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Ice ice baby!

Pull on your tan tights and dust off your spins - the pop-up rinks are back around Kent and beyond!

Tunbridge Wells, Calverley Grounds, Fri 17 Nov – Mon 1 Jan

ice-ring-2015

Calverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells will once again be transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland, pictured above. I fully intend to visit (I’ll be the one not in control of my limbs, like Bambi, only less graceful). If all else fails I’ll enjoy the food and drink on offer in the spectator’s area – including Muddy award-winner Fuggles Beer Café.

There are toddler sessions during school hours and skating aids here aren’t penguins but seals that children can sit on and be pushed around. Non-motorised Wheelchairs are also allowed. Prices adults £14; Child £9.50 off peak and it’s £44 for Family tickets (2x adult, 2x child). Seals are £4. tunbridgewellsatchristmas.com

Tickets tend to sell out fast, so get your skates on and book! And here’s where else to go:

 

KENT, SUSSEX AND NEARBY:

Bluewater Ice Rink, Thurs, 17th November – Mon 2 Jan

This year the ice rink will be located in a brand new setting beside the lake outside the West Village with hot drinks and refreshments available from an alpine cabin and a giant, sparkly Christmas tree at the centre.

bluewater.co.uk

Skating rink and Alpine café, Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, Fri 1 Dec – Sun 7 Jan

Two marquees in the upper car park will transform Riverhill Himalayan Gardens into a stunning Christmassy venue. With transparent sides and a view that stretches over the top of the manor house you will literally feel like you are skating under the stars when this event comes to Sevenoaks for the first time this December. And not just that, there’s opportunities to meet Father Christmas and enjoy D.J. party nights as well as grab refreshments in the Alpine café – the perfect place to get into the festive spirit and celebrate the season in style. riverhillatchristmas.co.uk

White Cliffs Christmas, Dover, Sat 25 Nov – Mon 1st Jan

For the second year running, The Old Marine Station at the Port of Dover will be transformed into a winter wonderland complete with a Santa’s grotto, a festive bar and traditional Christmas market as well as a bigger than ever ice rink at Cruise Terminal One this festive season. whitecliffscountry.org.uk

 

FURTHER AFIELD:

Royal Pavilion, Brighton, 4 Nov – 14 Jan

The colourfully lit onion domes of Brighton Pavilion back the city’s seasonal ice rink. The large covered cafe/bar terrace opens 9.30 am till late with mulled wine and full meals including an after-school children’s menu and stone-baked pizzas. There’s no charge for spectating from here if you just want the atmosphere. Kids can get their balance on a separate rink with a penguin skating aid – first come first served but you’re expected to share. Check out the video on the website for skating tips. royalpavilionicerink.co.uk

Worthing Ice Rink , Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 20 Oct – 27 Feb

Worthing’s Steyne Gardens pop-up is back, much earlier than last year and fully covered in a giant marque so you can skate whatever the weather. Regular sessions are for over-fours, while toddlers can get on the ice too in special weekday sessions 10.00am – 3.00pm helped by penguins for balance. There are even six week children’s skating courses and private lessons by arrangement.You can warm up with hot drinks and snacks in the café and even use the venue to host a children’s party. worthingicerink.com

Hornbrook Park, Horsham, 20 Oct – 28 Jan

Another covered rink, this one at Horsham Park has a café serving hot drinks and snacks. Skating is for ages 4+ with younger skaters welcomed off-peak and penguins skate aids available. Various lessons can be booked, from kids’ beginner and advanced sessions to private 15 minute one-to-ones for all ages. horshamicerink.co.uk

Winchester Cathedral Ice Rink, Hampshire, 20 Nov – 7 Jan

Beside the cathedral but under a clear roof enjoy a weather proof skate then tuck into mince-pies and Prosecco rink-side.  There’s also a Christmas market here until 22 Dec so plenty to prompt a day-trip. They’ll organise a children’s party for you and you can find out what a ‘skate banana’ is! winchester-cathedral.org.uk

Hampton Court Palace, Moseley, Surrey 24 Nov – 7 Jan

‘Skate back in time’ they say and you’ve a seriously stunning backdrop for your triple salchow at Henry VIII’s old gaff in Surrey, floodlit with colours for the evening. The cafe serves up pies, rum punches and fizz. Make a day of it in the palace itself. hamptoncourtpalaceicerink.co.uk

Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason, copyright James Bryant

Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason, London, Nov 15 – 14 Jan

Skate at Somerset House is tying-up with Fortnum & Mason again to give us a Christmas shopping arcade and foodie treats in an Alpine-themed lodge where you can share cheese or chocolate fondues. Skate Lates music nights include takeovers from the 90s and Noughties hip hop and R&B night Supa Dupa Fly. There’s a skate school for children – and adults. somersethouse.org.uk

National History Museum, London, 26 Oct – 7 Jan

Combine a visit to the dinos or the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition (On till 28 May) with a turn on the ice at this Kensington rink. Work in London? You can have your office Xmas party here. nhm.ac.uk

Have I missed one? If there’s a good Christmas rink in or close to Kent that’s not on the list let me know.

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