Monday 25 November 2013

Getting our skates on at Winter Skate Birmingham

This weekend, we kicked, or rather skated, off our festive celebrations with a visit to Winter Skate Birmingham. We'd kindly been offered tickets to go along and see what we thought of the 'real ice' rink so we took Stephen's sister, her fiance and his almost four year old son for a whizz on the ice.

We were running quite late - getting a baby ready in cold weather takes a lot longer than I ever thought and trying to find a car parking space was pretty tricky as everyone else seemed to want to be in the city centre at the same time as us. And who can blame them really? Birmingham comes alive at this time of year, with the delights of the Frankfurt Christmas Market, the wonder of the big wheel and, for the first time in five years, the Winter Skate ice rink.

When we did eventually arrive, the rink organisers kindly agreed to switch our skating session time to 4pm so we headed to the Ice Cafe for a drink. The rink was very popular, with the box office bustling and lots of people watching the ice skaters. We got a seat easily in the Ice Cafe despite how popular the rink was and settled down in the warm and cosy surroundings. Ethan got to see his first Christmas trees in there and it was a really nice place to sit and enjoy the view.

When the time came to get our skates on, I left Ethan with Stephen whilst my sister-in-law and I took her stepson Sebby out for a spin on the ice. I was a little nervous as I no longer possess any finesse on the ice (I'm not sure I ever did but I must have been ok as I used to go quite a lot when I was a teenager). Sebby had no such worries as one of the rink attendants helped fix skates to the soles of his boots. We were a little late for the start of the session so all the penguins were taken already - these are aids for small children on the ice which help keep them balanced. Luckily, half way through, a penguin became free and Sebby was able to use this to get around (I believe these are £3 to hire). To be honest though, he was great on the ice and led the way, much to my mortification. I made a couple of laps around the rink, always within arms reach of the edge, but he and my sister-in-law were confident out in the middle. Even when Sebby had a couple of slips, someone quickly came over to help and it was really good to see so many attendants, and first aid staff, close to hand should anyone need them.

It was really popular with participants and observers alike but the rink is well planned so there's plenty of space to get your skates on and off and to enjoy watching people skating.

If you're interested in going, be advised that booking in advance is best, especially if you want to go at a peak time, as there is a maximum number of tickets they'll sell per hour long session and you may need to wait until later on to get on the ice if it is busy. Also, if you require a penguin to help any little ones, make sure you're there on the button when your session starts so you can snatch one up.

Following the visit to Winter Skate, we headed towards the Town Hall to enjoy the market but sadly, it was so busy, it took ages to get through Paradise Forum and after half an hour trying to get through, we decided to head home. Being out and about with a baby in a buggy when the crowds are so big really isn't that much fun. It's great to see so many people in the festive spirit but it was hard to stay together as a group and with the buggy in tow, it was slow going. Hubs and I are keen to go to the market so we might ask for someone to babysit Ethan one night.

It was a lovely start to the season for us and we all enjoyed our time at Winter Skate, particularly Sebby. It's a lot of fun and there's nothing quite so magical as twinkling lights and sparkling ice to get you in the spirit of Christmas.

To find out more about Winter Skate Birmingham, see my preview post here or visit to buy tickets.



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