More than 1.6 million people visited the city throughout November and December, according to new figures released.

The Christmas in Salisbury promotional partnership, which involved Salisbury Business Improvement District (BID), Salisbury City Council, Salisbury Cathedral and Wiltshire Creative, has said Christmas in the city was a "huge success".

According to the figures nearly a million people visited the city centre in December 2019, with Saturday, December 7 being the busiest day of the month.

And December’s footfall was up compared to December 2018, bucking the UK’s High Street trend which was on average down 3.5 per cent.

In a survey carried out by Salisbury BID, more than 70 per cent of businesses said their takings were either the same or up in December compared to December last year.

Robin McGowan, the chief executive of Salisbury BID, said: “The Christmas in Salisbury promotional partnership was a huge success and it meant we could effectively communicate with residents and visitors what was going on in the city over the festive period; encouraging more people into Salisbury and more spend in our businesses."

Salisbury Christmas Fayre in Guildhall Square was organised by Salisbury City Council for the first time this year and saw 48 traders take part.

The leader of Salisbury City Council, Councillor Jeremy Nettle, said: “I don’t remember my first Christmas, but will never forget this one - a first for Salisbury City Council and our partners.

“There was something for everyone - from Santa’s Grotto to ice skating and whether you had a ride on the horse drawn carriage, took a photo on Santa’s sleigh or maybe enjoyed well-earned drink in Frost after shopping at the Fayre, I am sure you’ll agree that Christmas in Salisbury this year has been a great success with a lovely selection of offerings throughout the city, appealing to all ages.

“The added footfall benefits all, and there was a lovely festive atmosphere throughout the city. No wonder Salisbury Christmas Fayre was voted by Ideal Home as the 3rd best-in Europe.”

And 10,000 people enjoyed the ice rink in the Guildhall Square.

More than 30,000 people enjoyed the pantomime Robin Hood and musical adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s The Tailor of Gloucester at Salisbury Playhouse.

Salisbury Arts Centre entertained more than 1,000 people over the Christmas period.

Wiltshire Creative artistic director, Gareth Machin, said: “We were delighted to be part of a fantastic Christmas offer in Salisbury, drawing thousands of people into the city from as far afield as Scotland and even New Zealand to enjoy all that Salisbury has to offer.”