TAUNTON'S Castle Green was full of festive cheer as a Christmas ice rink opened in the town.

Visitors cheered as the Christmas ice rink in Castle Green was officially opened at a special ceremony on Monday (December 9) by the Mayor of Taunton Cllr Francesca Smith and former mayor of Taunton and chairman of Somerset West and Taunton Cllr Hazel Prior Sankey.

Children from Taunton School performed Christmas carols and there were live performances from a number of professional ice skaters from Plymouth before members of the public were allowed to show off their skills on the ice.

Speaking at the event, Cllr Francesca Smith, Mayor of Taunton, said: "It is absolutely brilliant. Looking at everyone here in the centre of Taunton enjoying an evening in December ice skating I think is absolutely brilliant.

"I am from Taunton and the fact there is an ice skating rink in the centre of the town for me is absolutely brilliant.

"I think it will be a great thing for the town, all the people who are here tonight will hopefully tell their friends and more and more people will come into the town and have a go."

She thanked officers at Somerset West and Taunton Council for their hard work to get the ice rink up and running and said she hopes it will be a popular addition to the town during the festive period.

"All of the officers who have put the work in to get this ready and get the lights up in the centre of the town have done an amazing job," the Mayor added.

"It makes Taunton look so good for Christmas. Its fantastic."

Craig Stone, case manager for the communications and engagement team at Somerset West and Taunton Council, said getting the ice rink in Castle Green took months of hard work but he is pleased it is now up and running.

He said: "It is absolutely fantastic, I was just saying to the Mayor my satisfaction comes from seeing all those people having smiles on their faces and that is why I love doing what I do."

The Christmas ice rink will be open in Castle Green until January 5 and it is based in a marquee with Christmas lights and music, so unpredictable weather won't stop people from ice skating.

The rink, operated by iSK8, will be open everyday except Christmas Day but opening hours will vary each day and the council advises visitors to book online to avoid disappointment.

Skating sessions last for 45 minutes with a further 15 minutes designated for shoe change.

Tickets for adults cost £10, and children aged 15 or under cost £8, and there is also a service charge for booking online.

To book your session on the ice, visit visitsomerset.co.uk/Taunton/iceskating.