Review: Feel festive at the North Pole in Cambridge (but it does help if you can skate)
The idea of skating in style under the sun, moon and stars of Cambridge was an appealing one.
Thinking it would be the ideal way to kick off our festive season, my husband, three-year-old daughter and I headed off to Parker's Piece in the city to visit the annual ice skating rink.
I had visited once before, more than a decade ago, so I thought I knew what to expect. However, nothing could prepare me for just how much the pop-up attraction has grown.
Where once just an ice rink was available over the festive season, now Parker's Piece hosts the rink, rides a-plenty, bars and eateries. Suddenly the name 'North Pole Cambridge' made much more sense.
First up, we had to steer eager pre-schooler Clara away from the rides towards the ice rink for our pre-booked skate.
The rink features a clear roof, meaning you can literally look up into the skies. I can imagine it would be truly magical at night – if you can skate, that is.
Our visit coincided with dusk falling. We were issued our boots (a long wait here was frustrating, when we had been first at the desk) and given a wristband for a skating aid. We had pre-booked our penguin helper – £5 extra – knowing the ice would likely be a struggle for Clara.
Finally, the rink gate opened and it was time for our session. I would like to say I stepped out on to the ice with all the grace of Jayne Torvill, while my Christopher Dean-esque husband sped past and Clara – a natural on the ice – immediately abandoned her penguin skate aid as she confidently skated behind.
As it was, daddy and daughter struggled from the entrance gate to the exit gate about 10 feet away before abandoning the exercise.
I managed a couple of very wobbly laps before giving up.
"Mummy, that was really hard work," said Clara on my return.
With the ice skating being what you might term 'a disaster', we ensured it was not a wasted journey by hitting the funfair.
While there is a mix of traditional and extreme rides, we were delighted by the gentler thrills aimed at younger visitors. The dodgems were a big hit with Clara and daddy, while Clara also enjoyed plane and train rides, as well as an unusual car racetrack.
Rest assured, if you're not aged three there is still plenty to enjoy, with a fun house, giant slide, waltzers and more on offer. Rides start from £2.
Then it was time for a warming hot chocolate in the refreshments area (where a variety of food and drink is available) before returning home to Bury St Edmunds feeling truly festive.
Ice skating tickets cost £12.50 for adults/teenagers, £10.50 three-12 year-olds, £40 for a family tickets, £5 for a skate aid and a season pass is from £102. Group discounts of are available to groups of 10 or more.
The North Pole Cambridge is open until January 5, from 11am-9pm weekdays and 10am-9pm weekends. From December 19 it is open 10am-9pm daily.
For more information, go to https://thenorthpolecambridge.co.uk/
More by this authorCamille Berriman