City Buzz: Time to chill as ice skating rink returns to Millennium Square in Leeds today

Bobby Streetly tests the ice at the Ice Cube in Millennium Square, Leeds. Pics: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Bobby Streetly tests the ice at the Ice Cube in Millennium Square, Leeds. Pics: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

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IT WAS cruelly dubbed the ‘People’s Patio’ when it opened back in the nineties.

But Millennium Square will prove it’s the coolest place to be as it welcomes back the popular Ice Cube outdoor skating rink.

Haydn Hunter tests the ice slide.

Haydn Hunter tests the ice slide.

The attraction opens to the public today – but you’ll have to get your skates on, as it will only be here until Sunday, February 21.

Every year thousands of people visit the ice rink, which is organised by Leeds City Council, and this time budding skaters can get lessons from top professionals too.

There will also be an adjoining nursery rink, surrounded by family rides and winter-themed attractions such as the Snowslide, Glacier Run Simulator and a new Ice Palace 3D Experience.

The North Pole Starflyer ride is also returning this year for those of you with a head for heights.

The North Pole Star Flyer is returning to Millennium Square. Pic: Simon Hulme.

The North Pole Star Flyer is returning to Millennium Square. Pic: Simon Hulme.

Tasty treats and snacks will also be available at the Dolomites Café by Casa Mia.

To help create a party atmosphere on launch night, a team from sponsors Capital FM will be at the rink from 6pm this evening to host some of the skating sessions with live DJ sets.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “Ice Cube is one of our most popular events and a chance to try something unique and different right at the heart of the city centre.”

Coun Blake added: “It’s always great to see people enjoying themselves out on the square and we’re very fortunate to have a space where we can host such a varied programme of innovative and exciting events.”

Alongside general public ice skating sessions, there will also be an opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to hone their skating skills under the watchful gaze of expert coaches.

A four-week National Ice Skating Association tuition programme for skating enthusiasts of all levels will be held on a Saturday and Sunday morning by Skate UK qualified skating professionals.

Only a few places are left, so if you want to get involved, call the City Centre Box Office at the Carriageworks Theatre on 0113 224 3801.

A special ‘first steps to skating’ tuition programme for Leeds schoolchildren will also be available during term time for schools to book, as well as a weekly accessible session every Thursday for wheelchair users and the disabled.

It seems like only yesterday we were welcoming Christmas with the Christkindlmarkt and its ever-popular Bavarian drinking hall.

But in the blink of an eye, the festive market has been and gone, and now it’s time for the Ice Cube to take its place.

The past 12 months have been important for Millennium Square.

On top of its annual events, the so-called People’s Patio has also played host to a range of concerts, from Alfie Boe and Union J to Texas and even a Latin festival.

It seems that the city is finally making use of the £12m site that was somewhat dreaded by a small section of the public.

We look forward to seeing what else is in store for 2016.

* Tickets cost £8.50 for adults or £6.50 for children under 12.

For full skating details, prices and skating session times, visit www.leeds.gov.uk/icecube or call 0843 208 1841.

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