Christmas preparations and celebrations started for us this weekend and I feel rather festive now!  We have a tree, we have been to see Santa and we have been ice skating.  On Saturday we went into Manchester to Spinningfields, not the greatest choice of day three weekends before Christmas, Manchester United vs Manchester Derby was the following day oh and X Factor was being held and screened live from Manchester.  It was BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!  But in a way that added to the excitement for Lil H and Diva G and there was a real buzz in town which overcame the cold and rainy wet weather we were out in.

First we went to Santa’s Storytime which was inside in a rather sweet grotto created in the reception space in Quay House, Manchester and Merseyside’s finest Elves welcomed the children, they sang to call Santa who arrived down the chimney – which was rather special!  Santa read a story and then all the children got to have a chat with the big man himself and place their orders for the big day and gave them each a gift of a chocolate selection box.  There were only about ten children there so it was nice, quiet and calm way to meet Santa and it only took 15-20 minutes in total, you have an allocated time slot so not endless queuing so great for little ones and parents!


We weren’t booked on the ice until 5:30pm, we had thought we would have a wander around Spinningfields and the Manchester markets but the weather was horrendous so we took shelter in *cough* All Saints for a new top and then Pret for a coffee before heading back to the rink to “boot up”.  Spinningfields even in the rain was really pretty – the rink is that shiny because its got half an inch of rain water on it which didn’t make a difference to skating on it unless you fell over in which case you got soaked to the skin!


We had an hour of skating and whilst at first glance the queues for boots looked daunting they moved quickly, the skate hire process was straight forward and you could leave bags safely behind the boot counter.  Diva G at 3yo managed OK with a “penguin” for support, Lil H loved it, we’ve been before and he really enjoys it, I am normally pretty good but I was nursing a major birthday celebration hangover and managed an epic fall – think Jane Torvill at the end of Bolero i.e. on her face on the ice!

It was fun, if you want to go be quick Santa’s Storytime is only on for one more weekend on Saturday 15th December 2012 with Storytelling sessions on the hour, 11am to 5pm with the last session at 4pm.  Storytelling tickets are £5 per child.  Ice Skating at Spinningfield continues through until the New Year, a family ticket costs £24 and hiring a penguin £5, we’d recommend water proof trousers or a change of clothes for children if it is or has been raining!

Our verdict – we really enjoyed being in Manchester and the Spiningfields festive market, we loved the lights, the atmosphere and the stalls of food & drink, it was lovely to have a wander around even though the weather was terrible it didn’t dampen our afternoon.  It would have been an expensive few hours had we paid £10 for Santa, £29 for ice skating, £18 for hot dogs and £10 of hot chocolates and £10 for parking – call it £80 but in many ways it was a special way to kick of our Christmas.  Thanks to Spinningfields and Echo PR for inviting us along to visit Santa and have a skate for review purposes.

How do you kick off your festive season?

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