Muddy tries: Ice Skating in the Park, Tunbridge Wells
Everyone present agreed, there was something unmistakably magical about the opening night of Ice Skating in the Park in Calverley Park, Tunbridge Wells, on Friday. The music, the twinkly lights, the laughter, the mulled wine…and, wait… is that Bambi, all awkward-limbed and wide-eyed, slip-sliding across the frozen water? No, came the reply. That’s Muddy Kent in a brown Parka. *Sigh*. Pah! What do I care? I haven’t had so much fun out with the Mini Muddies in ages. If these three total novices can do it, so can you…
Since we went on the opening night it meant picking the mudlets up from after-school clubs, throwing off the karate kit, shoving bobble hats on heads and scooting into Tunbridge Wells for some after dark skating. We were lucky with the weather and actually, since you’re always moving, you keep quite warm on the ice – and going in the evening has the added benefit of the full impact of the Christmasy lights. But if you prefer the idea of visiting in daylight then the rink opens with Parent & Toddler sessions at 9.45am (10.15am Boxing Day & New Year’s Day), with main skating starting at 11am and running every hour until 8pm (rink closes 9pm).
The entrance to the pop up ice rink at Calverley Park is down Mount Pleasant Avenue off the main Mount Pleasant Road. You’ve got the convenience of the Great Hall Car Park right next door – and it’s only £1 after 6pm (£1.40 per hour Pay & Display). For the ice skating itself, Skate Hire is included in the cost and Adults pay between £10.50 – £14.50 depending if it’s Peak or Of Peak times. Children £9.50 Peak and £7 Off Peak. A Family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) will cost you around £41.
And they’re off! There’s lots of skating aids in the shape of bright orange seals and these are available, free, on a first-come, first-serve, basis. We skated for an hour and my two went from using the seals to ditching them and trying it solo (with some success).
If you, like us, fancy a bite while you’re there you’ve got Tunbridge Wells’ Basil Café selling everything from mulled wine to soup or Apple and Cor, offering winter warming BBQ Smoked Pulled Pork Brioche or Jumbo Sausage & Onions served in a roll. And there’s Muddy Best Bar Award winner Fuggles Beer Café.
On opening night James & Becky from Heart Kent Radio, the bubbly breakfast duo, were there – and you definitely need music in the background to create the atmosphere. So I think it’s a brilliant idea that this year, for the first time, they’ve got rock, indie and folk bands playing live too, click here for full details of the line up/dates.
I just have to include a quick shout out to the Invicta Junior Ice Hockey Club (below) over from Gillingham ice rink who did a demonstration of how skating should look (why’s everyone looking at me?) – they were so impressive, especially when I learnt the youngest was six. Lovely group of boys and girls – some of which took it upon themselves to give us some top tips when we took to the ice (we must have looked like we really, needed the assistance…)
If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, get your skates on, as they sell out fast. Premium skating sessions (after school/work hours) are extremely popular, especially during the holiday period, so advanced booking is highly recommended.
And can I just say for the record, one last time. I really, honestly did not need that seal. I was holding on to it for the Mini Muddies. Honest.
Ice Skating in the Park, Calverley Grounds, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 1BT, tunbridgewellsatchristmas.com