For the seventh time at Christmas, Derby Market Place welcomes The Derby Cathedral Quarter 3aaa Ice Rink in partnership with Derby LIVE, Derby City Council and Christmas Ice Rinks.
The ice rink attracts around 20,000 visitors from Friday 1st to Sunday 31st December and if you have ever wondered how an ice rink is laid, the company’s Project Manager, Alexandra Kirby explains that it’s a simple process but one that requires specialist knowledge, which is why you’ll see their team of workers preparing the rink over a period of two weeks.
“First of all, because of the water, it’s essential you have a level base, with lots of legs to support that base. The rink is like a giant snooker table, and it has to be firm as well as level. Once that is ready, a waterproof sheet is laid down, and that has to be specially made as it’s covering a 92 by 46 feet area. On top of that we lay the pipes. If you look at the back of your fridge, it’s the same process going on here, just a hell of a lot bigger. You then pour on the water to a depth of four to five inches and here the process is akin to your domestic central heating – just the opposite way round. You get warmth, we get cold – minus 10 to 12°c.”
Derby is fortunate to have Christmas Ice Rinks Ltd as during one recent winter of unseasonable warmth, a few ice rinks around the country had to close for a time. Not so at Derby. Rain can pose a problem with standing water but, as Alexandra points out, the rink is regularly maintained:
“Every couple of sessions, we always get our huge scrapers out to clear the water or the excess frost that is thrown up by the skaters.”
Councillor Amo Raju, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism at Derby City Council, said:
“The Cathedral Quarter 3aaa Christmas Ice Rink has been a great success for the City. Having an ice rink on the Market Place over the festive period is a major draw, attracting thousands of visitors to the centre of Derby. We are very happy to continue working with our fantastic partners to deliver this attraction.”
Martin Langsdale, Chair of the Cathedral Quarter Board and Management Group, which drives forward activities under the area’s BID status, said:
“Over the past few years the ice rink has been one of Derby’s most valuable attractions at Christmas, not only improving visitor experience, but also bringing all important footfall and a boost to the Cathedral Quarter businesses and city economy as a whole.”
Peter Marples joint Owner of 3aaa Apprenticeships said:
“We are delighted to be sponsoring the Ice Rink again this year. The Rink will look great alongside the other Christmas attractions hosted by the city; it’s something local residents love as well as bringing over 20,000 people to the city over the festive period each year.”
Derby Christmas Ice Rink is organising four themed evenings of music and fun on Thursday 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th December from 6.00pm onwards. Prizes will be awarded to the best dressed skater on each session of these evenings. Gem, the official radio station for the event, will be DJ’ing and playing interactive games with the skaters on 7th and 21st December. The themes are music from the 80s, 90s, 00s on 7th December, music from the Star Wars films on 14th December, festive songs for Christmas on 21st December and a magical Disney theme on 28th December. The Christmas Arts and Craft Fair will also be returning to the Market Place from Friday 1st – Saturday 23rd December.
The Derby Cathedral Quarter 3aaa Ice Rink will be open from Friday 1st – Sunday 31st December and tickets are priced from £6.50 – £8.50 with concessions typically available from £4.50-£7.00 to over 60s, under 16s, students, unemployed and disabled people.
Information and tickets are available from the Derby LIVE website or by calling 01332 255800. They can also be purchased at the Sales and Information Centre, Assembly Rooms, Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AH (advance booking is recommended). Tickets also can be purchased at an on-site Ice Rink Box Office when the rink is open.