Get your skates on
Pop-up ice rinks are back for the winter, adding a touch of romance to the cold. They’re a great spot for a date (remember Rocky?), a family day out, or a fun slip sliding Christmas party and there are several in Surrey and beyond.
But before we find out where to skate, let’s take some tips on how to skate from skating champions Zoe Wilkinson and Christopher Boyadji. They’re in training for the World Championships in Helsinki next spring, and the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, but stopped off at the recent opening of the Royal Pavilion ice rink in Brighton, where Debbie from Muddy Sussex got these 10 hot tips for looking cool on the ice…
1. Wear flexible clothing
2. Warm up before skating and always stretch afterwards
3. Secure your boots correctly
4. Wear gloves so your hands don’t get cold
5. Don’t look down and don’t lean backwards
6. If you fall on the ice, stand up quickly. And remember if you don’t fall, you don’t improve. It’s all part of learning.
7. Always bend your ankles – this is the key to balance
8. Patience is the key to success
9. Don’t go too fast if you can’t stop properly
10. Smile and have lots of fun.
Of course, if you’re anything like me, you’ll also want some cushioning, so wear a padded coat – but you’ll also get hot on the ice, so go minimalist underneath with just a tee-shirt.
So, now you’re all set, here’s where to get your skates on:
Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey – 25 Nov to 8 Jan
There’s a seriously stunning backdrop for your triple salchow at Henry VIII’s old gaff in Surrey, floodlit with colours for the evening. Sessions are one hour (with 15 mins built into that to get your boots off at the end) and there are quieter morning sessions for young children and families. You can also indulge in an afternoon tea. Tickets vary according to peak and off-peak times. There’s also a 10 per cent discount for early bird bookings. Expect to pay about £10-£12 each.
Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Tel: 02920 230130. hamptoncourtpalaceicerink.co.uk
Reigate on Ice, Priory Park Reigate – 1 Dec to 2 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. On Sat 3 Dec there will be a free fireworks display at 6.30pm and live music the The Shane Richie Band after the fireworks. Sessions start on the hour and last 45 mins. Tickets for skating: £10.80 adults, £8.10 child, £31.50 family, including skate hire. The Santa’s Grotto is £7.50 for a child. Online booking is essential.
Priory Park, Bell Street, Reigate, RH2 7RL. reigateonice.co.uk
Skate at Somerset House, London – Nov 17 to Jan 15
London’s most famous rink is in the historic courtyard at Somerset House. A tie up with Fornum & Mason means you can have champagne or hot chocolate, truffles, fondue and blinis in an Alpine-themed lodge or shop for presents in a pop-up arcade. There are also skating club nights with DJs. You can even book a guide to help you out on the ice!
Somerset House, The Strand, London, WC2R 1LA. somersethouse.org.uk
Camberley on Ice, Camberley – 1 Dec to 1 Jan
Drawing inspiration from the European Christmas markets the London Road Recreation Ground will be transformed to a magical winter wonderland with a covered ice rink, a winter lodge café serving treats, and wooden style chalets for market stalls. Tickets are: £12.50 adults, £10.50 children, £42 family.
London Road Recreation Ground, Southwell Park Road, Camberley, Surrey GU15 3QQ. camberleyonice.co.uk
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London – Nov 20 to Jan 3
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 vary according to times, from £9.50 adult and £7.50 child (off-peak) to £15.50 adult, £10.50 child during peak times.
Guildford Spectrum Ice Rink, Guildford
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 to hire. Due to Cinderella on Ice there will be changes to the normal schedule from 8-11 Dec. Check skating times here. Tickets vary according to which session you in, but start from £5.60 adults and £4.70 children. Skate hire is extra at £2.10.
Hornbrook Park, Horsham, West Sussex – 21 Oct to 15 Jan
Another covered rink in a marquee, with a café and some pretty decorations. Horsham is running kids’ learn-to-skate courses following the National Ice Skating Associations’ UK programme. Double bladed skates and penguins help toddlers between 10.00am and 3.00pm. Tickets are from £6.50 off-peak, family of four tickets cost £29.60, Penguin hire is £3.50.
Horsham Ice Rink, Camping World, Hornbrook Park, Brighton Rd, Horsham RH13 6QA. horshamicerink.co.uk
Royal Pavilion, Brighton, East Sussex – 5 Nov to 15 Jan
The colourfully lit onion domes of Brighton Pavilions back the city’s seasonal ice rink. It has a large covered cafe and bar with illuminated trees this year with meals including a children’s menu available. Kids can get their balance on a separate rink with a penguin skating aid – first come first served but you’re expected to share – and under fives can skate free with a paying adult at certain times. Adult tickets from £10.00 off-peak, children from £7.00, family tickets for peak times, £36.
4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton BN1 1EE. royalpavilionicerink.co.uk
Windsor on Ice, Alexandra Gardens, Winsdor, Berkshire – 28 Nov to Jan 3
Combine a visit to the dinosaurs or the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition with a turn on the ice at this Kensington rink. The V&A’s Records and Rebels exhibition is also nearby. Sessions are 50 minutes and there is a cafe bar serving snacks, and hot drinks, including mulled wine. Tickets: £12.65 adults, £8.80 children, including skate hire.
Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 5BD. nhm.ac.uk
Tunbridge Wells, Calverley Grounds, Kent – 18 Nov to 2 Jan
This outdoor rink is set in an amphitheatre with a covered café for spectators alongside. 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. There’s an opening bash on the 18th and live music in the grounds every Thursday. Prices from £10.50 for adults, £7 for children off peak and it’s £41.00 for a family of four at peak times. Seals are £4.
Caverley Grounds, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1SJ. tunbridgewellsatchristmas.com
Have I missed one? If there’s a good Christmas rink in or close to Surrey that’s not on the list let me know – and if you go skating this Christmas we’d love to hear about it.