Fun On Ice: Review of public ice skating at Lee Valley Ice Centre
Who doesn’t love a bit of ice skating? It’s so much fun but I think most of us tend to go at Christmas time and make it a seasonal activity, when it really doesn’t need to be confined to that time of year. Ice skating can be enjoyed any time of the year... you just need to find a purpose built location!
With that in mind, we recently visited Lee Valley Ice Skating Centre in North London, which lies within the bigger Lee Valley Park. It’s super easy to get to, whichever direction you’re coming from as it’s just off the North Circular Road, and also easily accessible by both overground and underground. It’s an international sized skating rink, which is also home to the Lee Valley Lions ice hockey team and the Lee Valley London Skating Club.
My children had been looking forward to it immensely and couldn’t wait to get there!
There's loads of parking on site that's really good value at a cost of just £1 for visits between 30 minutes and 5 hours, which is plenty of time to enjoy your skating session. Once we checked in we headed straight to get our skates on!
In the booting up area there are loads of lockers (20p charge) which are really handy, providing somewhere to safely store bags and coats whilst you're skating.
The first thing you notice as you approach the rink is how HUGE it is! It’s quite breathtaking. The girls especially kept commenting on this, they thought it was amazing, especially compared to the pop-up rinks we've visited before.
There are a few entry doorways onto the ice, but otherwise it’s all enclosed. With the clocks in the middle and the flags all hanging around, it feels very professional indeed.
There were plenty of stewards on hand to help with the little ones and the skating aids were brilliant!
Usually the skating aids are little novelty penguins of some kind wherever we’ve been skating before, but these ones, although not as cute, were incredibly practical. Bigger in size so that the child could either push around on his own or an adult could jump in behind and join in too. I did this a few times with my twins to help them, and also to make them go faster. They loved it!
Along with the twins and my own daughter, I also took my daughter’s friend and the two girls whisked off, thoroughly enjoying themselves. Despite being a public skate session on a Saturday afternoon, there were never too many people on the ice at any one time and maybe because the rink is large, it felt spacious enough to skate around without fear of being knocked into by anyone.
Our session was for two hours, which I think was perfect because towards the end my boys were skating happily without the aids. Whilst there were a few times they had to hold on, their confidence grew massively during our time here, as did the girls’. The session flew by… I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the clock at we’d been there for as long as we had - you know what they say about time flying when you're having fun!
Being on the ice for a good length of time is also quite tiring, and the boys needed to have a little rest here and there. There is plenty of seating all around the ice so no need to spend time looking for any. There’s also a great cafe which serves hot and cold drinks and snacks. This was very comfortable and reasonably priced.
If you want to make more of your time here at Lee Valley, you can hire an experienced coach to give you or your child some 1 to 1 or group training if you fancy. This is a great idea if you’re a bit nervous on the ice and you would love some help to get you up and confident, or if you fancy learning some extra moves on the ice.
There was a wall of fame of all the coaches too which I thought was a great way of encouraging people to take up the coaching sessions! My daughter has already asked for some, so I'm sure we'll be back soon.
Lee Valley Ice Centre also caters for birthday parties, corporate events and there's a disco every Saturday night.
The children had a blast here at Lee Valley Ice Centre and have asked when they can go again! I must admit, I too enjoyed skating around for a couple of hours. It’s so much fun, and certainly something that shouldn't just be saved for Christmas...