Get your skates on
You’ve booked the panto, and taken the kids to visit Santa, but – ah – have you broken your wrist in time for Christmas yet? Here are the best venues for sliding, gliding, wobbling and hopefully not falling on ice.
Windsor on Ice, Alexandra Gardens, Windsor, 28 Nov – 3 Jan
Watch with awe as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip perform their famous take on Bolero around at this local ice rink. Windsor On Ice has a covered main rink with an outside ice skating track (Prince Charles is a demon at speed skating, but of course you already knew that). There’s a viewing area, an indoor Ice Bar and Grill – mulled wine, warm cider, German beer, mince pies, all that stuff – and new to Alexandra Gardens this year, a bandstand with an extended viewing platform. From there you will see Prince William and Kate performing their favourite duet, Especially for You. Expect Pippa to serve mulled wine in her festive Playboy outfit. (What do you mean, ‘That’s enough’?).
Alexandra Gardens, Barry Avenue, Windsor, Berks, windsoronice.com
Wyevale Garden Centre, Bicester, Tues 17 Nov – Sun 3 Jan
Spin, twirl and glide (or hold on tight to the side) at Wyvale Garden Centre’s ice rink. There are skate aids, lessons and disco nights, plus Skate & Dine tickets if you really want to make a night of it. As you’d expect from a garden centre, there’s also a Christmas Grotto (though at £8 per child it’s pretty steep), an Elf Workshop and a whole load of Christmas trees to make the trip worth your while.
Wyevale Garden Centre, Bicester Avenue, Bicester Avenue, Oxon, wyevalegardencentres.co.uk
Millets Farm Centre, nr. Abingdon, Sat 21 Nov – Sun 3 Jan
Set in the ‘beautiful outdoor plant department’ of Millets (it says here), this year’s ice rink at Millet’s Farm Centre is covered for the first time, so you can skate whatever the British weather throws at you. There’s are special Snowman Skating days for kids, where the lovable blob hits the icerink, then joins you for a tea box of sandwich, crisps, satsuma, chocolate coin and a marshmallow snowman biscuit.
Adults £8.99, kids £7.99, adult & toddler (under 4) £14.99, Snowman days £14.99 per child. Millets Farm, Kingston Road, Frilford, Nr Abingdon, Oxon, milletsfarmcentre.com
Frosts At Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes, Sat 28 Nov – Sun 3 Jan
A new all-weather cover, a viewing area, the heated Moose Café and 45 minute skate sessions in this Christmas wonderland in Milton Keynes. There are special skate days including Disco on Ice and a Festive Family Fun Night.
Frosts, Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes, frostsgardencentres.co.uk
Planet Ice, Hemel Hempstead
The newly-reopened Planet Ice in Hemel Hempstead’s Jarman Park is open all year round. Friday 18 Dec is the Christmas Jumper Party, on Sunday 20 Dec there’s a Christmas show on ice, followed by an open skating session, and there’s a free Christmas Day skating session for those of you who need to escape from the rellies for a blissful hour or two.
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2, 18 Nov-10 Jan
Take the kids, or dump them on the rellies while you go crazy at the skating club nights, busting your skating moves to house, hip hop, reggae, R&B and disco. There’s a specially-created cocktail to try in the Botanical Bar in the Fortnum’s Lodge or you can warm up over a mulled wine in the Skate Lounge with fab views over the rink.
The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, 29 Oct-3 Jan
The ice rink at the Natural History Museum has a stonkingly pretty location, and this year, the Swarovski Ice Rink looks as sparkly as ever, with everything you’d expect from an attraction like this – including the need to book your session well in advance. And did I mention the champagne skate? Oh yes my friends, there is one, with added profiteroles!!
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London, 20 Nov-3 Jan
The whole Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is a bustling, twinkling backdrop to a spot of skating, with a rink illuminated with more than 100,000 lights that has you skating around the Victorian bandstand. Twinkletastic.
Hampton Court Ice Rink
The outdoor ice rink at Hampton Court Palace offers spectacular views of the red brick Tudor front of King Henry VIII’s palace, and you can skate from 10 in the morning to 10 at night so no excuses!
Hampton Court, thehamptoncourticerink.co.uk