet treats from White Lace Bakery will be able to be bought. There will also be local arts and crafts to browse and shop, from the likes of Technically Brilliant Art, and benches to enjoy your food and drink and build the Christmas spirit.

And Santa will be visiting too.

He will be in the mall twice a day from December 18 to December 23 when the schools break up.

Santa will tour the mall between 11am and noon and 2pm and 3pm every day with children given the chance to meet him.

There will then be a free screening of a family Christmas film outdoors in the market square from 3pm.

This includes the likes of Frozen and Home Alone.

The screen will also be playing a variety of live sport screened throughout the period.

All the live Sky Sports matches will be broadcast on the big screen so you can enjoy a mulled wine with the biggest football matches.

You can donate to the Golden Square Toy Appeal either between Tuesday and Saturday, 10am to 2pm at Warrington Foodbank, or any day of the week at our customer service desk.

The toys will be distributed to those in the Warrington community who are less fortunate over the festive period.