I am a freelance writer living in Gloucestershire. I have been writing family style articles in the form of columns for newspapers since 2000 and spent four years presenting an interview chat show on Forest of Dean Radio.
Skate on the ice in Bristol's Winter Wonderland this Xmas
Ice skating is a relatively new phenomenon in England. Well, ice-skating at outside rinks that is. In American films such as The Miracle of 34th Street, we see people skating amazingly adeptly across Central Park, but in England, the only skating that most English people have experienced, until recently, was at an inside skating rink, with a loud cacophony of shouting, screaming and blaring music.
Skating at the Winter Wonderland at Cribbs Causway, Bristol, though is an entirely different matter. Instead of the loud cacophony and an impersonal plasticised interior, it is Fairyland itself, complete with fairy lights, a Christmas train ride, and Father Christmas's Enchanted Ice Castle.
It was a scramble to get there on time, and because there were six of us, we went in the minibus, which, due to its age and serious dilapidation makes us look like something from The Waltons, rather than something out of The Miracle of 34th Street.
Naturally we managed to end up on the wrong side of the rink on entry and were in the queue for the skates rather than the tickets. After a bit of negotiation we found our way to the ticket office, and then went back to get the skates. That bit is fun. You have to take your shoes off, stand barefooted, trying not to get your socks too wet, and then you have to put your skates on. There we were, budding "Torvill and Dean's" putting on our skates. Although I think that Jane and Christopher possibly don't wobble around so much when they put theirs on.
Then we finally got onto the ice. Suddenly we were in Winter Wonderland itself. Dancing on Ice eat your heart out. We were there, gliding, (semi) gracefully across South West England's biggest outside skating rink. Well, yes, it was a bit of a wobbly start, and it does take most of the 45 minute session for the non skaters amongst us to become reasonably adept, but nevertheless, whilst we were not quite ready for Dancing on Ice, we were actually skating.
Do go and have a skate. This really is a fabulous Christmas treat for the whole family.
Your little ones can see Father Christmas there too. www.mallcribbs.com
The rink at Cribbs Causeway is built every Christmas season and is very cleverly designed. There are two rinks, a large one for adults and bigger children and a baby rink for the little ones. Skates are available from British children's size 9 (size 27 European size, size 10 US size) up to British size 15 (size 51 European size, size 16 US size). There are also bobby skates which clip on to baby shoes and have double blades. For the really wobbly ones there are plastic seals too, for a more thorough grip on the ice.
There is nowhere to leave handbags, so unless you have left it in the car, you will have to carry onto the ice on your shoulder, as 18 year old and I did.
Children can visit Father Christmas throughout the day and travel on a Christmas train ride.