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THERE’S noth­ing like hav­ing a skate on the ice to get you in the fes­tive spirit and there are plenty of places you can give it a whirl in Manch­ester this Christ­mas.

If you’ve got kids, that’s OK. Some of the rinks are of­fer­ing spe­cial fam­ily ses­sions to take the lit­tle ones along to - with pen­guins to keep them steady as they make their way round. Manch­ester Christ­mas Mar­kets, Cathe­dral Gar­dens

The rink forms part of this year’s muchan­tic­i­pated Ice Vil­lage, which has brought an Ice Cav­ern, Santa’s grotto and more to Cathe­dral Gar­dens.

The rink is open now, with 45-minute ses­sions run­ning daily from 11am to 8pm. Tick­ets cost £11 for adults, £9 for chil­dren (aged four to 16), or £35 for a fam­ily. There’s a 45p book­ing fee per ticket. Any­one un­der 12 must be ac­com­pa­nied on the rink by some­one over 18. Manch­ester Ice Rink at First Street

Manch­ester’s First Street de­vel­op­ment is home to an out­door ice rink again this win­ter, as well as a se­ries of pop-up mar­kets.

The ice rink used to be a reg­u­lar at Spin­ning­fields, tak­ing a brief stint at Lon­don Road Fire Sta­tion be­fore mov­ing to First Street last year.

The 15m by 20m rink is open now and will be there un­til Jan­uary 6, in the square out­side HOME the­atre, which is screen­ing clas­sic Christ­mas films and host­ing fam­ily the­atre shows through­out the fes­tive sea­son.

The pop-up mar­ket stalls will be sell­ing ev­ery­thing from jew­ellery to Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions, arts and crafts to food.

The rink is open ev­ery week­day from 3pm, with fi­nal ses­sions at 8pm. At week­ends it is open from 10am on­wards.

Tick­ets are £13 for adults and £11 for chil­dren un­der 12 and avail­able through manch­es­, or you can call 0161 820 9718 to book your spot. Pen­guins or seal skat­ing aids are free and avail­able on a first come, first served ba­sis for kids up to the age of eight. Win­ter Fun­land, Event City, Traf­ford

An ice rink will form part of the en­ter­tain­ment at Win­ter Fun­land this Christ­mas. The fes­tive ex­trav­a­ganza is com­ing to Even­tCity in Traf­ford be­tween De­cem­ber 7 and Jan­uary 1.

Or­gan­is­ers say the new-look ‘im­mer­sive event’ will play host to ‘the UK’s largest in­door theme park’ and will fea­ture fair­ground at­trac­tions in­clud­ing waltzers, a Hel­ter Skel­ter and an or­nate Vic­to­rian Carousel.

With rides, en­ter­tain­ment, an ice rink and a new 1,000-seater au­di­to­rium, there’ll be live shows from a line-up in­clud­ing CBBC star Andy Day with his Odd Socks band, per­for­mances from Frozen, and a fes­ti­val cir­cus. There will also be rides out­side, too.

Fam­i­lies book on a four-hour ses­sion at the event - there are two each day - and can book time on the ice rink on ar­rival. There’ll be pen­guin skate aids for chil­dren who need a help­ing hand.

Tick­ets cost £22.50 each, plus book­ing fee and can be booked on­line. A fam­ily ticket costs £85. Un­der-threes go free. Planet Ice, Al­trin­cham

If it’s in­door skat­ing you’re af­ter then you could al­ways head to Planet Ice in Al­trin­cham.

The re­branded Sil­ver Blades is host­ing loads of Christ­mas events this year, in­clud­ing skat­ing with Santa ses­sions.

Kids get to meet Santa in his grotto first be­fore hav­ing an af­ter­noon of fun on the ice with the big man and his elves, while singing along to all the Christ­mas clas­sics.

All chil­dren must be ac­com­pa­nied by at least one par­ent or guardian who can at­tend the ‘Skate With Santa’ for free as a spec­ta­tor, or can get a pass if they want to skate.

Ses­sions are run­ning ev­ery week­end in De­cem­ber and then ev­ery day from Fri­day, De­cem­ber 21 un­til Christ­mas Eve, from noon un­til 4pm. They cost from £13 and can be booked on­line. Bolton Win­ter Fes­ti­val

A cov­ered ice rink once again forms part of Bolton’s Win­ter Fes­ti­val.

The town cen­tre’s Vic­to­ria Square is host­ing a cov­ered rink so that fam­i­lies can skate what­ever the weather. With enough room for 180 skaters, it will host the pop­u­lar par­ent and child Pen­guin Club for kids un­der eight.

The fes­ti­val starts on Sat­ur­day, De­cem­ber 8 and will be open daily un­til Sun­day, Jan­uary 6, ex­cept Christ­mas Day and New Year’s Day. Open­ing hours are 9am to 8.30pm, although some times vary and there may be pri­vate book­ings so check when book­ing.

Pen­guin Club runs from 9am to 10am at week­ends, plus daily from De­cem­ber 20 to Jan­uary 6, ex­clud­ing the days it’s closed.

Ice skat­ing will cost £4 for chil­dren, £7.50 for adults and £21 for a fam­ily ticket. The Pen­guin Club costs £3.50.

Snow­man and pen­guin skat­ing aids cost £2 each.

This year’s fes­ti­val is just one of many fun-packed events tak­ing place in Bolton over the Christ­mas pe­riod. For more de­tails on the fes­ti­val visit www. bolton­win­ter­fes­ti­ to buy tick­ets, or buy them on the day from the box of­fice in Vic­to­ria Square. For more fam­ily con­tent fol­low Manch­ester Fam­ily on Face­book at www. face­ fam­i­ly­manch­ester or on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram @ fam­i­ly­manc.

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