Royal ice-rink hailed Christmas success

SUE SKINNER A new seasonal attraction at Norfolk's royal estate was hailed a “phenomenal” success last night.

SUE SKINNER

A new seasonal attraction at Norfolk's royal estate was hailed a “phenomenal” success last night.

A custom-built ice rink which opened next to the visitor centre at Sandringham in early December has proved to be a huge draw over the Christmas and New Year period.

It could well be set up again for the festive period this year.

“We are delighted with how it has gone - surprised but delighted,” said the estate's public-enterprises manager, Helen Walch.

“It's been phenomenal. I think by the time we close we will have seen something like 15,000 people on the ice - we are up to 13,500 already. It really is amazing.

Most Read

“We simply didn't realise it was going to be so popular.

“We were literally sold out for two weeks solid before Christmas and up to New Year, which with hindsight means a lot of people were disappointed.”

Miss Walch said discussions would be held after the attraction closed on Sunday to decide whether it would return next Christmas, perhaps with a larger rink in view of its popularity.

“We had bookings from Chester, Hartlepool and Milton Keynes and a lot of Londoners,” she said.

“Obviously a lot of them were coming to stay with family but they have heard about it up and down the country.

“There are no rinks at all in this kind of setting,” said Miss Walch.

“All the other ones are in city centres and in among buildings.”

The rink had to close on two days because of unseasonally high temperatures and for another half day because of torrential rain.

Miss Walch said: “There have been some accidents and we always knew there would be.

“Obviously those people haven't enjoyed themselves and I am really sorry, but the overwhelming majority have loved it.”

The Queen and other members of the Royal Family have been spending their traditional Christmas and New Year holiday at Sandringham House but it was unclear last night whether any of them had taken a turn on the ice.