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Thousands flock to nostalgic Christmas attraction

visitor economy 21/12/2021

At No.25 launched at the beginning of December.

A unique Christmas attraction in Warrington town centre has been declared a success after cheering thousands of people up during an extraordinarily challenging time.

At No.25 launched at the beginning of December to remind visitors of one of the most magical places during the festive period – your own home.

The former Shipton’s jewellery store at Golden Square has been transformed into a living room and dining room on Christmas morning.

Culture Warrington led the project with match funding from Warrington BID and Warrington Borough Council and support from Golden Square and it is free to visit until the end of the year.

Artists Daisy James and Enya Koster and storyteller Felicity Goodman were simply given the brief to ‘create Christmas magic’ which they could interpret in any way they wanted.

But instead of a toy workshop full of elves at the North Pole or a sleigh powered by flying reindeer, the trio’s concept brought them much closer to home.

Instead they thought of childhood and the excitement of Christmas Day after all the preparation and anticipation.

Daisy, a former Culcheth High School student, said: “We wanted to create something that felt like home to a wide range of people because that is what makes it special really.

“We’ve even had people crying when they come in because it reminds them of their childhood and their parents’ home and the precious memories associated with that. It takes them back to another time. It’s been quite powerful in that regard.”

Daisy, who could not have launched or run At No.25 without the help of 14 dedicated volunteers, said that visitors have particularly liked the small details like paperchains on the ceiling and the popcorn wreath – a reminder that Christmas does not have to be about spending lots of money but finding joy in simple creativity.

She said: “It’s great for people to go in and think about how lovely home is at Christmas. You’re cosy, you’re surrounded by loved ones. Life slows down for a moment and you have the chance to do things together like eat together, play games and open presents under the tree.

“When we got the piano we also liked the idea of people singing all the way through Christmas. It’s such a big, grand space so it feels special to have created something that will be seen by so many people in my hometown.”

One of the objectives of At No.25 was to attract a wider audience to Culture Warrington art projects through something that was really accessible.

Daisy added: “It doesn’t look like an artwork. It’s a Christmas project but people are accessing something that creative thought has gone into. There are artistic moments such as in the cabinets where we’ve made the tiny houses.

“But you can see the attention to detail there and that has excited people as much as the main parts of the attraction.”

At No.25 can be found opposite Starbucks at Golden Square and can be visited throughout December, although it is closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the subsequent bank holidays.