Visiting Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland is one of our favourite family traditions before Christmas, and this year was no exception. As soon as November hits, the kids are asking when we are going ice skating. This year, I have made a video of our day out:
Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland have the largest ice rink in the North, and the kids love it!
Although they are getting a lot more confident on the ice, you can see that they still love their snowmen to hold onto!
The kids (and Mr W) spent their hour on the ice, and once I had finished begging them to come near to where I was standing, so I could take photos, I headed over to Papa Hütte, the cosy alpine-themed, café overlooking the ice rink.
I indulged in a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows (wonderfully festive!) but was impressed with the menu in general. I’m definitely going for the cheddar and caramelised onion chutney toastie next time!
When the kids had finished on the ice, they came to find me and Miss H couldn’t resist drawing on the inviting blackboard.
There is a great kids area in there for smaller ones too:
Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland 2018 – Review
The kids were desperate to head over the the vintage funfair. Their favourite ride is the Speedway (which is very fast!).
It’s worth mentioning that under 12’s are not allowed on the Speedway unaccompanied (so you’ll have to go on/pay also). After the Speedway, the kids headed to the Chair O Plane (look at that blue sky!).
We didn’t visit Santa, but he was there to be visited, so if you have younger children, it’s a perfect opportunity.
Also, there are some lovely snowy trees around the grotto which is a perfect photo opportunity as Miss H ably demonstrates!
It’s a lovely day out and a perfect shopping opportunity at the same time. Parking can be a bit of a nightmare so I’d recommend going early or late to miss the crowds – have a great time!
Our review from last year:
It was a lovely bright and cold day, the day we visited Winter Wonderland this year. The children ice skated with Mr Wonders, accompanied by the music drifting over from the vintage fairground. It’s a lovely festive thing to do and beautifully lit as dusk falls. A real highlight of the season.
The Ice Factor at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland
I didn’t ice skate because I was taking photographs. It absolutely wasn’t because I was scared of falling over and making a fool of myself. Absolutely. If your children are not great ice skaters then you can hire a penguin for the real little ones or a snowman for the bigger ones. Now, learn from my lesson of the last three years, there is rarely enough snowmen to go around – so make sure you remember to ask for it when you pay for your ice skating. Don’t get to the where you put your skates on and ask there as by then it’s likely to be too late! Towards the end of the session lots of people leave the rink though and you can manage to pick one up at that point (don’t do this though, get one to start with as the kids will not then moan at you for ages at the start!!)
Christmas Events in Yorkshire
After our ice skating exploits we hit Pizza Express for sustenance (there are lots of restaurants and a food court at the Designer Outlet) so you can be as extravagant or frugal as you like. We had some Tesco Clubcard vouchers that were due to expire in four days so we went REALLY extravagant! (Can’t let though vouchers go to waste hey?). Unfortunately, the server pointed out that our vouchers were actually for Prezzo rather than Pizza Express – so again, another pitfall to avoid! 😊
After the massive pizza lunch we foolishly decided to hit the funfair. Can you see a flaw in these plans? Anyway, the bumper cars were fab, though I felt a bit queasy after the Speedway! The Speedway is amazingly fast (my tip – sit on one of the benches, much less work than clinging onto the motorbikes as it sends you around at one million miles per hour). Also, as fabulous as the ghost train is, it does last less than a minute – for the best value, go for the Speedway, Bumper Cars or Swing roundabout for a longer experience.
Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland – Review
Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland was very prettily decorated everywhere with Christmas trees covered in white ‘snow’. As dusk fell it really came into its own though as all the lights came on in the trees, the fairground lit up and the tree in the middle of the ice rink looked magnificently Christmassy!
We didn’t have chance to visit Santa’s Grotto this year or PapaKitchen – so do have a look at my review from last year (below) for more info!
For more information see our review of Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland from 2016:
Yorkshire Winter Wonderland York. If you are looking for a lovely Christmassy place to take the children ice skating then the Ice Factor at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland is ideal. Situated in the grounds of the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet on the outskirts of York it is easy to get to. The car park gets busy but parking is free.
Miss H with a bauble as big as her head!
Yorkshire Winter Wonderland York
We visited on the first day it opened this Christmas to see the opening parade. We were treated to a performance from Santa’s toy soldiers and a giant reindeer like a Christmas pudding who the children found very funny.
While we watched, elves, fairies and a very impressive snow queen (white witch?) circled. They gave out chocolate coins to the children and happily posed for photos.
Then the big man himself arrived – Santa! The whole procession then paraded around the shopping centre giving out coins and spreading good humoured chaos!
The parade finished outside in the Winter Wonderland as Santa was given an escort to his grotto. I assumed these were giant reindeers but Mr Wonders thinks they were fawns (think Mr Tumnus!).
We took the opportunity to visit and the children chatted to Santa before they were given presents and had their photo taken with him. You can buy your photo when you return outside. There were lots of different photo packages to choose from. I also took my own photographs.
The elves who were helping Santa were all very lovely and made the children feel special.
Ice Factor York
The path to Santa’s Grotto is lined with snow covered Christmas trees. In fact there are lots of snow covered Christmas trees all around the Winter Wonderland. There are also a series of log cabins with lovely Christmassy scenes.
This year’s theme is The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Ice Skating York
After we visited Santa, we decided to try some ice skating (do have a look at my festive ice skating in Yorkshire round up here). If the little ones need a bit of extra support (and let’s face it, most of them do!) then you can hire penguins or snowmen to help them stay upright on the ice. It’s an extra £2 but completely worth it in my opinion. Make sure you request them when you book as they can sell out for your session. Make a note of the session times too before you go as they start every hour and a quarter. (It’s an hour for skating and 15 minutes while they sweep the ice afterwards). There are staff on the ice that will help show your children how to skate and offer help when you need it. They all seemed very friendly and approachable.
Ice Skating Designer Outlet
The children were a little anxious to start with but soon began to enjoy it and have been asking when we can go again since. I’d recommend having a spare set of clothes in the car though as Master T was soaked after spending a lot of time sitting on the ice!
While Mr Wonders and the children were skating at the Ice Factor, I took myself off into the café next to the rink – PapaKitchen. It’s a lovely cosy place with festoon lights criss-crossing the ceiling and furs adorning the seats. You can sit with a hot drink and a cake and watch the skaters.
I treated myself to a hot chocolate with Baileys, whipped cream and marshmallows. Well, it is Christmas!
Don’t miss the Vintage Funfair while you are there. Some fabulous rides that take me back to when I was little and we visited the fair on St George’s Field in York. Absolutely beautifully decorated too, really gorgeous vintage designs.
You can read all about the history of the funfair here. We rode the speedway (and it was fast!), the bumper cars and the ghost train.
Master T said the ghost train was loud! There was also a spinning swing ride, as well as a couple of rides for the younger ones and hook-a-duck. I thought the rides at £2 a go were quite reasonable and the bumper cars at £2.50 per car is great value.
After the parade, our visit to Santa, ice skating and the vintage funfair, we popped inside the centre for a rather late lunch. We had fresh hot fish and chips in the food court. A nice way to finish off a lovely Christmas day out.
Yorkshire Winter Wonderland Website
Have a look at the Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland for all the information and prices. I took some photos of prices and opening times when I was there which are always really useful I think!
Looking for more Christmas Events and Ice Skating York? Have a look what else is on in the area.
York Designer Outlet Ice Skating