Cardiffâ€™s Winter Wonderland, the capitalâ€™s festive focal point is high, wide and handsome this year with a new ride attraction that will provide the best ever views over south Wales and beyond, the biggest site in the eventâ€™s history, and the return of the undercover open air Admiral Ice Rink November 15 to January 6 (tickets on sale now at cardiffswinterwonderland.com).
The new Drop Tower takes riders a breath taking 90m into the skies, dwarfing all other buildings in Cardiff, and offering terrific views over the city, before dropping them vertically at startling speed to land back on safe ground. Here they can enjoy skating in the dry, numerous fairground rides throughout the expanded site, and all the food and drink on offer in the authentic Alpine Village. This year that includes sweet and savoury crÃªpes, a variety of traditional sweet treats including a fire pit for toasting marshmallows, a converted tram serving grilled sausage and burgers, plus a double decker â€˜Sur La Pisteâ€™ French ski lodge themed bar complete with ski gondolas, bringing aprÃ¨s-ski to the heart of the city.
Norman George Sayers, operator of Cardiffâ€™s Winter Wonderland said: â€œEach year we look to introduce exciting new elements to improve the visitor experience at Winter Wonderland, and I think these thrilling new features and enhanced hospitality for 2018 will make it even more popular with the 250,000 plus audience we expect â€“ but with my head for heights, you wonâ€™t find me up the Tower this season!â€
The Admiral Ice Rink boasts a sparkling, starlit clear span roof which means no sessions are lost to the weather, and it can be enjoyed to the full by the anticipated 60,000 plus skaters.
Last year Cardiff also became the first outdoor rink in the UK to receive Access Accreditation, allowing even more wheelchair users onto the rink. Winter Wonderland also provides popular Penguins that can be pre-booked for toddlers who need a little extra support on the ice.
John Davies of ice rink operator 11th Hour said: â€œIn 2017 we were the first outdoor ice rink in the country to get Access Accreditation, and were delighted to welcome wheelchair users and those requiring additional support to experience the thrill, excitement and enjoyment of outdoor skating in Cardiff. We hope that even more will come along when we open in November.â€
Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury said:
“Christmas in Cardiff is a magical experience for residents and visitors alike with the Welsh capital providing a fantastic programme of events for the festive season. Celebrations begin as the city Steps Into Christmas on Thursday 15th November, also marking the opening of Cardiffâ€™s Winter Wonderland and the Admiral Ice Rink. Families and people of all ages can enjoy the festive atmosphere and the new Drop Tower attraction offers unique views of the city at this special time of the year. Together with Christmas markets, shopping and some wonderful entertainment, it ensures there is something to get everyone into Cardiffâ€™s festive spirit this year.”
After the designated charity NSPCC Cymru raised Â£5,708 for their Light Up Christmas for Children Campaign and Childline last year, the charity will once again feature very prominently on site. Nigel Impey, the head of fundraising for NSPCC Cymru, said:
â€œWe are delighted to be a part of Cardiffâ€™s Winter Wonderland once again and we are looking forward to this special time in the cityâ€™s calendar. Last year at the event we raised more than Â£5,700 to help our fight for every childhood. Every penny raised helps us in our work to keep children safe, including our Childline service and the special assemblies we run in hundreds of schools across Wales.â€
Capital FM, South Walesâ€™Â No.1 Hit Music Station is media partner, and Cardiffâ€™s Winter Wonderland is available for school and group bookings, along with Christmas parties.