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Monday, 20 February 2017

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018


*This is a collaborative post

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 was a FREE family event. Featuring a trail of 10 ice sculptures based around myths and legends and ending with two spectacular finales. We headed along on Saturday afternoon to take part.

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips


Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Good Points


I have not taken my children to Durham before and the free trail was a fantastic way for us to get to know the city whilst having fun. The kids loved walking around looking for the fire beacons above their heads and ticking off the 10 sculptures from our trail map (available from one of the many staff). The throne was our favourite sculpture and H & J loved taking a seat and pretending they were the ice King/Queen. 

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - Jack on the Ice Throne High Street
Jack in the Ice Throne
I also loved that it was something the whole family could take part in - my mam and her husband work shifts and it is a very rare that we can all go out together - as they both had a day off, it was free and something I thought they'd also enjoy, the came along too and it was nice to spend some time with them. 
Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - checking the trail map
Checking out the Fire and Ice Map
Harry enjoyed trying the sword challenge - if you were able to pull the sword from the stone, you'd win £40 worth of vouchers. He wasn't lucky this time but it's the taking part that counts right?

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - trying to remove the sword from the ice stone
Harry removing the Sword from the Stone

We also loved peering through the Dragon's mouth and watching the ice sculptures in action - how fantastic is Tinkerbell?

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - through the dragon's mouth

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - ice sculpture of tinkerbell

Finally, we watched the 5:15pm finale which was aimed at younger children and we loved it as we danced along to our favourite songs whilst watching the water fountains dance in front of us and jets of fire shooting up from the ground. Check out our Facebook live stream below:



Considering this was all COMPLETELY FREE we think the event was superb and would highly recommend a visit. We loved exploring Durham and I don't think we would have visited the City and explored on foot like this had it not have been for this special event. 

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - Durham cathedral from river

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - Durham castle from river

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - market hall light hall

Fire and Ice Durham | Disappointments


I feel a little bad stating some bad points as this event was FREE after all but I'm always honest in my reviews so here we go:

The kids were looking forward to the chocolate bar melt, this was not available on Saturday as it had been completed on Friday - next year I would suggest they make one for each day. We wasted 20 minutes searching for it before we found out it wasn't available today.

H, H and J were keen to have a go at sculpting themselves and joined the queue. The queue was too long though and we stood in it for 7 minutes and the same girl was still sculpting - there were 20+ children in front of us so if everyone took the same length of time, it would have taken us over 2 hours to get to the front. We did not fancy queuing for this length of time so did not bother waiting. Next year I would love to see more chances to join in or free timed tickets given out so children didn't have to queue.

We started the trail at 2pm - we thought that 3 hours would be the perfect amount of time to view the sculptures and have a nice coffee before the finale at 5:15pm. Unfortunately, most of the sculptures had started to melt quite a bit and certainly weren't as detailed as expected. One of the stewards told us not to bother heading to Durham Cathedral as that sculpture had collapsed. Apparantly, the high winds had caused the sculptures to melt ahead of time which I suppose can't be helped but we were still disappointed.

Here are some photographs from My Boys Club who visited on Friday. Look at the fantastic detail:

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - Ice sculptures My Boys Club
Credit | My Boys Club

Then compare this to my photographs which clearly show how melted the sculptures were:

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - melted King Arthur

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - melted ice sculpture

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - melted lampton worm

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - melted ice mermaid

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - melted hydra

Despite our disappointments though, we still had a really great day. Jack (6) rated the day 1000000/10, Harry 5/10 (he was really looking forward to the chocolate bar challenge) and Heidi (7) gave it 10/10. I would also give the day a solid 9/10. I think it was well organised and a lovely way to explore Durham.  The finale was also spectacular and really entertained us grown ups and kids. The atmosphere was fantastic and there were fire jugglers entertaining the crowd in the build up.


Our Top Tips for Visiting Durham


One of the reasons I've always been put off visiting Durham is the whole parking situation. We decided to use Belmont Park and Ride though which was super easy. It is just off to A1 (Southbound) at Junction 62 (turn left at the roundabout and follow the signs for park and ride). It was super efficient and only £2 return for adults and kids were free so it was a real bargain. Buses are every 10 minutes and drop you right by Market Place and collect from outside the Gala theatre. It was so easy to use and I'd recommend.

If you're planning on visiting Durham a few times throughout the year, I would recommend buying an InDurham Loyalty Card. They cost £5 for 12 months worth of discounts including 30% off food at Bella Italia or 20% off food at Bills.

We really fancied Fish and Chips and I would definitely recommend Bells Fish and Chip Restaurant. We managed to score a table right by the window and it's a fab spot for people watching. The fish and chips were beautiful too - the best I've had that haven't been by the sea. Kids were well looked after with Instagram props, word searches and puzzles and the staff were lovely. It was £56 for 3 adult meals, 3 kids meals (inc ice cream) plus drinks and all the trimmings which considering the quality, service and location, I think was very good indeed. They were also running a special Fire and Ice menu which my Step Dad tried and enjoyed.

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - Fire and Ice Menu at Bells Fish and Chip Restaurant

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - kids menu Bells Fish and Chip restaurant

Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | Photographs & Top Tips for 2018 - Fish and Chips from Bells Fish and Chips

We spent 4 hours in Durham and really had a lovely afternoon. It helped that the weather was on side! We enjoyed our day so much that we've already planned a return visit with Steve next month to see more of Durham and the Cathedral.

Fire and Ice has ended now (it was just a 2 day event) but I do hope to see it return in 2018. Fingers crossed!


Let me know if you visited Fire and Ice this year and your thoughts. 



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Fire and Ice Durham 2017 | A FREE Family Event on 24th & 25th February


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10 comments

  1. Thanks! Didnt know about this until now!

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  2. I've only just found out about it as well

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  3. This looks awesome! They need to get more bloggers involved in future - if it wasn't for this I wouldn't have known about it! If I had known earlier on we would have gone.

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  4. We decided to go on Friday after seeing your original post about it. Growing up near to Durham, I decided to drive in as I know all the little nooks and crannies to park my car, but it was horrendous! There were so many roadworks, all the junctions were jammed and after 1hr of trying to get parked (incl. Prince Bishop's multi-storey which was operating a 1 in/ 1 out method) I admitted defeat and just went to visit my parents who live in Washington! In hindsight I should have taken the park and ride like you, but I didn't expect it to be so busy. A lesson for next time! I'm glad you had such a lovely day, it looked great fun!

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  5. Looks like great fun! We have been so busy that we just didn't get down? I love Durham though! and want to do the botanical gardens soon as weather improves

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  6. thanks for the tip about the voucher

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  7. This looks such a great event - how fun to explore the city with the trail, and even better when it's free. I suspect my daughter would have sat in that ice throne, announced she was Elsa and stayed put until her bum was numb :) Hopefully they can sort some of the teething problems for next time.

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  8. This looks like a fab place to go with kids. Thanks for the tip re: voucher!

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  9. What a great idea for an event, it looks like it could be great fun with kids. It's a shame the sculptures started melting too early, but I'm glad you still had a good experience

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  10. What an awesome event - really love it! Watched ice sculpting on a cruise once (the ship's dentist's hobby!) It's so cool (excuse the pun). Love your photos.

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I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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