With Olympic standard facilities and an impressive schedule of live events and concerts, the National Ice Centre (NIC) is so much more than an average ice skating rink. Famed for being the home of ice-skating legends Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean, the rink continues to provide training facilities for rising sports stars, including the GB Speed Skating Squad and the GMB Nottingham Panther ice hockey team.
Live events – some on and some off the ice – take place in the Capital FM Arena, based within the NIC. The event schedule is constantly updated so visit the website to find out what’s on, and to book tickets. Acts range from the classics and crooners of yesteryear to pro-wrestling, Disney On Ice, Strictly Come Dancing and big-name comedians. Structured skating lessons and one-on-one coaching are available to all, but there are plenty of public skating sessions too – usually on the Capital One Ice Rink. Session times vary throughout the week, with particular times suitable for beginners, families, teenagers (Club Night on Fridays and Wednesdays), parents and toddlers, or experienced skaters; a full schedule is available on the website.
There are inclusive sessions too: disabled participants can access the ice in a number of ways. Ice-adapted Zimmer frames are great for those who are on their feet but require support. Manual wheelchair users can take their own chair – or use the one available at the centre – onto the ice. Push-around penguins slide onto the ice with young passengers standing on their tail. The more adventurous, who are able to transfer, can self-propel using small hockey stick-style devices, on the ice hockey sleds. The family inclusion session is at 12–12.45pm most Sundays and has coaches and stewards on hand to assist – it is a very popular session and needs to be booked in advance. Ask at Customer Services to be added to the inclusion email distribution list.
Every effort has been made to provide a first-class experience for everyone – whether participating or spectating – and most staff have had access awareness training. Approximately ten disabled parking bays are available on Dean Street near the entrance. Wheelchair users should use the doors on Bolero Square or the lift from Lower Parliament Square. Inside there are accessible toilets – including the excellent Changing Places accessible changing and washing facility, lifts to all floors and wide walkways. Manual wheelchairs can be borrowed. Assistance dogs are welcome, but it is best to inform the venue in advance of their arrival, not least so that they can give advice on the noise levels in the centre. All leaflets can be ordered in large print on 0843 3733000 – this is also the number to call if you have questions about accessibility. Skaters should remember to wear warm clothes and bring comfortable socks and gloves.
Food & drink: The T&D café bar overlooks the public ice rink on level 2. It offers good-quality hot and cold food and is a decent place to escape from the cold and crowds below. The café has a range of seating styles and plenty of room to move around. Takeaway burgers and hot dogs are available from Icebreakers, elsewhere in the venue.