(AD) If you follow us on social media, you will already know that, as a family, we are all Christmas nuts! I just love festive events and activities and, after everything got cancelled last year, I have spent much of this year, waiting for announcements of festive events and activities. With this in mind, it is fair to say I was excited when I heard that Ice skating was making a return to Sunderland City Centre, along with the festive augmented reality trail on the Sunderland Experience App, from Sunderland BID.
We were kindly invited to test out the Ice Rink which, this year, is inside an all weather, glass marquee. While we were in the City Centre, we also tested out the AR festive trail.
We started our day with the AR trail. The app takes you on a trail around the city centre, finding various festive characters along the way. We started at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens and followed the trail in an anti-clockwise direction. The app does contain a map, with the locations numbered, but you are free to find them in any order you wish. As you find each one, you can snap a picture to instantly share on social media.
If you haven't downloaded the app and tried on of these trails, I would highly recommend it. Not only does the trail take on a great little tour of the city centre, but it also features discounts and deals at some amazing local businesses, such as Harry's Game Shack, Sunderland Empire, Andyman Upcycling, Richard Reed Solicitors and more!
After lunch, we headed to the Ice Rink. This is situated inside an all weather marquee on Keel Square. We were greeted by the friendly, polite staff and swapped our shoes for Ice skates. I used to be a regular on the ice, when I was much younger, back in the days when Crowtree leisure centre was still open. It's safe to say that I'm not quite as confident on the ice as I was nearly 20 years ago, but I still gave it a go and enjoyed myself. Craig and the boys also got on the ice. Elliot wasn't so keen as he couldn't control his balance, but the older two seemed to be getting the hang of it, by the time we left.
There are plenty of staff on hand to offer any assistance that might be needed and there are skate aids available to hire, for anyone who isn't too confident.
This rink is real ice and reasonably sized. The ice seemed to be in good condition too.
One definite plus point here is the hire skates. If you have particularly large feet, you might struggle with some rinks, as the skates they have available to hire, only go up to a size 12. This has caused problems for Craig in the past and meant he had to miss out, but the skates here go up to a size 14, which I think is great. Overall, a great experience, especially being enclosed inside the glass marquee and protected from the weather.
Until 17 December
Monday - Friday 12:00 - 21:00
Weekends 10:00 - 21:00
18 December - 3 January
10:00 - 21:00 Every day
Pre-booking required for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Click HERE to book.
Closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day
Child 5-17 £8
Child 4 & under £3
Skate aid hire £4
Family of 4 (1+3 or 2+2) £28
Sessions last 45 minutes and include skate hire, but you are welcome to use your own skates.
A combined family ticket is also available, which gets you a skating session and one hour of unlimited rides at Winter Funderland, which is just 100 metres away. This is priced at £50.
There are so many ways to make a full festive day out in the area, including lunch at one of the many amazing eateries, bowling, cinema, visiting Santa at Bridges Sunderland and so much more. Watch out for the post I am currently working on with LOADS more ideas.