Get your skates on
It’s that time again folks – whether you’re staying local or heading further afield, there are pop-up festive ice rinks all over the country to try. Not to mention a lot of hot chocolate to keep you warm. Shall we?
Castle Mall Gardens
Norwich – 15 Dec – 7 Jan
Now in its third year, this successful annual event sees skaters take to an outdoor rink created from real ice in front of Norwich’s beautiful castle. Kids will love Snowy Joey, the rinks 50′-tall bouncy castle snowman.
Hampton Court Palace
East Moseley – 4 Nov – 7 Jan
Skate back in time, they say, and you’ve a seriously stunning backdrop for your triple salchow at Henry VIII’ 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 before hitting the ice. hamptoncourtpalaceicerink.co.uk
Reigate on Ice
Priory Park, Reigate – 30 Nov – 3 Jan
The pop-up ice rink in Reigate’s Priory Park is in a big top marquee so the weather won’t stop you getting your skates on. There’s a bar, and other rides and attractions, in a sort of mini winter wonderland – including a Santa’s Grotto. Sessions start on the hour and last 45 mins.
Ice Skate Camberley
Camberley – 9 Dec to 5 Jan
Camberley will be transformed to a magical winter wonderland with a real open-air ice rink in the heart of the town centre in Park Street.
The Village: Guildford Ice Rink
Guildford – Nov 16 to Dec 24
Outdoor ice skating comes to central Guildford for the first time as The Village is transformed into a Christmas winter wonderland. Sessions are 45 minutes.
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, too.
National History Museum
London – 26 Oct to 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.
Ice skating at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
London – 17 Nov to 3 Jan
If you’re planning a day in London this Christmas, then Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park is a must. It’s packed with all things Christmasy, including, of course, an ice rink – the largest open-air ice rink in the UK, in fact. It’s set around Hyde Park’s Victorian bandstand under a canopy of sparkling lights. There are also circus shows, market stalls and rides and attractions. hydeparkwinterwonderaland.com
Brighton – 4 Nov – 14 Jan
The colourfully-lit onion domes of Brighton Pavilion back the city’s seasonal ice rink. The covered cafe/bar terrace opens 9.30am till late, with mulled wine and full meals including an after-school menu for kids and stone-baked pizzas. Kids can get their balance on a separate rink with a penguin skating aid
Horsham, West Sussex – 20 Oct to 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.
Windsor on Ice
Alexandra Gardens, Winsdor, Berkshire – 18 Nov – 7 Jan
Enjoy a weather proof skate beside the cathedral before tucking into mince pies and Prosecco rink-side. There’s also a Christmas market here until 22 Dec so plenty to prompt a day-trip.
Tunbridge Wells, Kent – 17 Nov – 1 Jan
Plenty going on at this outdoor rink set in an amphitheatre. It’s a nicely inclusive place, with toddler sessions during school hours, seal skating aids that youngsters can be pushed around on and non-motorised wheelchairs permitting on the ice. Various cafes and a BBQ pop-up will be there, while Father Christmas will be taking up residence in a log cabin nearer Christmas.
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 in special weekday sessions from 10.00am to 3.00pm, helped by balance penguins. Warm up with hot drinks and snacks in the cafe.