Have you tried outdoor ice skating this year? Your local pop-up rink might still be open this half term – why not check it out.

Over the winter, temporary open air ice rinks spring up all over the place (some better than others) making it a great time of year for our mini adventurers to try skating. Being outdoors adds another dimension to the excitement.

In January our Cub pack organised a day trip to Newcastle-upon-Tyne for a bit of culture in the north east’s big city; open air ice skating, a meal in Chinatown, walking the city walls and a matchday visit it to the NUFC shop!

Image of selfie of two women and 3 girls in woolly hats

On the Bus

Scouting is all about outdoor adventure, personal challenge, new experiences and life skills as well as fun with friends and lots of laughs. Our Scout group is based in a valley village in rural Northumberland so Akela arranged to take a public bus for the hour long journey to the city.

In the end only 3 Cubs attended, all girls, who loved the independence on the bus.

We walked from the bus stop to the temporary ice rink in Newcastle’s Times Square getting the girls to direct us using iphone maps – modern navigation skills!

Open Air Ice Skating

Ice skating, whether indoors or out, is another exciting challenge for kids, especially the first time they experience it, battling nerves, balance and finding the determination to succeed.

As a family we’ve tried a few outdoor ice rinks over the years, in fact I don’t think Caroline’s skated at an indoor rink yet!

We don’t rate the plastic ones much (with bumpy joins and amusingly added fairy liquid for slipperiness) except for when she was a tiny toddler and could use a penguin support.

Image of girl in blue jacket and striped woolly hat ice skating at Science Life Centre, Times Square, Newcastle

After kitting up in thick socks and skating boots we spent a fun-filled and increasingly warm hour (note the gradual removal of clothing layers in the photos!) outside the Science Life Centre. (where Caroline attends genetic appointments as part of her post-cancer monitoring.)

Image of gilr in dark green T-shirt on open air ice rink

There was the usual twenty minutes or so of teetering around getting our balance and then by the end of the hour we were all ‘experts’ and didn’t want to leave.

Newcastle’s Old City Walls

Having worked up healthy appetites we walked to Chinatown via the old city walls.

Newcastle’s Medieval stone walls were built to defend the city in the 13th and 14th centuries and stand up to 25 feet high (7.6m). They are currently a Scheduled Ancient Monument that you can see in places around the city free of charge.

Image of 3 girls standing in front of old stone city walls in Newcastle, UK

International Culture in Chinatown

We had a delicious meal before exploring a Chinese supermarket to buy some cute gifts for Chinese New Year.

Three girls stood next to stone Chinese dragon at Chinatown gate, Newcastle, UK

Image of 3 girls at sweet counter in shop with Chinese decorations

Newcastle United Football Club Store

The walk back to the bus stop took us via the merchandise shop at Newcastle’s St James’ Park football stadium where a match was in progress. We popped in for more black and white Magpie-style goodies. An eclectic day if ever there was one!

Image of three girls and a woman outside Newcastle United Football Club's official store at St James' Park
Girls about Toon!

It tipped it down the whole way home so we were incredibly lucky to have had a dry day out and about in toon.

What will you be doing outdoors this half term?

2019 Skating Prices at Science Life Centre, Newcastle

The Newcastle open air ice rink is open until 24th February 2019 so there’s still time to take the kids.

Family (2 adults + 2 children OR 1 adult + 3 children) £27.00
Adult (aged 18+) £10.00
Concessions (OAP, student or unwaged) £9.00
Child (aged 5-17) £7.50
Child (aged 4 and under) £3.00
Maximum of 2 under 4s per adult on the ice rink