Breaking the Ice: A Review of Queens Ice Skating Rink

You’re in for a treat today, as am I! Today, we have a guest post on Catherine’s Corner from a 10/10 gal – Abbie Edwards

In search of a therapeutic hobby among the hustle and bustle of the big smoke, I decided to learn to ice skate.

I’ve been three times in my life. I like to imagine on my first trip at Solihull ice skating rink, when just over 10 years old I actually resembled something that you could call elegant. On reflection, I doubt it. So why on earth would I try ice skating now?

Jealousy. The green-eyed monster reared its ugly head for me when attempting skating with my partner a year ago at the Canary Wharf rink. This rink appears seasonally but unfortunately didn’t reopen in 2019. Having agreed in December 2018 it appeared to be an ideal date night activity we hit the ice, literally, slipping and sliding all over the shop.

Whilst hopelessly grasping the side of the rink and my partner’s hand – I saw her.

I must admit, I have no current hobbies aside from coming home from work, Netflix, reading and napping. Anyone who lives here knows living here can be rewarding yet stressful, even worse I live on the district line, so many will know my daily commuting frustration. Fun fact, in 2018 the District Line had 198 delays, amounting to 17% of all delays on the Underground, resulting in a loss of 2,472,762 “customer” hours. Ice skating seemed the perfect escape from this frequent disappointment.

So, I did what any quintessentially British person would do, procrastinate for approximately a year and then go ice skating again at the Natural History Museum and that’s where I found my second HER. My apologies to the men who ice skate, I’m sure there are many of you but in my limited visits to public rinks, it was always a woman who glided along the ice so beautifully, even backwards (mad!). She stood in stark contrast to the woman who had gone on the ice with her boyfriend just to take selfies and photos of each other – not me before you question. But why bother paying for quite a pricey ticket to not even go around in a circle once and pretend to your 87 Instagram followers you can ice skate?

Re-energised and in haste to beat procrastinating once again I had a quick Google and found Queens Ice Skating Rink. After having a brief review, I opted for group lessons. Bambi-ing on the ice with complete strangers?! I hear you internally scream, it’s really not as bad as you might think!

So, let’s break down the key details:

  • It’s £16 a lesson (this includes skate hire)
  • This is strictly over 18s
  • Adult group ice-skating lessons take place on a Monday / Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning.
  • Since my previous lesson they have now reduced lessons to 30 minutes as opposed to an hour

The day of my first lesson arrived and I was nervous to say the least. I walked in and discovered that the front desk staff were less than helpful. I went up said I was here for ice-skating to which they presented me with a paper wrist band and then resumed what they were doing. I mean, point a girl in the right direction will ya?

I grabbed some skates, just so you know there is a £1 locker charge, and sat and waited, even though I had said to a few staff members it was my first-time skating, I was still in the dark about how it all worked. I walked up to another “coach” and asked again, where was I going and what the heck I was doing and they told me to wait and we would be sorted into groups. I sat down, to watch a young woman being rushed in with an ankle injury. It was at this moment I nervously text my partner and friends seeking reassurance that I was going to have fun and to question if I was I slightly out of my accident-prone mind? Likely.

Anyway, spoilers on the “sit and wait and you’ll be sorted into groups part”, we weren’t… we were told to warm up on the ice and after 10 minutes of going around in a circle suddenly there were cones on the rink dividing it into three, I figured at this point I had to pick what group I was in as opposed to someone telling me. Was I needing to go from the basics of just moving on the ice or did I think I was better than that? Ever cocky, I went for the middle group after assessing I was perhaps better off than some of the people who had quite clearly never skated before.

I made the right choice, but to be fair, I shouldn’t have had to make that split-second decision because I didn’t exactly know what was going on. The good news is a few other people didn’t know what was going on and it made for a fairly pleasant bonding exercise – who knew? I suppose the only time Londoners actually bother to talk to each other is when they’re confused, that’s not a myth by the way. I can confirm that the standard Londoner is anti-social, awkward and is probably annoyed that you won’t take off your backpack whilst on a crowded Jubilee line.

In all credit to Queens, they have some great coaches who are patient with you and take the time to show you the moves, give you an opportunity to try them and then give you pointers when you struggle even though you’re in a group of 10 – 20 people. I went in December time; I am unsure how busy these lessons are in the summer. The aim of the game is you move groups when you feel you are ready to and, apparently in six weeks, you’ll be doing all kinds of tricks on the ice! Watching the top group I am not sure if I’ll even be able to achieve some of the moves on the ice they were doing, although I am sure they started exactly where I did. Our coach did say that one day some random people got on the ice and just started sliding around, and ice skating was born, no one gets on the ice for the first time and effortlessly glides on, you have to work at it.

If you’re thinking about ice skating, as much as I bemoaned the experience prior, it’s pretty great, and even though you’re learning something new it’s really quite relaxing unless you fall, but hey don’t look at it like that! The coaches are there to teach you how not to fall and if you do they’ll pick you back up for sure.

Suffice to say I haven’t yet returned for round two, is that down to the class itself?! No, not at all, and I’m really looking forward to getting back on track. I can confirm my non-return so far has been down to the Christmas period and also laziness on my part, but thankfully they offer flexibility with lessons.

A guy asked if I wanted to use his ice rink for a £1….

…. what a cheap skate.

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