Thanks to Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland for inviting us for complimentary ice skating rides and food in return for this review
Christmas has officially started here in Cardiff with the opening of Winter Wonderland last night and an evening of free street entertainment across the city as part of the annual Step Into Christmas event.
We were lucky to be invited to the opening night of Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland for an ice skating session and to put the rides to the test.
You can find out more about how we got on below – plus there’s the chance to win a family skating experience at the Admiral Ice Rink.
Before we arrived at Winter Wonderland we headed into the city centre from 4.30pm where we saw everything from brass bands and tap dancing reindeer to fire dancers and Elvis Presley-style elves as part of Step Into Christmas. With Christmas songs playing the colourful lights switched on and the Christmas markets open the whole evening felt so festive.
We were also pleased to see the reindeer back outside the castle and the impressive tree with its twinkling lights. It all looked so look so pretty illuminated against the night sky.
A review of Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland was already buzzing when we arrived at just before 6pm. The first thing we noticed was that there’s no big wheel looming over the site; instead comes the Drop Tower. This is 90m tall arrived in nine articulated lorries from the Netherlands and is currently the tallest structure in Cardiff.
Apparently the views across the city from the top are incredible. I say apparently because I was way too scared to test it out myself. It takes you slowly up to the top…. and then down you plummet. The ride requires six tokens with each token costing £1 so it’s not a cheap experience – but it sure looks to be a memorable one.
Some of the rides we loved in previous years are back including the fun house (my children’s absolute favourite) and Santa’s Sleigh Ride (which goes faster than you think it will). There’s no helter skelter this year but my three loved the ski lift ride.
For younger children Santa’s train ride is perfect – it’s a good one for even the youngest children as it doesn’t go too fast and there’s room for grown ups to sit on with them too. My four year old was happy to go on this but his brother and sister are a bit too big now and so opted for the balloon ride instead. The majority of the children’s rides need two tokens (£2).
For older children and grown ups there’s the dodgems and the twister as well as the drop tower.
There are also plenty of traditional funfair games where you can win giant stuffed toys and other prizes too.
The rides are open from 12pm-10am weekdays until 21 December; 11am-10pm on weekdays from 22 December; and 10am-10pm on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s closed on Christmas Day. See website for opening times on Christmas Eve Boxing Day New Year’s Eve New Year’s Day and its final day on 6 January.
The ice skating
There’s something so festive about open air ice skating. A trip to Cardiff’s 20m wide by 80m long ice rink with its clear Perspex roof and twinkling lights is one of my favourite annual Christmas traditions.
My four year old is still a little nervous on the ice but hiring him a ‘penguin’ skate aid helped. These are £5 in addition to skating costs. It’s advisable to pre-book these as there are limited numbers available. Children must be no more than 1m20 /4ft tall to use the penguins – staff will check and refuse if children are too tall.
His brother and sister however have really got to grips with skating and after an initial lap clutching on to the wall they were soon off on their way whizzing around the ice.
We found the checking in process to get our skates and collecting our shoes on the way out really efficient and had no queues despite the rink being busy.
My youngest was ready to come off the ice after about 40 minutes. His brother and sister would have stayed skating all night if they’d had their way. They can’t wait to go again.
Prices vary depending on whether you book in advance or are skating peak or off peak but range from £8.50 to £11 for adults and £7-£9 for children. Different prices apply for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. You can view all the prices here. ‘Quiet’ sessions are available – see online for details.
Food and drink
The focal point is the new Sur La Piste Alpine-style bar. It’s much bigger than in previous years with two floors and looks great. The full length glass windows on the second floor are lovely and although having three children with us meant we didn’t venture inside it looked the perfect place to enjoy a mulled drink while watching the action below.
There’s a fast food van serving burgers (around £5 each; falafal burger available)and fries (£3.50), children’s meals of chicken nuggets and fries; a ‘dirty fries’ van serving fries loaded with various toppings; several stalls selling sweet offerings such as candyfloss and sweets and one with traditional fudge.
Win a family ice skating session at Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland
One lucky family can skate for free this winter thanks to this brilliant giveaway. The prize consists of a family ticket (up to two adults and two children or one adult and three children) for a one-hour ice skating session at the Admiral Ice Rink at Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland. The prize is valid for any weekday session (excluding Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve) subject to availability.
For a chance to win leave the answer to this simple question on the Winter Wonderland post on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page.
Liking and sharing the Facebook post isn’t a condition of entry but it helps me massively to continue running these kinds of giveaways if you do.
Closing date for entries is Monday 19 November at 11.59pm.
Q. How big is the Admiral Ice Rink
at Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland?
Terms and conditions:
- There is one prize, consisting of a family ticket (up to two adults and two children or one adult and three children) for a one-hour ice skating session at the Admiral Ice Rink at Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland.
- The prize is valid for any weekday skating session subject to availability excluding Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. You can view all tickets and sessions here.
- Children must be age 3 or above to skate. All children must be accompanied on the ice. Ice skate hire is included with all bookings and are available from J8 (child) up to and including 14 (adult).
- There is no alternative prize and tickets are non-transferable.
- Closing date for entries is Monday 19 November 2018, 11.59pm.
- Entrants must be 18 years or over.
- To enter, leave your answer to the above question in the comments section of the ‘Winter Wonderland’ review and giveaway post on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page.
- The winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries submitted before the closing date. The winner will be informed with a reply to their Facebook comment and a direct Facebook message letting them know they have won. All reasonable attempts will be made to contact the winner. If the winner cannot be contacted within 48 hours the prize will be forfeited and offered to another eligible entrant.
- Cardiff Mummy Says reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time. Any new terms and conditions will be published here.
- Cardiff Mummy Says reserves the right to end this promotion at any time and without notice.
- Cardiff Mummy Says cannot be held responsible for the failure of third party organisations to provide the prize, or for loss, damage or non-arrival of the prizes.
- Relatives of Cathryn Scott, author of Cardiff Mummy Says, may not enter the giveaway.
- Employees and their relatives of Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland including the Admiral Ice Rink; 11th Hour Events; or Orchard PR may not enter the giveaway.
- This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.