The very impressive Yas Marina circuit
The Yas Marina circuit is the very large and impressive race track used to host the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and if you love Formula 1, then you’ll know that it’s currently taking place right now. It seats an impressive 41,000 spectators and has 21 corners and 5 grandstand areas. It..is…huge!
I wasn’t overly keen to see it if I’m honest. I have no interest in any kind of race events, fast cars or formula one tracks. But we knew you could walk or cycle around the whole thing on a Tuesday night, for free! It’s an initiative undertaken to get people fitter and you see all sorts of runners and cyclists coming solo and with their families to navigate the track. After a day of lazing about in the beach and building countless sandcastles, we thought “why not!”.
Enrolling and hiring bikes
You need to enrol with some personal details about yourself and any kiddies you’re taking with you before they let you on. It’s all very general and logical information that’s requested, including things like any medical issues you may have. Once you’ve done that you’re given a rag to wear and you can hire a bike or take your own. We saw lots of families arrive with small bikes and carriages for their children and it looked like some very regular visitors spending quality family time together. I’d recommend you enrol online as you’re given a bar code and then getting into the venue is a lot faster than queueing up.
One huge word of caution: A child has to be aged 7 or over before they’re allowed to cycle on the track.
This meant there was no way Little Z, aged 6, was going to be allowed on a bike. To say he was gutted is an understatement. It meant we all had to walk around, which I really didn’t mind at all, but it did take walking around about half the track to cheer back up again. Maybe one day we’ll go back and do the cycle ride too.
Walking around the Yas Marina circuit
Even if you’re not into Formula 1 or cars in any way, I would really recommend a visit here. The whole walk is so interesting. You can do the full walk which is 5.5km or you can opt to do a much shorter one which finishes at about the 3km mark. There are stewards driving around in golf carts around the circuit so, if you decide you’ve had enough, they’ll pick you up and drop you off at the finish line.
About halfway round you notice the very slickly designed Yas Viceroy hotel. It overlooks the track and is illuminated a deep purple during the evening. I’ve been told some of the Formula one drivers stay there during the Grand Prix and it does so look stunning the way it’s been designed. You can also spot the Yas harbour not too far away from the hotel. Yas Marina has been built on its own island so one of the modes of travel is by boat back to mainland.
Travelling to and from Yas Marina circuit
Another top tip is to download the Abu Dhabi taxi app before you go on holiday. Taxi firms in Abu Dhabi can only accept a booking from a local UAE phone number so if you’re a tourist without a local SIM card, then it’s hard to get a taxi without the app unless a kind local soul books it for you. There is a shuttle bus to Yas Mall (one of the biggest malls there) so that is a good alternative and a reliable way of getting to and from the circuit. Learn the times though so you’re not constantly pondering whether the next bus is at 6.25 or 6.35.
The very nice cars
You can admire some very nice sports cars just outside the main entrance. I’m not sure I could tell you what they all are but they stop most people in their tracks to admire them and then draw them in to have a look at what more inside. There are some nice eating places and a viewing area so you can watch people drive around the circuit where they’ve hired some time to experience a fast drive around half the circuit.
The driving experiences aren’t at the same time as the cycling events but we decided to come back on the Thursday as the Other Half was keen to do it. We all stood upstairs in the viewing area and watched him go around what felt like a billion times. I’m not sure it’s as riveting to watch as it must be to drive around all the hair pin bends.
Marina circuit – A very family friendly track
I had no idea it would be such a family evening out. I fully expected it to be a very serious competitive kind of evening between serious runners and cyclists but the evening brings together people from all sorts of backgrounds; tourists, families, children, racing enthusiasts. It’s really worth doing the walk or cycle around the Yas Marina circuit if you happen to be on holiday in Abu Dhabi. Just remember not to promise cycling to any children under 7.