Blackburn’s fired up for Christmas with Winter Wonderland tipis!

Published 07th Nov 2023

Blackburn’s stunning Cathedral Quarter is set to be transformed into a Winter Wonderland this Christmas under the cover of huge festive tipis.



The ‘Firepit Tipis’ will offer live music and entertainment, festive markets, a bar, bbq and dancefloor plus a special Santa’s Grotto experience for families and more.

Run by the team at The Firepit and supported by Blackburn with Darwen Council, the huge tipis – popular at cities across the country – will start being built in the next couple of weeks ahead of its official opening on Friday, November 17th.

Andy Novak, co-owner of the popular group of Firepit restaurants, said:

Cathedral Quarter will be transformed into a true Winter Wonderland this Christmas with the huge Firepit Tipis.

We approached the Council with our idea a few months back as we want to make Blackburn the go-to place this Christmas and wanted to offer something special.

“It’ll feel so festive inside with Christmas decorations, fairy lights, seating areas, a bar, bbq, dancefloor and, of course, a firepit too!

Plus we’re working with the Council and their partners to offer a packed programme of events running right up until Christmas with something for everyone.

We hosted something very similar in Rawtenstall and it was a huge success and now we’re working hard to make Blackburn’s even bigger and better.

The Firepit Tipis will feature as part of the Council’s brand new ‘Discover Blackburn with Darwen this Christmas’ campaign – encouraging people to stay local this festive season.

From the popular panto at King George’s Hall to festive films at REEL Cinema, skating at Planet Ice and Christmas shopping in The Mall and across the town centres, there’ll be a full guide of what’s on across the borough at

The Firepit Tipis and ‘Discover Christmas’ campaign have received funding from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Andy added:

We wanted to do something really festive that will draw people to our town centre to help support local businesses here and also save residents the expense of travelling to big cities.

We’ll be serving food in our restaurant and our popular cocktails while in the tipis you’ll be able to enjoy festive treats including mulled wine and bratwurst sausages alongside live music and dancing – the perfect recipe for festive nights out with friends and Christmas parties.

The tipis will also be open throughout the day with family fun including festive activities and workshops, choir singing, performances and special visits from Father Christmas.

We have so much planned to make the countdown to Christmas extra special this year and can’t wait to reveal our full programme of what’s planned very soon.

We want to attract people into Blackburn town centre and encourage them to make a day of it – do their Christmas shopping here, head to the cinema, watch the panto, call at the Firepit Tipis after for the festive markets, grab a bite to eat and then enjoy the live entertainment.

We’re hoping it’ll bring a real boost in the run up to Christmas.

The brand new Ribblesdale Tap – a new real ale tap room in the former Ribblesdale Hotel, Gladstone’s and Baroque building – is also set to be open in the run up to Christmas, generating lots of interest and excitement.

The building has undergone an impressive £350,000 transformation as part of the Council’s Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Project with the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Run by Blackedge Brewery, it’ll serve its hand-pulled ales, craft beers and artisan cider plus the full range of locally-produced spirits from Brindle Distillery too.

Councillor Quesir Mahmood, Deputy Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council and Executive Member for Growth and Development, said:

The Firepit Tipis will be a brilliant draw for visitors this Christmas.

It’ll transform the beautiful Cathedral Quarter into a Winter Wonderland – bringing people into our town centre this festive season, supporting businesses right across the area.

We were really impressed with The Firepit’s vision for the tipis and we’ve worked closely with them to help make it the best it can be to boost the whole town centre.

We’re also looking forward to the launch of our new Discover Christmas in Blackburn with Darwen campaign in the coming weeks.

It’ll widely promote just how much there is to see and do here from the latest Christmas films at REEL Cinema to our ever-popular panto at King George’s Hall, ice skating, new bars, new places to eat, big name brands for shopping and a great selection of independents too.

And, we’re working with our partners, including Blackburn BID, Culturapedia, The Bureau, and Crafty Vintage, to make sure there’s lots going on right across our borough throughout December to help spread lots of festive cheer for our residents, visitors and businesses – be sure to come along and enjoy all there is to offer.

N-Trance will turn on the Darwen Christmas lights at the ever-popular switch-on event on Saturday, November 18th with festive markets and entertainment right from 10am into the early evening.

And, a show-stopping, foot-tapping musicals extravaganza is on the cards for this year’s Blackburn town centre Christmas lights switch on the following week – Saturday, November 25th.

The ‘From Broadway to Blackburn: Christmas Lights Switch On Spectacular’ will feature a day of amazing dancing and singing performances on a huge stage on King William Street, bursting with music from hit musicals of the stage and screen.

For all the latest on the Firepit Tipis, follow The Firepit – Blackburn on Facebook and the_firepit_blackburn on Instagram.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025.

The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.

For more information, visit

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