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Muddy tries: Skating in the Park

If you haven't booked your tickets yet, get your skates on, as this fun festive experience is not to be missed

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There is always something unmistakably magical about the opening of Ice Skating in the Park in Calverley Park, Tunbridge Wells. 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…

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The entrance to the park…

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 (daily at 9.45am and 10.15am and also at 2pm during Mon – Fri until Wednesday 20 December. The sessions last half an hour.) And the main skating starts at 11am and runs every hour until 8pm (rink closes 9pm).

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Looking longingly at the ice…

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 £1.50 after 6pm (£1.60 per hour Pay & Display or £1.30 per hour RingGo). For the ice skating itself, Skate Hire is included in the cost for Regular Sessions it’s £14 for Adults and £9.50 for Children. A Family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) will cost you around £44.

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Skates on and ready to go!

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).

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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.

There’s also a very lovely Meet Father Christmas experience you can book – set rather magically in his cosy, warm log cabin amongst the trees & snow. If you’ve got little ones then this is a great Christmasy treat not to be missed – but be quick tickets to this one always sell like hot cakes!

There’s also a dozen or so cute wooden chalet-style huts selling refreshments and gifts just outside the ice rink so bring your pennies in case you fancy a little browse (be rude not to)… On top of all that Tunny Wells live music venue, The Forum, always get onboard and bring live music to the ice rink on Thursdays and Sundays (playing rock & indie to folk) which all adds to the atmosphere. For a full list of the up and coming local bands and artists that will be performing this December click here.

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Cute wooden chalet-style huts selling food and other goodies

If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, get your skates on. 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

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