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Slipping and sliding: Manchester’s winter joys

Taking the family to the snow slide and skating rink

Published on December 19th 2008.

Slipping and sliding: Manchester’s winter joys

Manchester’s been a cracker for families again this year.

We ventured out one beautifully sharp night to the city and slid, skated and ate our way from Piccadilly Gardens, through Chinatown and Albert Square to Spinningfields.

Piccadilly was all about whooshing down the snow slide. This was faster than predicted. Those afraid of heights got butterflies perched at the top of the 50m slope prior to take off. The price is £1.50 a go, and there’s a pleasant little coffee shop and cafe on site as well.

Then it was the T.LA Art and Craft store in Chinatown for the best stocking filler presents around (along with Oklahoma on High Street in the Northern Quarter). We left this delightful Chinese shop with loads of presents we never knew we’d needed to buy.

Albert Square was packed so we went down to the corral of eating places in Brazennose Street for grub. Several bratwurst and crepes later we strolled down to Hardman Boulevard in Spinningfields for the ice rink, which sits under the Civil Justice Centre.

The prices are £8 for adults, £7.50 for 13-17-year-olds and £6 for the under twelves. This year's version is bigger than last year's at Piccadilly Gardens.

Given that the slide and the rink are around until 4 January, we’re going to do it all again. It’s always pleasant to treat the city centre as though we’re on a family holiday aboard and stroll it, taking our time, doing what’s on offer, breathing it all in. Give it a try yourself.

It's good to rediscover your own city.

Spinningfields skate rink
For advance bookings call 0870 066 6848* or go to (with booking fee). Open: Sunday - Friday, 10am with last skate sessions at 9pm
Saturday, 9.30am with last skate session at 9.45pm.
The ice rink is open on Boxing Day and New Year's Day, check with the Box Office for session times.
Closed Christmas Day.

Snow slide
Piccadilly Gardens
Open: Sunday - Friday: 11am - 9pm. Saturday: 10am - 9pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Minimum height restriction: 1.1m unless accompanied by an adult.

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