Here's a fun Manchester fact: it's one of the most nicknamed cities in all of the UK.
Manchester has a grand total of seven nicknames, some of which reflect its industrial past and others that point to its music and entertainment industry roots.
Neighbouring Birmingham lays claim to six alternate names while Leeds and Glasgow each enjoy five. All of these nicknames put London's paltry two to shame! And then, there's Bradford. With its eight nicknames - one of which derives from a Manchester nickname, this city takes the nickname cake.
But Manchester takes the fun cake.
In our skate through the country to find the best places to roller skate, we were astounded at the number of places people could go to get their skate on in Manchester.
We highlight a selection of them now and, for a twist, we'll use each of Manchester's nicknames throughout.
Rollerskating at Nevada Roller Rink
The Rainy City has an unfair reputation of being sodden; perhaps that's why this city boasts a lot of indoor skating rinks - as opposed to the Brighton skating scene, whose venues are all outdoors.
To be fair, Manchester does get a lot of rain but not as much as some other UK cities. Still, it's nice to know that, rain or shine, avid skaters can head to the Nevada Roller Rink, whose classic hardwood floor harkens back to the heyday of skating.
Nevada is family-friendly and one aspect that makes it stand out is street shoes are allowed in the rink.
That sounds odd, considering that people go to a skating rink to put on roller skates and roll around the floor, right? Just wait till you hear their reason for allowing trainers on their glossy maple floor...
Aware that not every young skater is sure on their wheels and confident they can make the rounds, Nevada allows caregivers on the floor to steady them until they can get the hang of skating... after which, the adults can head upstairs to the lounge to watch all the fun below.
In days gone by, roller rink birthday parties had a certain cachet, a sense of prestige you can recapture at Nevada. The cost for such events is low; only £10 per child, which covers both the skate hire and food.
Nevada is located in the Burnden Sports Centre on Croft Lane in Bolton. Note that they are closed during this health crisis, they will resume operation once the current restrictions are lifted.
The Skate Station
Warehouse City is known for its massive architecture; the storage depots constructed around the heart of Manchester during its 19th Century industrial boom helped to define the city. You can still see remnants of these buildings on the way into City Centre.
That's not the only place to find them, though. Of Manchester's outlying areas, Ashton-under-Lyne took on its share of the milling industry and still has the architecture to prove it.
Ashton also has one of the funkiest rollerskating venues we've seen to date.
The Skate Station is family-run, making it particularly family-friendly. Wednesday through Sunday, you can bring the whole brood to practise their spins, crossovers and dance moves. We did say that the Skate Station is one of the funkiest, didn't we? Their sound system is fabulous and they always play the greatest jams.
If you have your own roller skates, feel free to bring them but, if not, you may rent them there; they carry a wide range of sizes for children and adults. What if you don't feel like skating; you just want the kids to get their exercise?
If you come as a spectator, you'll not be charged the £4 entry fee - a lower price than we found at any skating rink in London. You can just relax and watch all the action (and listen to the tunes!) from the café.
The Skate Station is located on Boodle Street, Tameside.
Granadaland is famous for its spectacles - not the kind you wear on your face but the ones that awe the massive crowds attending them. Both the city where the television studios formerly known as Granada are located and the city itself enjoy such events.
To wit, Granada is famous for the long-running Coronation Street, The Jewel in the Crown and The University Challenge among others, while Manchester is renowned for everything from football to music. And roller skating!
Roller City is located in Rochdale, a bit further out from City Centre than the Skate Station but it has a unique claim to fame: roller derbies.
In case you're not familiar with roller derby, it's a contact sport played on roller skates in which two teams of 15 skaters race to beat each other in laps around the track while keeping the other team from making their laps. It sounds rather confusing but then, any sport that calls for players to practise defence and offence simultaneously must be.
You don't have to know roller derby rules to enjoy watching derbies or take part in one yourself. And, if you wish to skate at Roller City, you don't have to derby at all; you can go for the fun of skating. Disco Night is their most popular event; people turn out in vintage clothing and skate-dance to their hearts' content.
