‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas’ – Lancaster on Ice opens to the public

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picture taken by the author - Hope Duncan

Dalton Square has become home to a new ice rink that is set to become a massive yearly attraction which the owners hope will rival classic Christmas events in Manchester and London. The centrally located open-air ice rink is open every day (excluding Christmas Day) until January 6th, offering complimentary skate hire for the vast majority of shoe sizes and full wheelchair accessibility.

Reviews over the opening weekend have been overwhelmingly positive, with the event proving popular with both families and students. Children’s rides are also present at the site, which combined with live music performances, markets and a pledge to work with local primary schools means this event is providing lots of entertainment for Lancaster’s youth. The rink stays open until 10pm every day, which should suit student’s busy schedules, however, no student discounts are currently being offered. This event also follows the success of Lancaster Pride in Dalton Square, and organisers hope the ice rink will demonstrate Lancaster’s potential to hold large-scale events.

The ice rink is the creation of the owners of the nearby pub The Borough, who wanted to make use of the scenic open space in Dalton Square, and the event consultant of Sustainable Festivals, who has also worked on Light Up Lancaster and Lancaster Music Festival. Lancaster on Ice is also partnering with several charities, profit from Monday night skating is being donated to St John‘s Hospice and Morecambe Bay Foodbank and Unique Kidz are trying to ensure as many children can experience ice skating as possible.

Lancaster on Ice is the first event of its kind in the area and is using only real ice, not synthetic for the most authentic experience. Around 30,000 skaters are expected over the festive period, which organisers hope will also increase footfall to local businesses by attracting tourists from North Lancs and the South Lakes. Christmas parties are also available for booking, as indoor entertainment space is also being offered. Gift cards for the ice rink are also being sold, with the aim of providing the perfect experience-based Christmas present.

Customers have reported that staff have been extremely helpful and that the event has been very well organised, however, some feel that the £2 fee for spectating is excessive. The polar bear skate supports have also proven to be very popular with families; these come with a £5 hire charge and are available on a first come, first served basis. Pictures of the night time light display have been especially popular on social media and customers have also loved the mulled wine being served in the adjacent tipi. Overall, consumer opinion is indicating Lancaster on Ice’s dream of becoming the iconic winter event in Lancaster might just become a reality.