Sport In The City: Manchester Outdoor Ice Skating

Originally featured on The Mancunion

There’s more to sport in Manchester than City and United: this week we highlight Manchester’s Ice Skating Rink

Over the course of the academic year, as well as paying close attention to, and prioritising the progress and successes of, our university’s very own societies, teams and campus sports, let our new Sport in the City feature tempt you into a very different sporting day out. Whether it’s a new sport, a team about whom you did not know, or just an event that interests us, we hope that we will be able to entice you to explore the wide sporting variety that the city has to offer during your time studying at the University of Manchester.

In the spotlight this week: Manchester Ice Skating Rink

Well… what is it?

With the end of the semester fast-approaching, Christmas is now just around the corner, and if our last two season suggestions weren’t enough, then why not get into the festive spirit with our latest offering! We may have had the spotlight on both a Christmas Pud-Run and Santa-Run in recent weeks as well as the sporting activities on offer at the Chill Factore, but our final Sport in the City suggestion for this semester is something a bit more relaxed. Whilst we ensure you that it has all of the same good tidings and festive cheers as our previous recommendations, a trip to Manchester’s very own outdoor Ice Skating Rink before you head home for the Christmas Break allows you a much more chilled opportunity to spend time with your friends, if you pardon the pun.

Proving popular in recent years not just in Manchester but throughout the country, the city’s outdoor ice-rink returns to Spinningfields once again, and is open every day over the Christmas break apart from Christmas Day, up until January 3rd. The city centre’s largest outdoor ice rink offers festive choristers, DJs, themed sessions and family entertainment. A festive hub of activity, including fairground rides and a bar complete with mulled wine and other crimbo favourites. And most importantly, Manchester Ice Rink welcomes all ages and abilities of skaters, so it makes no difference whether you’re a pro or a first timer!

How do I get there?

Situated in the heart of the city, the outdoor ice rink is relatively straightforward to get to, and fully accessible by means of public transport. For those wishing to catch a bus, the short journey from Piccadilly Gardens to the ice rink on New Bailey Street can be reached by bus numbers 12, 25, 36 and 37, dropping you a minute’s walk from the venue. Meanwhile, if you prefer to make use of the Metrolink tram system, the nearest Metrolink stop is Deansgate/Castlefield, and if you simply walk down Deansgate and take a left onto Quay Street, you’ll find the ice rink on your right as Quay Street turns into Irwell Street. Finally, should the train be a viable means of transport for you, make sure to catch a train to Salford Central or Deansgate Railway Stations; the ice rink is no more than a five minute walk away.

But how much does it cost to get in?

Given its novelty aspect, you might expect entry to the ice-rink to be quite expensive and difficult to purchase tickets for during the hectic lead-up to Christmas. However, fear not, because although we cannot guarantee how busy it may or may not be, we can though reassure you that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to enjoy the unique Christmas feature this year. Prices are largely split between peak and off-peak rates, but luckily for students, the rate remains the same no matter what time of the day it is, as long as you can present valid student ID, so don’t forget your student card. For a 45-minute session on the ice, a ticket will cost £8 and although it is possible to pay on the day, I would recommend reserving your space online in advance to avoid any disappointment.

What are the facilities like? 

Well, the 620sqm ice-rink is of course made of real ice, and is one of the largest rinks in the Greater Manchester area, holding up to 220 skaters at one given time. On the ice itself, there is a handrail right around all sides of the rink for your safety, and a team of ice marshals who are on hand to offer assistance and advice whilst you dazzle your friends with just how good you are, or if you are like me, make a complete and utter fool of yourself for everybody on Snapchat to see. Your state will be accompanied by a loud sound system and a super state-of-the-art light show to enhance the experience. The ice rink has a viewing terrace for skating spectators, and clean toilets, and after you have finished skating, make sure to explore the wide selection of bars, cafés, restaurants and shops in Spinningfields; a warm and seasonal feel for you to enjoy your festive day or night out.

Tell me something I didn’t already know…

Manchester is welcoming the Christmas Ice Skating Rink for its eighth successive year and continues to be a success and vital part of the citiy’s festive programme of events. The hub created at Spinningfields is undoubtedly a huge attraction in the run-up to Christmas and brings thousands of people to the area to skate. With regards to ice-skating itself, I bet you didn’t know that the first recorded pair of ice-skates was made of bones, which were strapped to the feet, to allow people to cross frozen rivers and lakes. The most spins a skater has completed on one foot without stopping is 115, which was accomplished in New York in 2003, and the record for the fastest spin on ice is 308 spins in one minute; however, this is not to suggest that you go trying to beat this record either! Furthermore, ice skaters have reached speeds of up to 48km per hour on the ice during races, and the first ever instructional book concerning how to ice skate was published in London in 1772. Don’t all rush to the library at once!

Finally, when can I see this in action?

Manchester Ice Skating Rink is open until the 3rd January 2016 in their new home in New Bailey, just over the river from Spinningfields. Sessions on the ice last for 45 minutes and it is advised that you arrive at least 15-20 minutes before your session starts. For information on everything from booking tickets to opening times, ticket prices, and anything else, please consult: http://manchestericerink.co.uk/

If you have any requests for local teams, sports or events taking place in Manchester, or if you wish to be involved, please contact: sports@mancunion.com.

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