If you have only a distant memory of how to skate - sadly, skating is not like riding a bicycle - or never learned how to, Roller City has instructors on hand to help you get started safely. They also rent skates, so no need to worry about not having any.
Just head to Platting Lane in Rochdale and claim your slice of fun!
Or, if you're in the mood for a road trip, you could head into Leeds to check out their skating scene.
Wigan Roller Rink
For many, '80s music is the ONLY music. That decade saw new styles of music emerge, from glam metal to EDM - electronic dance music. Madchester was at the heart of the '80s music scene.
If you too believe that that era in music defined your generation, you can recapture that feeling at Wigan. Their combination of nostalgic music and modern light effects is sure to make them your favourite weekend haunt. Thanks to their regularly hosted family events, they're liable to turn your kids into '80s music fans if your young ones aren't, already.
Whether you always hung out at the roller rink in bygone days or have never so much as owned a pair of skates, you're welcome to Wigan. They have instructors on-site for quick tutorials (we could hardly say a crash course, could we?) and plenty of monitors to make sure that everyone stays safe as they enjoy their skate.
An afternoon skate session will set you back £4 and the more popular weekend sessions cost just one pound more. Skate hire is £3; of course, you're welcome to bring your own. If you just want to bathe in the atmosphere, the £2 spectator fee is a small price to pay.
Of all the roller skating venues we visited in the UK, Wigan hit closest to home... but maybe that's because I too am an '80s music fan.
If you too grooved to Wham! and The Police in back in the day, head to Eckersley Mill (Unit 2) on Swan Meadow Road this weekend to relive those times.
Cottonopolis Skating Rink Honourable Mentions
We'd like to devote a segment to Manchesterford's premiere outdoor skatepark but that means we have to cut short our exposé of the area's roller rinks. Otherwise, this article would be far too long and you would be delayed in getting your skate on.
Thus, in abbreviated form, we introduce:
- Bury Roller Rink, Bury
- Let's Roll, Stockport
- Strepford Sports Village
- Planet Ice, Altrincham (don't let the name fool you, you can rollerskate there, too)
- Projekts Indoor Skate Park also features an outdoor skate area
We take comfort in knowing that entities in the city itself have written about all of the facilities in Greater Manchester; you can read about them at your leisure.
Maybe on one of those rainy days, when you just can't find your brolly and can't bear to get rained on...
Are you in the mood for a taco and hubbas? Don't worry, Superprof hasn't taken leave of their senses, those are words from the skatepark lexicon.
Isn't it strange that, for so long, the sum total of roller sports was rollerskating? That pastime was soon overtaken by inline skating - what's commonly called rollerblading.
For a long time, that was the mainstream roller sports narrative.
Meanwhile, in 1950s California, a new type of skating was taking root. For decades, skateboarding remained a fringe obsession, something that unsavoury people did. Ever so slowly, skateboards were introduced to the general population; by the mid-70s, every kid in the US wanted one.
With the advent of social media and video channels, skateboarders started uploading videos. Soon, they had to compete with official media representation to gain attention. Now, what was once a strictly Californian pastime is a global phenomenon.
Cities around the world have taken notice. They've created spaces where skateboarders can refine their skills and learn new ones without endangering anyone or 'ruining' public spaces.
That's a reference to the original Hubba Hideout in San Francisco, a concrete stairway enclosure that the city ultimately tore down because skateboarders wouldn't stop 'misusing' it.
Bolton Skatepark opened in 2015 and, since then, it's not suffered from any lack of attendance. The park is not restricted to skateboards; any type of skating is allowed. Its unique layout - all obstacles arranged in a continuous loop encourages novices and old hats alike to hone their skills and challenge newcomers.
In a sports-like manner, of course, The city's Gunchester days are far behind it.
And there you have it, Mancunians, a list of select skating venues you might try out, along with all seven of the city's nicknames.
Did we leave your fav venue off the list? Won't you let us know by dropping a comment below?
And now, find out where Cardiffians go to get their skate on...
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