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Get your skates on at festive rinks this winter

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

‘Tis the season to wobble around on ice to the sound of Christmas music! Here’s a run down of the best ice skating rinks in the south to kickstart your festive cheer.

Hampton Court Palace
■ East Molesey ■  22 Nov – 5 Jan

Photo credit: Historic Royal Palaces

‘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.

Reigate on Ice
■ Priory Park, Reigate ■ 28 Nov – 4 Jan

Held undercover in a Big Top Marquee, keen beans can skate on real ice whatever the weather to the beat of festive music and Christmas food and drink galore. In addition to the rink, you’ll find a bar, rides and other attractions to keep you busy! There will also be regular live entertainment and a free fireworks display on November 30.

Christmas market and ice skating
■ St John’s Primary School, Caterham ■ Sun 8 Dec, 10am-5pm

A bumper festive market and ice skating combination – what a treat! Entrance is just £6 per person and the event is open from 10am to 5pm, and the last skate is at 4.30pm. Book your skating sessions beforehand to avoid disappointment! And save us a mince pie, please.

Ice rink and Christmas Fair
■ Parkside School, Cobham ■ Sat 30 Nov & Sun 1 Dec, 10am-6pm

As well as 20 exclusive shopping stalls selling a range of unique gifts, there’s a festive ice rink. Skating must be booked in advance. Cost is £12 adults, £10 children, £40 family. Book here

Windsor on Ice
■ Alexandra Gardens, Windsor, Berkshire ■  16 Nov – 5 Jan

There are two rinks here, with the main event being under cover and there’s a smaller open-air rink. There’s also food and other attractions including an ice bar and grill to enjoy after your 45 minute skate session. And then why not take in a great river walk, or visit the famous Windsor Castle?

Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason
■ Somerset House, 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 Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard and hip hop turntablist DJ Yoda. There’s a skate school for children and adults.


National History Museum
■ London ■ until 12 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
■ Hyde Park, London ■ 21 Nov – 5 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.

Bluewater Ice Rink
■ Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent ■ 14 Nov – 5 Jan

Located beside the lake outside the West Village, the undercover rink will be complimented with alpine cabins selling hot drinks and refreshments and a giant, sparkly Christmas tree at the centre for an extra dose of festive feels.

Royal Pavilion
■ Brighton ■ until 19 Jan

Picture by Jim Holden

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 cute penguin skating aid!

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. Check skating times here. Tickets vary according to which session you in. Skate hire is extra at £2.10.

Winchester Cathedral Ice Rink
■ Winchester, Hampshire ■ 21 Nov – 5 Jan

This whimsical rink is beside the cathedral but under a clear roof so you can skate whatever the weather. With a giant Christmas tree  set up in the middle of the rink, it doesn’t get much more festive that that.


Calverley Grounds
■ Tunbridge Wells, Kent ■ 15 Nov – 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, Bavarian curling and adult-only date and skate sessions. If all else fails, you can enjoy the good selection of food and drink on offer in the spectator’s area.

Worthing Ice Rink
■ Steyne Gardens, Worthing, West Sussex ■  until 23 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.


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