Xscape (building)

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Xscape buildings (named after the company that developed them, X-Leisure) are large, strikingly designed and unusually shaped buildings. Typically they contain a real snow indoor ski slope, leisure facilities and related shops. There are currently three members of the chain, located in Central Milton Keynes and Yorkshire (both in England) and in Braehead, Scotland.

Xscape Milton Keynes[edit]

Xscape Milton Keynes seen from across Secklow Gate

Xscape Milton Keynes (52°02′29″N 0°44′56″W / 52.0414°N 0.7489°W / 52.0414; -0.7489) opened in 2000 and is a major feature on the skyline of Central Milton Keynes as seen from the east. The Xscape is 44 metres high,[1] making it the second tallest building in Milton Keynes after Mellish Court in Bletchley. Xscape Milton Keynes features a 170m long real-snow ski slope, a 16-screen cinema, a number of shops and restaurants and a climbing wall. An interesting point is the two large funnels on the front of the building are sometimes mistaken for lifts or part of the cooling system; in fact they are stairs.

Xscape Milton Keynes and Xscape Yorkshire were designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects.[2]

Located directly behind the Xscape building is a large square structure that houses an indoor skydiving centre named 'Airkix'.

The cinema features 4DX, a type of '4D' cinema which shows full-length films. As of August 2015, it is the only one of its kind in the UK.[3]

Xscape Yorkshire[edit]

Xscape Yorkshire (53°42′37″N 1°20′30″W / 53.7103°N 1.3418°W / 53.7103; -1.3418) in Castleford, West Yorkshire is built in a similar style to Xscape Braehead – the many angular parts of the building (particularly when seen from behind) form a shape similar to that of Xscape Milton Keynes. Xscape Yorkshire opened in October 2003 and has a 5,500 square metres (59,202 sq ft) roof.

Xscape Yorkshire was a major development for what was before, an average sized town in West Yorkshire and is situated next to Junction 32, a popular outlet mall formerly known as Freeport. The two combined have really put Castleford on the map.

Xscape Yorkshire contains many shops, clubs, restaurants, and entertainment facilities including a bowling alley, multi screen cinema, laser tag, crazy golf and amusements. Also it has recently opened a Surf Simulator also known as Flowhouse. It is one of only three in the UK. The cinema is one of only seven cineworlds in the UK which has Dbox motion seating. It utilises complex ventilation technology.[4]

Xscape Braehead Renfrew[edit]

Xscape Braehead Renfrew (55°52′45″N 4°22′17″W / 55.8792°N 4.3713°W / 55.8792; -4.3713) began construction in 2005 and was opened in March 2006 with its main use to teach people how to ski or snowboard. It is shaped differently, more like a conventional building but with the ski slope using a sloped cuboid structure projecting out the roof. This Xscape features a wide variety of entertainment including; the indoor Ski Slope, Soccer Circus, Rock Climbing, Sky Park, Odeon Cinemas, Bowling, Fan Drop, Robocoaster, Mini Golf, Lazer Station and the 'Fun Station'. The Complex also has a wide variety of shops(mainly outdoor clothing), restaurants, and bars.

The Snow Factor indoor snow slope features a 168m main slope with an additional 2,500m2 dedicated beginner's area for ski and snow board lessons. Snow Factor is Scotland's year round ski resort[5] providing year round perfect snow. Ideal for beginners who can practice on a quieter slope with others on the same level, fully supervised. On the main slope, two Poma button lifts give a drag tow to the top and can be exited either at the half way point on the slope or go the top station of the 200m slope. Rope tows are used on the beginners slope.

Skiers and boarders are fully provided for with hire equipment, although the more advanced typically will have their own equipment. Sledging and an ice slide are provided for those who just wish a little bit of fun.

Lessons can be booked for both boarding and skiing. Beginners start on the exclusive teaching slope before moving to the main slope. Initially only half of the main slope will be used before one advances to using the full slope. Once passed at the ability to ski or board from the full length of the slope, the pupil is allowed full access as they are demeed to have reached recreational level.

Clothing can be hired for a nominal charge, but gloves must be either purchased unless provided by the attendee. There are also helmets available for free use

In March 2006, weeks before the complex was scheduled to open, the roof of screen seven of the Odeon Cinemas fell in and required extensive re-building.[6] The mini-golf (which is housed below the cinema) opened in July 2006. The Odeon Cinema opened on 19 October 2007, 18 months later than planned. "Stardust" was the first film shown at the cinema. The cinema is fitted with Real D (also known as Disney Digital 3D technology) in Screen 7 with Screen 1 being the largest of the Cinemas screens. The Odeon Cinema is also capable of showing IMAX films. The Odeon Cinema held the Scottish Pink Carpet Premiere of Universal Pictures film "Wild Child" on 30 July 2008. Both stars of the film Emma Roberts (Poppy) and Alex Pettyfer (Freddie) attended, with positive opinions to the Cinema and the Xscape's facilities.

In December 2011, SNO! Zone Braehead was acquired by the Ice Factor Group headed up by Jamie Smith and renamed Snow Factor.[7]


  1. ^ "Xscape Building, Milton Keynes - SkyscraperPage.com". Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  2. ^ FaulknerBrowns Architects – see Home, then Millenium
  3. ^ "4DX Now At Milton Keynes". Cinewold Cinemas. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Xscape Ski Slope & Retail Development". Caswell Engineering Services. 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Scotland Outdoors Articles - Snowsport Scotland". BBC. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Spencer, Ben (9 March 2006). "Lucky Xscape as Cinema Roof Collapses". Daily Record. Retrieved 5 December 2007. 
  7. ^ "BBC News - Lochaber's Ice Factor buys SNO!zone in Glasgow". Bbc.co.uk. 21 December 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 

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