(AD) Ocean Beach Pleasure Park in South Shields are holding their own Winter Wonderland event this festive season and we were invited along to see what they have on offer.
Ocean Beach is well known around the North East, for it's wide range of thrilling rides for all ages, amusement arcades and great selection of food and drink. I have so many memories of regular visits when I was growing up, but haven't visited recently and it was good to see that some of my old favourites are still there, along with an amazing line up of newer attractions.
The Winter Wonderland event makes the most of the the various attractions on offer all year round, but also features an Ice Rink (real ice, not synthetic), walkabout entertainment and various festive food and drink options. In addition to this, they also have Santa visiting the park on the first weekend 27 & 28/11) and various popular characters on selected dates, including Anna & Kristof, Elsa & Olaf, Mickey & Minnie and lots more.
Check out this recent Facebook post to find out who is visiting when. The whole park is also looking very festive, with some beautiful decorations.
The event runs from today (26/11) and you can find full opening times HERE.
Entry to the park is FREE and no booking is required, though I would highly recommend pre-booking your skating sessions, which you can do HERE.
The Ice rink sits under a beautifully decorated festive marquee, with friendly, helpful staff on hand. The staff on the skate booth were polite and helpful and the staff on the ice were great and interacted well with the kids. The ice itself was in a great condition.
Sessions usually last one hour and prices include skate hire, though you are welcome to take your own skates along.
Skating aids are also available to hire for children.
I think the prices for skating sessions compare pretty well with other rinks around the region and are as follows.
General Park admission – FREE
Adults (13+) – £9
Children – £7 (Minimum 3 years old to skate)
Families (2 adults, 2 kids) – £27
Schools, Groups & Corporate – From £200 for a 1 hour session for up to 30 people (enquire using the link above)
Skating Aids – £5
Away from the excitement of the rides and ice rink, there is plenty of food and drink on offer too, from the various outlets around the park.
We opted for a bacon cheeseburger each, with a couple of portions of chips to share, plus a hot chocolate each, with marshmallows, cream and flake. The total price for this was just over £40 for 5 of us, which isn't too bad. The food was decent quality and the hot chocolates did a great job of warming us all up. We chose to eat and drink next to the firepit, in the bar area. The bar serves a great selection of drinks, including hot mulled wine! Perfect at this time of year as it was absolutely freezing on our visit.
Other options include fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding wraps and there is another stall, selling donuts, crepes and churros.
When it comes to rides, Ocean Beach operate a cashless system. You will need to purchase a Fun Card, which you can top up at one of the many kiosks dotted around the park. You then simply tap your card against a reader on each ride and the relevant amount of credits will be deducted. The number of credits needed for each ride is clearly displayed on each. You can also use your card, instead of cash on a lot of the arcade machines, though cash is also an option here.
All 3 boys really enjoyed themselves on the rides, with the waltzer, dodgems and pirate ship being their favourites. Elliot (our youngest) even went on most of the rides and asked to go on again, which I was very surprised at, as he is usually scared of them.
There is plenty of parking available, right next to the park or within an easy walk, though this is chargeable. The park is around a 10 minute walk from South Shields Metro station. Just head straight down Ocean Road till you reach the seafront and you can't miss it.
Overall, we had a thoroughly enjoyable night and would highly recommend adding this to your festive to-do list.
Have you been along? What did you think?