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Review: Ice Village

The Ice Village is both one of Manchester’s hottest and coldest attractions at Christmas time. Billed as “a frozen realm full of mythical beasts and royal regalia,” it has returned to Manchester for a second ‘fantastical’ year. New this year is a fun ice slide in the ice cavern and the Ice Tiki Bar (for which you have to buy a separate ticket).

Photo: Gary Brown.

In 2018, the ice village took visitors on a journey to Santa’s frozen toy factory. This year, the hand-carved sculptors are part of “a distant realm of ice and snow, inhabited by legendary ice beasts, including a unicorn, a griffin and a massive dragon bathed in fire-red light. These mythical creatures guard the entrance to a frozen castle, its battlements and turrets all built from solid blocks of ice.” Game of Thrones meets Frozen?

Photo: Gary Brown.

Before entering the Ice Village, we were given bright blue ponchos to keep us comfortable and warm. They didn’t really help, and the buttons were constantly popping open, but they were a nice novelty. They’ll either make you feel like Christine Daaé From The Phantom of the Opera or Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notredame. Whilst I prefer to think of myself as the former, I probably looked more like the latter, but it was all fun!

We encountered a frozen Prince and Princess, had a chance to take a regal #iceselfie, ride a Royal Carriage, and even slide down an ice slide! Tip: use the poncho they give you as a mat to lie upon, and you will glide down effortlessly.

Photo: Gary Brown.

Included in the ticket price of the Ice Tiki Bar, billed as ‘a frozen slice of the South Pacific’, is one of three cocktails or a mocktail. Although I might have preferred a hot chocolate in temperatures of -10°C, the cocktails were yummy. Even the glasses they come in are made of ice! The bar features Easter Island ‘Moai’ ice statues, allowing for some good photo ops. It has a real ‘Polynesian Christmas party’ ambience. A tropical and chilled ice paradise – it’s literally Manchester’s coolest bar.

Photo: Gary Brown.

The Ice Cavern deserves most of your awe, though. The hand-crafted ice sculptures are absolutely incredible. The amount of detail that goes into each one is mind-blowing. They must have taken an insane amount of time, energy and focus to create. Walking through the cavern, passing (and posing with) mythical beasts was enchanting, even more so when we reached the Royal Palace. Ana and I had a full-on photoshoot before we made a couple of trips down the ice slide. (Ana needed two attempts to get it right, but I’ve realised that whilst I suck at many things, I am an actual pro at sliding).

Photo: Gary Brown.

The Ice Village is open daily from 11am to 9pm– except Christmas Day – from 8th November 2019 until 5th January 2020. This semester is coming to an end very shortly, so if you only have the time (and energy) to do a few things before you go back home, I strongly recommend making a trip to Ice Village!

Tags: art, Bar, Christmas, cocktail, Cocktails, Ice Village, Manchester, sculptures, statues, Tiki Bar, Xmas

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. BBC logger. Politics and IR Student. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Snapchat: theonlywayisjam. To write for theatre, email [email protected]
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