Christmas Events & Ice Skating with Kids in Newcastle at Life Science Centre - All you need to know

Life Science Centre has confirmed that their ice rink will return this year. Opening on 13 November 2021 until 9 January 2022. This is a brilliant addition to Newcastle's festive scene and I am so pleased to see it return. 

The open air ice rink is open daily from 10am-5pm (recommended last entry 3pm). Ticket prices are as follows: 
  • Family of 4 = £33.50
  • Adult = £11.50 
  • Concession (over 60s/unwaged/students) = £10.50 
  • Child (aged 5-17) = £9 
  • Child (aged 4 and under) = £4
Your ticket allows you 45 minutes on the ice and 15 minutes before your skate to get booted up. Booking in advance is recommended as there are a limited number of tickets available each day however some tickets will be available on a walk up basis. Once these have gone, they have gone, so best to pre-book to avoid disappointment if you can. 

You can find out more and book ice skating online here. 

Winter Lights at Centre for Life 

In addition to ice skating, visitors can also enjoy 'Winter Lights' at Life (bookable separately). This experience runs from 13 November and involves a range of shows including: 

  • Lumiere Light Show 
  • Magical Light Play in the Making Studios 
  • Lantern Trail 
Find out more about Winter Lights at Centre for Life and book here. 

If you wish to visit both, a combo saver ticket is available and includes admission to Winter Lights at Life Science Centre plus Ice Skating. Book a 'Science and Super Skate' combo ticket here.  This works out at better value at £48 per family. Life Science Centre does receive mixed reviews but I think for an extra £15 per family when compared with just ice skating, it is probably worth doing both. Especially as it's an indoor winter activity so suitable for all weathers. 

The rest of this post is from 2018 and information will be out of date. However the photos and review should give you an idea of what to expect.  

We attended the live launch of Newcastle's best outdoor ice rink last weekend and the first 50 through the door were given a free pass to try it out. We are eager beavers so the very next day we popped into Newcastle to give it a whirl.

Ice Skating at Life Science Centre Newcastle - All you need to know

First of all I will say that there's no way you'd get me on the ice. I am not built for ice skating! Heidi and Steve tried the artificial rink at Woodhorn last year and were dying to get on some real ice this year. They're the pro-skaters in our family despite not having much practice - I can't believe this was Heidi's first time on the ice. Here are the rink's opening hours:

If you're looking for a party atmosphere, Friday Night Skates will be accompanied by a live DJ from Newcastle College. All are welcome on Friday evenings but these sessions are most suited at ages 14+. 

You can't book online (except Christmas Eve & New Year's Eve which should be pre-booked) and tickets are purchased from the main reception on arrival. The quietest time to visit is between 2pm - 4pm weekdays. Your ticket includes 45 minutes - 1 hour skating plus Costs are detailed below: 

I would highly recommend upgrading your ticket to visit the Science Centre too. For £15 more per family of 4, I think the combo ticket is well worth it - especially as it includes a ride on the 4D Polar Express ride in the run up to Christmas (you need to be over 1.2m to ride).

Age suitability and information to be aware of

There are a few rules and regulations you will need to follow (see here for full details). The main one to be aware of is that children aged 9 and under need to be accompanied by an adult on the ice and that children aged 10-12 need to have an adult supervising either on the ice or from the viewing area. 

All ages are welcome to skate - ice skates are available from a children's size 8 and bob shoes are available for smaller sizes (they are worn over shoes). I did not know this during our visit but I've read on the Life website that there are a limited number of skating aids available to hire for children aged 7 and under for £5. There should be no more than two under 4's supervised by one adult on the ice. 

Wheelchair users can usually skate too - sometimes due to busy periods there may be a little wait (I'd recommend trying around 2pm on a weekday). Wheelchair users pay the normal price and their carer goes free. Call 0191 243 8223 for more information. 

Ice Skating with kids - our experience

Heidi absolutely loved ice skating and was a real natural. We had to fight to get her off the ice. Harry was one of those who clings onto the side (that would be me) but after a few tips from the ice marshalls, he was able to slowly skate around unaided. He really enjoyed it too. Jack was super wobbly on his feet, he's pleased he tried it but it wasn't for him! Check out my Instagram story video below:

I thought £25 for Steve, Harry, Heidi and Jack really did provide excellent value. We're already making plans to re-visit in February before the rink closes for Spring. 

Spectators can order a festive drink from Life's cafe  - I recommend their hot chocolates and there are seats rink side for you to enjoy the atmosphere or inside if it's a little chilly. The cafe is also perfect for a post-skate drink to warm you through. 

Polar Express 4D Ride at Life Science Centre Newcastle 

If you buy a combo ticket (and I think it's well worth upgrading to), you can ride the 4D Polar Express Ride inside Life Science Centre. The ride is suitable for those taller than 1.2 metres and in good health and plays regularly throughout the day (you'll receive a leaflet with timings on arrival - we visited during opening weekend and it was every 30 minutes). I tried out this ride with Harry and Heidi and we all felt very festive afterwards as we experienced the train journey with our favourite characters, snow and Father Christmas. It only lasts 6 minutes but it's lots of fun and not too scary either. The ride is included with centre admission so you'd be crazy to miss it. 

Christmas Events at Life Science Centre Newcastle

As if Ice Skating and Polar Express rides aren't enough, there's also a fantastic programme of special Christmas events happening at Life this year too. Highlights include a Christmas Cracker Science Session for ages 13+ and Father Christmas in Times Square across various dates. The ice rink is also available to hire for groups or Christmas parties. 

Fun at Life Science Centre

As well as festive fun, you'll find lots of non-festive fun at Life too. We re-visited Dino Jaws which is fab for dinosaur lovers. It was a lot quieter this time around but just as fun. We usually always try and catch a planetarium show (included in admission) but decided to watch a Science Show in the Science theatre his time. We loved it and learned a lot. It was like watching a magic show and entertaining for both young and old. There's also a young explorer's zone, experiment zone, curiosity zone, brain zone and more - all packed with lots of hands-on activities and experiments that all have educational value too. I think we've probably visited Life Science Centre close to 20 times now but we still managed to spend 4 hours here during our last visit. 

You can bring your own packed lunch to Life to keep the costs down (there's a special Packed lunch areas downstairs near reception) but I highly recommend the main restaurant in Life. It's super reasonable. We enjoyed a delicious cooked meal, drink and cake for 5 of us for under £35. 

If you're looking for some festive fun in Newcastle, I really don't think you can go wrong with a trip to Life Science Centre. I think the outdoor ice skating and 4D Polar Express are especially suited for children aged 7+ so perfect for tweens and teens. 

We visited Life Science Centre as part of a festive weekend in NewcastleGateshead. Check out our video below to discover what else we got up to: 


1 comment

  1. Looks like great fun! I haven't been ice skating since my 18th birthday (lets not think about how long ago that was!) and I'd be a bit nervous taking Zoe out there... I might need to find a more confident skater to go with us. lol


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