Skate parks are important to every skateboarder, beginners and pros alike. For beginners they provide a safe, specialized and friendly environment to learn the basics and for the more experienced many skate parks contain challenging obstacles and lines to conquer.
There are two basic kinds of skateboarding park; indoors and outdoors. The indoor parks are usually built and owned by a private company who charge a fee, whereas most outdoor parks are council-built and free to use. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of park; some council parks are poorly designed and poorly built whilst others are as good as the pay parks.
The best outdoor parks are normally concrete and the ramps in good indoor parks are made from decent quality plywood. Increasing amounts of indoor parks offer coaching or beginner only sessions and some have a full section of the park dedicated to novices with smaller ramps and obstacles.
Skate Plaza – Stoke-on-Trent
The skate plaza is the most amazing skate park in the country and is located on Chell Street, Stoke-on-Trent. It is a free, outdoor park that cost £500,000 to build and is absolutely huge. This park was designed to replicate the street environment in which a lot of skateboarding takes place. It is an incredible feat with a brilliant street section that could easily be mistaken for the real plaza in a city center; it is so much fun to skate and the range of obstacles mean everyone is happy, regardless of ability. There is also a more conventional skate park section that houses a mind-boggling three section bowl and huge quarter pipes. Quite simply the best park in the country, a joy to skate and absolutely free!
Opening times: Open all the time, every day and in the evening until 9pm. Car park gates are locked at 8.00pm, although cars can exit the car park after this time.
The Works – Leeds
The Works skate park is situated in South Leeds in the Airedale Industrial Centre on Kitson Road. The park is a huge 25,000sq/ft and the ramps were designed by Leeds skateboard legend, Snoz. This man has designed parks for many of the stars of skateboarding including Tony Hawk and Danny Way and the quality of the ramps in The Works is amazing. There are all the usual features as well as a brilliant bowl section and a mini-ramp that is lovely to skate. The park also has a cafe and viewing balcony, a shop and a lounge kitted out with games consoles and TVs showing skate videos. There is even a multi-media suite where you can edit videos and for a fee the park will professionally film and edit a video of yourself skateboarding. The Works also offers coaching sessions that start from £20 an hour for one on one lessons.
Opening times: Mon-Thurs: 4pm-10pm; Fri: 4pm-9pm; Sat/Sun: 10am-7pm.
The House – Sheffield
The House is located near the Ski Village on Bardwell Road just outside Sheffield city center. This park had been around a long time and although small at 10,000sq/ft compared to some new parks, it remains a favourite among skateboarders for the friendly, knowledgeable staff, good park design and cheap rates. The House also has an exclusive beginners section with a small mini-ramp and driveway. There is a good street section that is based on a famous skate spot in Sheffield that was recently destroyed as well a full sized vert-ramp for the brave. Another nice touch to the park is the graffiti and artwork that covers the walls and ramps.
Opening times: Mon, Wed, Fri: 12pm-9pm; Tues: 5pm-9pm; Thurs: 5pm-10pm; Sat/ Sun: 10am-9pm.
Hyde Park Free Skate Park – Leeds
This free park is situated in Hyde Park on Woodhouse Moor just outside Leeds city center by the main University campus. The park is concrete and well designed with brilliant thought having gone into the overall flow of the ramps. It is nearly always busy and is one of the best free parks in the north. Ramps include a mini section comprising three minis connected by spines and roll-ins, numerous ledges and blocks, quarter pipes, a massive flat-bank and some brilliant grind rails. The park manages to cater for novices and experienced skaters and achieves this compromise perfectly.
Opening times: Open all day every day. No floodlights.
UK Skate Park (Bones) – Stockport
UK Skate Park is the new name for Bones which was taken over last year. It is situated on Canal Street in Stockport, a short drive or train journey from Manchester. Bones is one of the oldest and most famous skate parks in the country and features in many magazines and videos. The new owners have revamped the park adding new ramps and improving the old ones, they have left old favorites in there so the park still feels like Bones. The skate park offers hourly sessions at the start of each day where the park is only open to beginners. If you feel like you’re better than the average beginner there are competitions with 4 age group categories, and a lot of different skate related prizes to be won from these competitions.
Opening times: Mon-Sat: 10am-10pm; Sun: 10am-8pm.
Baysixty6 Skate Park (formerly Playstation) – London
The Playstation skate park is synonymous with British skateboarding having been part of the scene for over ten years. The park now has new owners and a new name along with a new street section that is brilliant to skate, with more lines than you know what to do with. It is located on Acklam Road a five minute walk from Ladbroke Grove tube station. This park is one of the best in the country and is a little challenging for novices, although they do offer beginner-only sessions to get used to the park layout. The park is used for demos and competitions on a regular basis so it is a good idea to ring ahead if you are planning a special trip. Demos are normally company showcases involving professional skateboarders and offer the opportunity to see some of the best talent in world as well as boarders immortalized by the Tonk Hawk video game series.
Opening times: Mon- Sun: 12pm-9pm (late sessions to 10pm Tues, Wed and Thurs).
Wooden Waves, Newquay Skate Park
This is a brilliantly designed, outdoor wooden park. The ramps flow really well and the skate park has a relaxed feel that encourages riding the ramps instead of just nailing tricks. Inspired by the surfing heritage of Newquay, park builders; Fearless Ramps have produced a park that never lets you stop skating like a continuous wooden breaker and it provides an enjoyable old-school skating experience.
The park is set up in the Water World complex and houses a swimming pool as well as shops and a cafe so everything is taken care of for a good day out. There is also a safety equipment hire section where helmets and wrist guards can be bought or rented - our personal favorite.
Opening times: Dependent on season.
Prissick Plaza, Middlesbrough
This is the latest council-built skate plaza and whilst it may not be quite as good as Stoke it is still one of the best free parks in the country. It is designed around a large bowl system, incorporating street areas with rails, curved ledges and all manner of obstacles. The council commissioned the team behind the DC Skate Plaza in America to design the park and it has paid off; producing an excellent park with good, safe facilities. Hopefully more councils will learn from Prissick and Stoke and a new generation of top quality, free parks will emerge around Britain. It is situated on Marton Road and has good public transport links from Middlesbrough city centre.
Opening times: Mon-Sun: 10am-8pm (7pm during winter).
Livingston Skate Park, Scotland
Situated opposite the Almondvale Shopping Centre, Livingston Skate Park is a legend in British skateboarding. It was one of the first good quality free concrete parks to be built, and despite getting on a bit, it is still an incredible park to skate. This is definitely not one for beginners as the concrete ramps are not in the best shape and the transitions are short and sharp. All of this makes for an exhilarating skate that is fast and furious and bound to result in a few falls. There is no security at the park so it is best to visit with a couple of friends and safety gear is definitely recommended!
Opening times: Open all day every day. No floodlights.
Adrenaline Alley, Corby, Northamptonshire
This park is run by an urban sports charity and is absolutely huge, with an area of 51,000 ft/sq (4738 metre/sq). The quality of the ramps is outstanding as they are constructed from a resin that feels like wood but has the durability of plastic or rubber. The ramps ride really well and the park incorporates learning sessions with training for beginners but also pleases the veterans with a 70ft (6.5 meter) vert pipe. The building also houses other projects run by the charity such as a band recording room and computer facilities with internet connections.
Opening times: Mon: 12pm-8.30pm; Tues: 12pm-8pm; Wed: 6pm-8.30pm (training only); Thurs: 12pm-8pm; Fri, Sat, Sun: 12pm-8.30pm.
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