It’s not often we’ve been out over the last couple of years, but I when there’s the option for eating out, N is easily persuaded.  This time he had a high street voucher and decided he wanted to spend it in Ask Italian. Our nearest one is in Oxford, so we decided we’d visit for the day.  We’ve done most of the suitable activities for children in Oxford, but this time I suggested we try ice skating.

N was really keen to try it, although he was a little worried. He thought he’d spend more time falling over than skating.  But he decided an hour skating then lunch, would make it a good day out.

I’d booked the skating in advance, but we needn’t have done so, as most people just paid when they arrived. Needless to say we arrived in Oxford really earlier before our session time, so we went for a bit of a wander around first. 

1st time ice skating and day out in oxford

It’s always a great view from the roof of the Westgate shopping centre, so we enjoyed wandering about there and getting some photos. N was surprised – he’d not realised there was a cinema there, and the green middle areas was empty of any temporary displays or stands. I don’t think we’ve seen it with nothing in before.

We walked through the back streets to get to the ice skating area, chatting away.

rooftop restaurant garden
view over dreaming spires of oxford from westgate rooftop
walking along the rooftop walkway through arches

First ice skating experience

I’m not sure what N was expecting of Oxford ice rink. He’s only been skating once before, when he was about 4. I say he went ice skating, but really I skated and pushed him around while he sat on a seal skate aid because he refused to stant on the ice. 

I think he was surprised by how big the rink was, but also was interested to see the seating pushed back at the sides, the ice vehicle that goes out to smooth the ice. And he had a comment on everything else he saw there too.

It was a relief that my ice skates were lace up – they’re always so much more comfy than the horrible hard plastic clip ones. N wasn’t impressed with his, but doubling up on socks worked fine. Neither of us ended up with blisters or sore feet which is always good.

All I could think was how much harder ice skating is than I remembered.  I did a lot of roller skating around our estate when I was a child, and was ok on ice skates, but it takes a bit of adjustment with my previous proper skating experience over 18 years ago. N thought it was funny that his dad and I went ice skating at the same rink all that time ago.

N wasn’t too sure at first. There was a lot of ‘Bambi’ legs, and pulling himself along by the wall. Never the easiest way to learn to skate.

Eventually I got him off the wall with one hand, and holding on to my hand instead. It was a bit busy for him to always cling to the wall which was better for him to learn.

Considering the skating action should be like a scooter (or balance bike) ‘scooting’ with the back foot, rather than stepping onto the front, he couldn’t really grasp that. In the end I just let him work it out. 

Let’s just say he’s not a natural skater. But he had a blast, and said apart from it being a bit scary at the thought of falling over a lot, it was so much fun.

He took a lot of breaks when the gates came up, while I carried on and did a lap before he got back on the ice again.  I think it did him good to see slightly older (and younger) children just having no fear, and falling over a lot. One boy seemed to go from one fall to the next, but he was straight back up again.

We even saw a young man propose to his girlfriend in the centre of the ice. Awww sweet.

N got his speed up to about 2 ½ minutes per lap, still holding on at intervals, and still a bit cautious.  He did have one fall but was straight back up.  And I managed to hold him up on another occasion without tipping myself over too.  

view across the ice rink in oxford

We didn’t quite stay on the ice an hour. But straight after getting off, as he was removing his ice skates, N was already deciding when we could go again.  Sounds like we’ll need to have an Easter holiday trip.  

Oxford ice rink isn’t the flashiest – are any of them? I don’t think I’ve been to one that’s not really old and a bit shabby. But it does the job and provides a lot of laughs and fun. As well as a bit of exercise.  I obviously didn’t get the chance to skate very hard as I had no aches the next day.

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