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Ice ice baby

Pop-up ice rinks are back, adding a touch of romance to the cold. Here’s where you’ll find them in the Surrey and beyond.

Ice skating at Hampton Court Palace. Photo courtesy of Historic Royal Palaces

Hampton Court Palace
■ East Moseley ■  23 Nov – 6 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. Skating sessions are 45 minutes, and booking is recommended. The cafe serves up pies, rum punches and fizz. Make a day of it, and tour the palace while you’re there.

Guildford Spectrum Ice Rink
■ Guildford ■ ongoing

Not just for Christmas, but this permanent Olympic-size rink is well set up for skaters of all abilities all year round. There are IceXtreme and 2Xtreme disco sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Penguins and snowmen are available for hire. Due to Snow White on Ice there will be changes to the normal schedule from 15-18 Dec. Check skating times here. Tickets vary according to which session you in. Skate hire is extra at £2.10.

Windsor on Ice
■ Alexandra Gardens, Winsdor, Berkshire ■  until 7 Jan

There are two rinks here. The main one is under cover and there’s a smaller open-air rink. There’s also food and other attractions including an ice bar and grill. Sessions are for 45 mins. And then why not take in a great river walk, or visit the famous Windsor Castle?

The ice rink at Bluewater Shopping Centre

Bluewater Ice Rink
■ Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent ■ until 6 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.

Calverley Grounds
■ Tunbridge Wells, Kent ■ until 2 Jan 

Calverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells will once again be transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland.  There’s Father Christmas on site to visit, Live Music Nights or adult-only Date & Skate sessions. If all else fails you can enjoy the good selection of food and drink on offer in the spectator’s area.

Brighton Pavilion

Royal Pavilion
■ Brighton ■ until 13 Jan

The colourfully lit onion domes of Brighton Pavilion back the city’s seasonal ice rink. The large covered cafe/bar terrace opens 9.30am 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.


Worthing Ice Rink
■ Steyne Gardens, Worthing, West Sussex ■  until 24 Feb 

Worthing’s Steyne Gardens pop-up is back, and fully covered in a giant marque so you can skate whatever the weather. Regular sessions are for over-fours, and toddlers can get on the ice-action too in special weekday off-peak sessions from 12.30-3pm. You can warm up with hot drinks and snacks in the café and even use the venue to host a children’s party.

Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason. Photo by James Bryant

Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason
■ London ■  until 13 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.

National History Museum
■ London ■ until 20 Jan 

Set against the backdrop of the Waterhouse building, the Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum is one of the most magical places to be this winter. Whether or not you can skate like Torvill and Dean or Bambi, a visit to the Museum’s Ice Rink is a must-have! Or relax in the Cafe Bar and have a bird’s-eye view of the rink.


Ice skating at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
■ London ■ until 6 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. 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. Tickets for the ice skating varies according to times and tickets sell out so booking is recommended.

Winchester Cathedral Ice Rink
■ Winchester, Hampshire ■ until 2 Jan

Beside the cathedral but under a clear roof so you can skate whatever the weather. This year a giant Christmas tree has been set up in the middle of the rink – it doesn’t get much more festive that that.


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