I’ve always thought of myself as a bit of a roller skater – and by that I mean I bought a pair of skates at the height of the lockdown, wobbled on them every summer when we’re blessed with a spot of sun, then locked them to the back of my cabinet until the cycle repeats.
So I was delighted to learn that Manchester city center was getting its own roller skating rink, located in the popular food and drink outlet Escape to Freight Island. Ice skating in Manchester city center with food and drink close at hand? It all gets a big thumbs up from me.
So I dug out my skates (the location can supply them too, of course), put on my pastel pink protective padding, and went to see if Good Life Skates could make my 80s roller skating dreams come true.
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The ice rink itself is 8,000 square feet — good enough to make (or stumble) your way through. Escape to Freight Island, located in the old Mayfield Depot next to Warehouse Project, is also a great location choice for the venture – it feels suitably disco-esque and hidden apart from the diners in the space, while also taking advantage of the high ceilings and slightly grungy blank canvas that the Depot provides.
As a disco lover, the music was perfect for me – although I struggle enough to gracefully stand on my own two feet, let alone on wheels. Still, that didn’t stop me from boogieing and singing along for a bit as I made my way around the rink.
Crew members made their way alongside, helping less confident skaters and checking on those who had fallen. They are all experienced skaters with impressive moves – even if you’re not that into skating yourself, they are fascinating to watch and help you feel safer as you go.
Once you’ve skated out, the rink is equipped with a bar where you can order Vimto and Irn Bru slushies, among others, as well as all the usual suspects. You can also order food from Escape to Freight Island, including Voodoo Ray’s Pizza, Burgerism, and Mi & Pho.
I ended the night exhausted but happy, spirits lifted by a boogie and a skate, and full of good food and good vibes. If you’re up for something a little different this summer – and beyond the inevitable rain in Manchester – Good Life Skates is well worth a visit!
Good Life Skates will open to the public on Thursday 2 June.