‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ I heard Andy Williams sing as I wobbled around the Bluewater Winter Wonderland ice rink on my blue hire skates. I seriously thought I’d be better than this BUT I didn’t fall over. I wobbled, I reeled and I waved my arms madly at one point but I did not go down.
That was how we spent Sunday morning this week, at Bluewater Winter Wonderland, the annual fun event situated in Bluewater shopping centre just off the A2. We had been invited along to test run the fun and we put our heart and soul into the job.
Bluewater Winter Wonderland opening times
Winter Wonderland opens at 10am and we had our ice skating booked for that time but as traffic can be very heavy getting into Bluewater on the run up to Christmas, we left early and sailed into the car park with bags of time to spare. This is not a problem as there are plenty of coffee shops open, of course lots of other families have the same idea so a queue starts to form at the shutters into the Grand Hall.
At 9.55 the shutters went up and everyone made their way to their first attraction. If you have a 10 am appointment to see Santa in his grotto you are ushered in through a side door from 9.45 onwards so as to be able to meet Santa at 10am.
Opening times can vary as can closing times so please do check the link above for exact timings on different dates.
Bluewater Winter Wonderland ice skating rink
Our first activity of the day was ice skating and the twins were very excited as we haven’t been before. Everyone queues at the entrance to the rink, tickets are checked and you make your way over to the boot hire desk leaving your shoes in the place of the hired boots included in your ticket.
Penguins are available for hire at £5 and we got one each for the girls. Each child is given a wristband with the penguin’s number on it. This avoids confusion on the rink as to whose penguin is whose. It worked a treat as it gave them confidence to move slowly around the ice, gaining speed and improving their skating too. By half way through the hour both had let go of the penguins but after a fall they gladly used them again. By the end of the hour the penguins were no longer needed and we gave them back to the hire shop. Both girls are saying they won’t need them next time but my feeling is they will.
The ice skating proved to be an enormous hit and I am sure they will want to go again. Family tickets are around £35 – 40 depending on the time and day.
The snow slide is a 40 foot white slide. You take a large blown up tyre/donut with you to sit in, younger children can come down with an adult. The ride costs 3 tokens for 2 rides. Tokens can be bought on site (one token costs £1). The girls (and dad) loved it and we went back for a second go before leaving.
Giant bungee trampoline
A huge favourite with the twins and costs 5 tokens. The girls loved jumping and learnt to do back flips and front flips. I must admit it seemed they’d only been on minutes when their turn had finished and I couldn’t see anywhere how much time you got for your tokens.
A huge blow up construction with stairs to one side and a sheer drop slide followed by a couple of bumps. The girls loved it but Bessie did get scared when she was a bit too eager and ‘flew’ rather than slid the first part.
Classic dodgem cars, the girls were allowed to ride their own dodgem and enjoyed the bumps however, Alice at one point got hit two or three times in succession and came off in tears as she’d bumped her head with all the bumping around. It can get a bit rowdy.
This is what I would call a preschooler’s carousel however my two wanted to have a go and we let them.
It is a lot of fun, I would have a plan of action and fixed tokens per child before you go in, it’s all so exciting they will want to go on everything. There is a bar and toilets on site and plenty of other amusements to try out.
Keep in mind that an hour’s ice skating is hard work, the girls were getting very hot and sweaty, fortunately I had dressed them in layers which were easy to take off to keep them cool. Also worth noting, no phones are allowed on the ice in case you drop them as of course the glass shatters and will need clearing up. I was also asked to leave my bag in the cloakroom for the cost of £1 as it was considered too big.
We had a great time and after a couple of hours had had enough. The girls were tired and we took them to eat in Bluewater where there are lots of different restaurants for all tastes and budgets.
Disclosure: We were given a family ticket for the ice rink and VIP wristbands for the purpose of this post.