A FAMILY has been left ‘bemused’ and ‘disappointed’ after their magical ice skating experience turned out to be a ‘tiny fenced off pen made of plastic and shaving foam’.

Claire Roberts and her 10-year-old daughter Matilda visited the ‘ice rink’ in Boundary Park, Didcot with a group of friends and family.

Some have taken to social media to defend the attraction and praise it as 'a blast', but Mrs Roberts said instead of the ‘wonderful’ day out they say was advertised the family was ‘astonished’ on arrival at the size of the rink, which has been likened to a patio.

Mrs Roberts said: “The problems began when we couldn’t find the place.

“When we eventually spotted in the distance we couldn’t believe our eyes.

“There was no ice, it’s all made of a synthetic plastic.

“It’s toddler sized and not suitable at all for older children.

“We spent three minutes on the 'ice' and left.

“You couldn’t even pretend to skate.”

The mum from Cholsey says she will be complaining to trading standards about the rink which has also received mixed reviews online.

There have been reports of broken ice skates, families ‘being sprayed with shaving foam’ for 40 minutes and Disney character Elsa turning up late for an advertised ‘Frozen' night on the ‘ice’.

Mrs Roberts, a journalist, said: “We were laughing until the owner was exceptionally rude to us when we asked for a refund.

“We paid £20 for a family ticket and were told ‘what do you expect for that money?’.

“To be honest the least we expected was an ice rink and for it to be at least slightly magical.”

The Didcot attraction ran from December 18 until Wednesday, and invited families to enjoy a 'wonderful & magical skating experience'.

Gemma Mulvey, whose partner Daniel Merritt owns the company Ynot Treat Yourself which runs the ice rink, defended the day out.

She said: “We just wanted to do something nice for the families who live around here who may not be able to afford to go to the bigger ice rinks.

“There have been problems with the boots but we have worked hard to fix them.

“We can’t offer refunds because of our contract but those who have complained have been offered free food to compensate.

“Of the 400 people who have attended we’ve only had 15 complaints and we’ve had some lovely comments from families who have really enjoyed themselves.

“It’s quite sad because you try and do something nice to people but we have had to put up with quite a lot of insults and abuse from customers.

“We won’t be doing it again next year.”

Paul Costello, the chairman of the Boundary Park Sports Association which gave the land to the company to use for the rink, said he hadn't seen any issues.

He said: "It is not everybody and is never going to host an ice hockey match.

"But I have been down there with my son in a personal capacity and everyone seemed to be having a really good time.

"We have worked with the company before on various events and have never had a problem with what they do."

Others have also defended the attraction, with some saying they enjoyed their trip to the ice rink.

Sean O'Driscoll took to our Facebook page to say: "A lot of these small rinks are plastic, it’s only the disgruntled parents that spoil it - the kids would still love it.

"This is a small sports club that tries very hard to create a community spirit on a new development, why can’t people just enjoy some quality family time rather than complain it’s not the real thing?"

And Luke Patrick Boyce said: "We went, granted wasn't ice but we had a blast, made it funny with the kids.

"Tbh glad it wasn't ice as the kids would fall over, got wet, moaned, got cold and gone home probably, so fair play there wasn't any time limit and staff were amazinging friendly and very helpful."