WHEN we were given the chance to attend one of the opening nights of the much-anticipated Coventry Glides ice rink we jumped at the chance (or should that be skated).
This year, because of the lockdown and other restrictions, there have been limited opportunities for the pre-Christmas events we usually enjoy in the run up to the festive season.
Luckily the lockdown ending just a week after the initial intended start time of Coventry Glides and the organisers having the foresight to extend the event by a week means will still all get the same amount of time to try out this attraction.
And what a fantastic attraction it is – whoever came up with the idea to have an ice rink set against the beautiful backdrop of the historic Coventry Cathedral Ruins should take a bow.
I’ve never been much of an ice skater but whenever I have given it a go, I have always enjoyed it ten times more when it has been outside.
I have fond memories of the rink in Centenary Square in Birmingham a few years ago, held alongside the Frankfurt Christmas Market but the ornate Cathedral Ruins are even better.
There is something romantic about skating outdoors, especially during the festive season, but whether it is this country’s susceptibility to rain and drizzle or because of the cost of staging events of this kind, there does not seem to be many outdoor rinks around.
So when they do arise, it makes it even more special and should lead to us taking these opportunities when we can.
To be fair there was drizzle in the air last night but I don’t think anyone noticed as they were so engrossed in the whole magical experience of the event.
Coventry Glides was great from start to finish – we arrived with the pre-booked tickets (essential because of the Covid restrictions), and it was very well organised.
The staff were friendly and helpful, providing clear instructions as to what we needed to do next.
Because of Coronavirus, you need a locker to store your shoes which you can get with a token for on the front desk.
At this point if you have young children who are skating for the first time it is worth getting one of the wristbands for the penguin ‘skate aids’ to help them round.
And once you get your skates on and get out on the ice – with the beautiful Cathedral ruins surrounding you and the central reservation (for want of a better phrase) adorned with Christmas trees – it is truly exhilarating.
Another great aspect about Coventry Glides is because of the restrictions there are also limited numbers of people on the ice to enable social distancing (no doubt one of the few positives from Covid-19).
It’s ideal for people like me who only go skating once in a blue moon and are not that confident on the ice. There is nothing worse than a hazardous over-packed rink where you have to skate a bit quicker than the person behind and slightly slower than the one in front.
Our family – two adults and two children aged eight and 13 – found plenty of space on Coventry Glides’ rink, along with a friendly atmosphere.
And with the radio on playing some all our festive favourites, it’s a great way to get into the Christmas Spirit.
The price is also good value as well – for the hour session (around 40 minutes skate time) – it is just £5 per person.
Coventry Glides runs until January 10 and you can visit coventry2021.co.uk/what-s-on/coventry-glides/ to book tickets or for more information.
This is one of the pre-City of Culture events which gives us an insight into what we will be seeing in 2021.
Judging by this, we’ve got a fantastic 12 months to look forward to.
The organisers have also confirmed that, following a successful first weekend of Coventry Glides and a review of the Ice Rink capacity, Coventry City of Culture Trust has increased the ice rink capacity by 15 people per session.
Extra tickets are now available meaning that some of the most popular, and previously sold out, sessions are available to book.
“Tickets are limited so don’t wait around so book now to get the your first choice of session at the best price.
“Get your skates on and get booking now!”